SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois HIV Care Connect announced today the launch of an upgraded website (www.hivcareconnect.com) featuring information about the importance of achieving viral suppression for people living with HIV.
Achieving viral suppression is a goal for individuals receiving anti-HIV medications, also known as anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Reaching viral suppression means that the amount of HIV in the blood is very low. Keeping HIV at this low level helps people living with HIV to stay healthy and live longer, and greatly reduces their chances of passing HIV on to others.
The viral suppression page on the website – www.hivcareconnect.com/viral-suppression – educates people living with HIV about the importance of achieving viral suppression. The page includes a link to a survey through which people with HIV can test their understanding of viral suppression and provide feedback to Illinois HIV Care Connect.
During December 2014, Illinois HIV Care Connect provided educational information about viral suppression to respondents after the survey was taken. From today until mid-February 2015, Illinois HIV Care Connect asks respondents to review the educational information before taking the survey and will compare the results of the two time periods.
Only about 25 percent of people living with HIV in the U.S. have achieved viral suppression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). African Americans are least likely to have controlled HIV in this manner, with 21 percent achieving viral suppression, compared to 26 percent of Hispanics and 30 percent of whites. The 25-34 age group is the least likely to have achieved viral suppression compared to other age groups, with only 15 percent of individuals 25-34 reaching this important goal.
Achieving viral suppression requires taking anti-HIV medications exactly as prescribed – known as “treatment adherence.” Staying as true to the prescribed treatment regimen as possible – without skipping medications or daily doses – increases the chances of achieving viral suppression.
Illinois HIV Care Connect is a comprehensive network of health care and support services for people living with HIV. Funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and managed by the Illinois Public Health Association, Illinois HIV Care Connect is coordinated by regional administrative offices covering all of Illinois’ 102 counties.