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.
Please email Puja Ahluwalia, National Lead: Rehabilitation, Optimal Health and Wellbeing at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any upcoming events related to Optimal Health and Wellbeing to share.
Real Talk with Realize:HIV and Chronic Pain
- Video – coming soon
3rd Canadian HIV & Aging Symposium and HIV & Aging “Unconference”: HIV and Aging WELL: WE Live & Learn Together
- Videos – HIV & Aging Symposium videos coming soon
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