Caring for Veterans with HIV
By Elizabeth Maguire, MSW, Communications Lead for the HIV, Hepatitis, and Related Conditions Programs
The VA is the single largest provider of HIV care in the US, serving over 30,000 Veterans with HIV across the country, committed to each step in the HIV care continuum from testing and diagnosis, to linkage to care, and treatment and prevention. Community and federal partners play a critical in extending the care we can provide to our Veterans with HIV.
With over 43% of all Veterans in care tested for HIV, VA is committed to ensuring all Veterans continue to have access to testing and high-quality HIV care at diagnosis. VA is also committed to HIV prevention by continuing to strongly promote Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a medication that can help prevent HIV for those who are negative but at risk for HIV.
VA is also focusing on increasing awareness and action on HIV treatment as prevention (TasP) or Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U).
If the virus is undetectable, the person with HIV cannot pass the virus on to others through sex. This is critical to preventing new cases of HIV. At VA, we are working to make sure that people diagnosed with HIV are started on treatment right away and stay on treatment.
VA medical providers are encouraged to talk with their patients about PrEP, and condoms. With taking preventative measures, we can reduce the number of new HIV infections and work to make sure Veterans in VA care with HIV are receiving the very best treatment available.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leads the country in HIV/AIDS screening, testing, treatment, research and prevention.
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