A new campaign fronted by HIV positive drag queen and gay rights activist Panti Bliss has launched which aims to help people living with HIV navigate their lifelong journey with the condition. The My HIV, My Rules, My Journey campaign by Gilead Sciences in partnership with Positively UK, The Sussex Beacon and George House Trust emphasises that decisions made about health, wealth and well-being today will help people with HIV to live the lives they want tomorrow.

Living with HIV used to be a short hop, but with today’s treatments, it’s more likely to be for the ‘long-haul’. While people are living longer with HIV than ever before, HIV and the medicines used to treat it can speed up the ageing process1, and knowledge of this can help people make informed choices about their future. Different illnesses are more likely to affect people living with HIV and/or affect them at an earlier stage than HIV negative people. These may include heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis and disorders of the liver, kidneys and brain1-3.

The My HIV, My Rules, My Journey campaign is launching now in order to inspire people living with HIV to plan ahead for the possible health challenges associated with the condition. The campaign also encourages people to speak to health professionals to help plan their lifelong journey.

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It is so important people living with HIV feel comfortable talking to, and working alongside, health professionals to plan for their lifelong journey,” said Panti Bliss, leading UK HIV activist and drag queen. “HIV can speed up the ageing process so it’s essential to seek advice in order to take the best route for the journey ahead. I’ve lived the life I wanted with HIV for over 20 years and do not intend to stop now!

In addition to the HIV101 video, the My HIV, My Rules, My Journey website features articles on health checks to consider, and details on the types of questions to discuss with healthcare professionals to ensure the best treatment and care. It also features information on insurance and personal finance and a check-list on ‘how to take control’.

For most people living with HIV it is now a long journey which requires planning for the future.” said Allan Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Positively UK. “Thankfully, there are many people and resources available to help start this preparation, including the My HIV, My Rules, My Journey campaign website, healthcare professionals and your local HIV charity”.

Face-to-face information and ideas will be available at events coming soon to Manchester and Brighton. Informal sessions with local HIV specialists will make it easy to seek out useful information to help people plan their lifelong HIV journey. Talks from local clinicians and advocates, finance, self-esteem, and sex and relationship experts will also be held at the events. For more information and to register for a free event near you, visit www.MyHIVMyRules.co.uk/events.

References

  1. Erlandson KM et al. Functional impairment is associated with low bone and muscle mass among persons aging with HIV-infection. Journal for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2013. 63(2):209–21.
  2. Guaraldi G et al. Cost of non-infectious comorbidities in patients with HIV. ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research. 2013;5:481–488.
  3. Yanik EL et al. High cancer risk among the HIV-infected elderly in the United States. 2015. Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), Seattle, abstract 725.
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