“Undetectable Equals Untransmittable” (“U=U”)
The City of London Corporation’s Health and Wellbeing Board is the first local authority in the UK to endorse the global “Undetectable Equals Untransmittable” (“U=U”) Consensus Statement, aimed at tackling HIV-related stigma. “U=U” means that when someone is virally suppressed on HIV treatment, they cannot pass the virus on to others, including sexual partners.
People living with HIV are still vulnerable to stigma and discrimination, fuelled by the fear of HIV transmission. This is despite the fact that modern medical treatments can reduce the amount of virus in an individual’s bloodstream until it is undetectable, and therefore cannot be transmitted to others. Tackling stigma has played a crucial role in encouraging the uptake of testing, preventative measures and treatment, which in turn has led to a dramatic decline in London in new HIV diagnoses.
By backing the consensus statement, the City Corporation aims to:
- Emphasise the importance of individuals knowing their HIV status;
- Support those living with HIV and challenge the root causes of HIV-related stigma;
- Reduce barriers to HIV testing, reducing the time between infection and diagnosis, and preventing new infections;
- Help improve the mental and emotional health of those living with HIV.
The Equality Act 2010 makes certain types of discrimination unlawful, and as an employer, you may well have an equal opportunities policy that talks about how you will tackle discrimination, but did you know that anyone diagnosed with HIV has the same protections as disabled people, regardless of their health status?
By endorsing the “U=U” consensus statement, your organisation can send a clear message that you recognise people living with HIV cannot pass on the virus if they are taking their medicine correctly. This sends a strong anti-stigma message to employees, including those in your workforce who may be living with HIV but have not disclosed their status, and marks you out as a responsible business.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, signed the Fast-Track Cities Initiative on behalf of London in January 2018, as part of a major push to reduce the rate of new HIV infections and eliminate stigma in London. Endorsing the “U=U” consensus statement supports Fast-Track Cities and has already been endorsed by over 785 organisations in 95 countries. We would like to see individual businesses in the City to sign up too, to send the message across their half a million-strong workforce, with is both diverse and international.
Please register your organisation’s interest below and the Business Healthy team will be in touch with more information on the Consensus Statement and how your business can show its support.