Sexual Health services at an NHS trust are taking part in an international campaign to raise awareness of HIV treatment.

The U=U Undetectable = Untransmittable campaign that Sexual Health services at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust are taking part in was launched in October.

Professor Matt Phillips, Clinical Director for Cumbria Sexual Health services said: "In the UK we now have medications that can treat HIV, which allows people to live a near normal life expectancy, which is so different to the life expectancy people were told in the 80’s and early 90’s, but still today there is a lot of ignorance, stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.

"If a person adheres to HIV medication, the virus in the blood reduces to undetectable levels. We can now say with complete confidence that people, living with HIV and on effective treatment, can no longer pass on HIV to others, even when sex is unprotected.

"This is called U=U which stands for Undetectable = Untransmittable."

In 2019, it was estimated that there were 105,200 people living with HIV in the UK.

Ninety four per cent of these people were diagnosed, and therefore know that they have HIV.

This means that around 1 in 16 people living with HIV in the UK do not know that they have the virus.

Professor Matt Phillips, added: "Cumbria Sexual Health services are delighted to clearly endorse the U=U message.

"Research has clearly shown that if someone is on effective HIV medication to the point the virus is controlled in their blood (undetectable), they can then no longer pass on HIV through sex.

"It is time to help everyone understand this fact, as it is a key stage of moving towards the UK ambition of no new HIV infections by 2030, as well as reducing the stigma of infection for people living with HIV."

Cumbria Sexual Health services are one of the organisations in the Eyes Open steering group which has regionally pooled resources to look at local and national levels of HIV/AIDS.

If you have any concerns and want to be tested please contact our Sexual Health Services for an appointment