People living with HIV and their partner(s) (axis 3)

Advances made in anti-HIV treatments have significantly standardised infection with the AIDS virus. The life expectancy of people with the infection is today just as long as that of those who are HIV negative, meaning that HIV is classified as a chronic infection. 

From the crisis to the Swiss Statement:

The reality of HIV has changed significantly since the first documented cases in 1981. Today, an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence in the western world. Early access to anti-HIV treatments prevents the occurrence of AIDS and significantly increases the life expectancy of those affected.

Thirty years after the identification of AIDS, the HPTN 052 and PARTNER studies have confirmed the declaration made by the Federal Commission for Aids-related Issues (FCAI) in 2008, better known as the Swiss Statement, which indicated that an HIV-positive person on antiretroviral therapy with an undetectable viral load does not transmit the virus in the event of sexual contact without a condom.

From encouraging testing to early care and treatment:

This fact marked a significant turning point in the prevention of HIV and in the psycho-sexual life of those affected. People who are HIV-positive with an undetectable viral load no longer have to worry about infecting their sexual partner(s). Mothers taking effective antiretroviral therapy do not transmit the virus to their children, and natural procreation is possible.

Knowing one’s HIV status is essential. In the event of infection, early diagnosis increases the chances of rapid care and treatment, which reduces the risk of weakening of the immune system.

HIV prevention also benefits from rapid care and treatment of newly infected persons, as they no longer represent cases of undiagnosed infections, which are the principle vector of the HIV epidemic, particularly in vulnerable populations (MSM and migrants coming from countries with a high rate of HIV).

To this end, it is important to note that the HIV prevention strategy in Switzerland is based on the principal of individual responsibility (each person is responsible for protecting him/herself) and the principle of learning (each person knows how to protect him/herself).

HIV remains associated with significant social stigma:

Unfortunately, people who are HIV-positive are still discriminated against and stigmatised. Society has difficulty understanding that a person who is diagnosed as HIV-positive and being treated is not a health threat. Other forms of social discrimination exist, for example the purchase of life insurance despite the fact that the life expectancy or those who are HIV-positive is today equal to that of those who are HIV-negative.

Further information

Communicable Diseases Legislation – Epidemics Act, (EpidA)

The Epidemics Act aims to ensure that communicable diseases are detected, monitored, prevented and controlled at an early stage and helps to better manage disease outbreaks with a high risk potential.

Last modification 09.07.2019

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