Football Saving Lives 2018

Saturday 17th November sees the start of National HIV Testing Week 2018. Saving Lives along with our Football Ambassadors are encouraging everyone to get tested, know their HIV status & educate themselves on U = U.

Over thirty years has passed since the first HIV diagnosis in the UK, and in those thirty years we’ve made some incredible progress towards ending HIV and improving life for those living with the virus – but there’s still much more to be done. 

Luckily getting tested has never been easier. To get your free home HIV testing kit simply head to: test.hiv

Find out the facts about HIV below:


Wayne Hennessy, Goal Keeper at Crystal Palace FC and Wales (click to enlarge)

Did you know, HIV is not the same as AIDS?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus which, left untreated, attacks the immune system.

It’s only when the immune system becomes very weak that a person can develop infections, this is when someone is said to have developed Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Almost noone in the UK who is diagnosed with HIV today will develop AIDS thanks to the excellent treatment and care available.

HIV testing has never been easier. To get your free home HIV testing kit simply head to: test.hiv


Curtis Davies, Derby County FC (click to enlarge)

Do you know how HIV is transmitted?

HIV can be transmitted via:

  • – Sex without a condom (where one partner has HIV and does not have an undetectable viral load)
  • – Sharing injecting equipment
  • – Infected blood products (like those used in blood tranfusions)
  • – Mother-to-baby during pregnancy & labour (though this can be prevented with treatment during pregnancy)
  • – Breastfeeding

HIV is not transmitted by:

  • – Sharing household items like towels, cups, cutlery
  • – Toilet seats
  • – Holding hands, cuddling, or kissing
  • – Spitting or biting

HIV testing has never been easier. To get your free home HIV testing kit simply head to: test.hiv


Darren Bent, Derby County FC & Burton Albion FC (click to enlarge)

Do you know long can a person diagnosed today with HIV expect to live?

In 2014 a study followed 20,000 people living with HIV, who were taking HIV treatment here in the UK.

The study showed that the people who responded well to treatment actually could expect a life expectancy that was the same, if not better, than the general population. 

A 50-year-old man after one year of treatment was predicted to live to the age of 83. In the general population at this time, men are expected to live to 77 and 78 years.

A 50-year-old woman after one year of treatment could expect to live to 85 years. This compares to 83 years in the general population.

This means that people who are diagnosed early can expect to live more or less the same as any of their friends and family. But this can only happen if you know your HIV status. 

Luckily getting tested has never been easier. To get your free home HIV testing kit simply head to: test.hiv


Matt Murray, Saving Lives Ambassador (click to enlarge)

Do you know how many people in the England are living with HIV but don’t realise it?

There are approximately 10,000 people living in England who have HIV but don’t realise it.

HIV doesn’t always have obvious symptons like meningitis and its rash. Some people may experience a bad cold during the first few weeks and chalk it up as simply a bad cold, where as some may get no symptoms at all.

Unfortunately the longer HIV is left undiagnosed the more complicated your treatment and care can become in the future, with people who are diagnosed late (after the point where they should have started treatment) ten times more likely to experience serious illness or even death.

People with undiagnosed HIV are also much more likely to be unknowingly passing the virus onto their sexual partners – with almost all new HIV cases being linked back to people who didn’t realise they had the virus.

Luckily getting tested has never been easier, and treatment is free.  To get your free home HIV testing kit simply head to: test.hiv


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Sam Vokes, Burnley FC & Wales (click to enlarge)

Do you know what ‘Undetectable = Untransmittable’ or ‘U=U’ means?

The science is now clear, a person living with HIV, who is on effective treatment and has undetectable levels of virus in their blood, cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners!  This is known as undetectable = untransmittable, or U=U/#UequalsU

In 2016 we saw data from the PARTNER study. The study followed 888 sero-different couples, where one partner was HIV positive and had an undetectable viral load and the other partner was HIV negative. After six years and over 58,000 condomless sex acts later the study has reported ZERO linked partner-to-partner infections.

This year, at the International AIDS Society 2018 conference, we got even more evidence from the Opposites Attract study. This study followed 343 gay couples, where again one partner was undetectable and the other was HIV negative. The data showed once again that there were ZERO linked partner-to-partner infections.

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Dr Steve Taylor, Medical Director, Saving Lives

Dr Steve Taylor, Medical Director of Saving Lives, said:

“The scientific evidence behind the U=U statement is overwhelming and people living with HIV should feel confident that if they are taking their Antiretroviral therapy (ART) consistently and have durable suppression of their viral load to undetectable levels not only will this keep them healthy, but we now know they will not transmit HIV to their sexual partners.

This is definitely one of the most important scientific and social developments in HIV prevention in the last decade.

Getting this message to patients and the general public is absolutely essential in order to really start fighting HIV related stigma and increase testing.

The more people who are tested, the more people can be on life saving treatment, and in turn will get their viral loads to undetectable levels. Each step takes us closer to ending the epidemic.”

But U=U can only work if all sexual partners know their HIV status. Luckily getting tested has never been easier. To get your free home HIV testing kit simply head to: test.hiv


Engage with us on social media this National HIV Testing Week over at @SavingLivesUK on twitter and SavingLivesHIV on facebook. #HIVTestWeek #UequalsU

Disclaimer

The views of our positive advocates are purely personal, and any advice they provide is given for informational purposes only, and in no way constitutes medical advice. Always consult your doctor.

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