L.A. CADA reminds you that the theme for World AIDS Day on December 1st, 2021 is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.” And there are more voices than ever before. In 2021, we honor the first voices that were silenced before treatment became available. We recognize the long-time survivors who have continuously fought for increasing awareness and treatment. This World AIDS Day, we also thank all the scientists, doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers on the frontlines of prevention and treatment delivery. And just as important, we welcome the new voices of youth, advocates, and HIV patients who join us in working for equitable access to HIV education, care, and support.
Since anti-retroviral therapy was introduced in 1996, AIDS-related morbidity and mortality has declined significantly. The good news is that people living with HIV are now expected to live nearly as long as people without HIV. The bad news is that despite the advances, many people living with HIV report poor well-being and health-related quality of life.
Multimorbidity (such as HIV and behavioral health disorders), as well as poverty, stigma, and discrimination continue to be major issues for people living with HIV. This is true even for those who have achieved viral suppression – and in particular for marginalized populations. Multimorbidity often leads to depression, social isolation, and barriers in accessing health and support services. Worse yet, many of these issues are not currently addressed in HIV monitoring, strategies, or guidelines.
In 2021, the work of those of us in HIV care includes holistic case management. Here at L.A. CADA, we believe addressing important support issues like mental health and substance use disorder treatment, stigma reduction, quality of life, stable housing, and food security, can significantly improve HIV outcomes. Case management also increases vital adherence to antiretroviral medications and viral suppression like PrEP and PEP. Other evidence-based practices we use are Harm Reduction (not discharging patients who relapse), Housing First (giving patients a stable place from which to access all other services); and Trauma-Informed Care that attends to the cumulative trauma most people with HIV have experienced throughout their lives.
This World AIDS Day, if you know some living with HIV, listen to their voice And use your voice to help those who need help with HIV and substance use to find L.A. CADA at (562) 906-2675.
Hear: Darlene’s Story