Since Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy was introduced in 1996, HIV treatment has transformed HIV from a condition with a high fatality rate into a manageable chronic health condition. Today, early diagnosis, and effective treatment mean that people living with HIV can expect to live almost as long as the general population. This shift from deadly infection to long‐term illness requires a corresponding shift in focus from saving lives to improving health and wellbeing. The focus of most international, national, and regional programs seems to be on the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and the ultimate goal of achieving an undetectable viral load (reference UNAIDS, PHAC 90-90-90 endorsement, provincial HIV/AIDS plan).
In April of 2018, the Optimal Health and Wellbeing in HIV Steering Committee was formed to address the challenges associated with long-term management of HIV in a Canadian context, beyond the 90-90-90 targets. Through multiple conversations and much deliberation, the Steering Committee arrived at six key “Calls to Action”, each with corresponding next steps and recommendations. Based on these calls to action, the Optimal Health and Wellbeing in HIV: Opinion Paper was developed to spark ongoing discussion and debate on how to maximize quality of life for people aging with HIV in Canada.
The concept of optimal health and wellbeing beyond 90-90-90 is not new. In 2017, a European initiative called “HIV Outcomes: Beyond viral suppression” launched a set of recommendations focused on optimal health and wellness for people living with HIV that were shared with the European Parliament (https://hivoutcomes.eu/). In July 2021, the Co-Chairs of HIV Outcomes spearheaded the publication of a Consensus statement on the role of health systems in advancing the long-term well-being of people living with HIV in the academic journal Nature. Realize is one of the many global signatories on this statement.
With our Canadian Optimal Health and Wellbeing in HIV: Opinion Paper, we have joined a chorus of voices around the world that are advocating for change; the addition of a 4th “90” incorporating quality of life and wellness for people living with HIV into the HIV care cascade.
Policy Makers – Recommendations
Health Care Practitioners – Recommendations
Researchers – Recommendations
Community-Based HIV Organizations – Recommendations
October 1st and 2nd 2021
- To help the community of future clinical leaders, who embrace an updated and relevant paradigm for the optimal care of people living with HIV. Focused not only on viral suppression but also on guaranteeing them optimal health throughout their lifetime. Striving to develop a clinical setting where treatment decisions consider all their implications for long term health.
October 4th, 5th 2021
- This two-day virtual event will facilitate information exchange and community building. The meeting will feature a diverse group of esteemed speakers and panelists, each with a unique perspective on the intersection of HIV and aging
October 14th 2021
- Participants will enjoy opportunities for socializing with peers, skills-building workshops, and self-care activities. The agenda for the “UnConference” will complement that of the symposium and community members are encouraged to attend both events.
Real Talk with Realize – HIV and Chronic Pain
November 2021 – date TBD
Living Your Best Life – Community Consultations and National Meetings
Gauging Gaps and Gaining Ground: A Pan-Canadian Perspective on HIV and Aging Research and Setting Research Priorities – Think Tank
Real Talk with Realize: HIV, Brain Health, and the Role of Physical Activity