A ground-breaking online tool has been created to support people living with HIV.
Looped in offers people living with HIV in the UK a range of trusted content developed for different audiences – from people living with HIV, to friends, sexual partners, family and medical professionals.
It allows people living with HIV to select the content they want to share and send it to who they want to.
In 2017 in the UK it was estimated there are 101,600 people living with HIV and 92% of these people are diagnosed – this still means that around 1 in 12 people living with HIV in the UK do not know that they have the virus. 98% of people diagnosed with HIV in the UK are on treatment. 97% of those on treatment are virally suppressed, which means they can’t pass the virus on. Of all the people living with HIV in the UK (diagnosed and undiagnosed), 87% are virally suppressed.
“Living with HIV has not been a big deal for me,” said LeaSuwanna, a woman living with HIV from London. “You try to stay healthy and take your medication, so you can’t pass on the virus. However, when I’ve said I have HIV, I’ve been asked if I am going to die, or if I have AIDS. People’s HIV awareness hasn’t improved as much as the treatment has. For people with the virus, explaining the same facts to people all the time can be tiring, intimidating or difficult.”
NAT (National AIDS Trust) are hoping this new tool will help more people understand HIV better.
“NAT (National AIDS Trust) is known for defending the rights of people living with HIV by creating policy change but trying to fight stigma is a more complex challenge,” said Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT. “We know misinformation about HIV makes things hard for those with the virus, and even those who are most comfortable talking about HIV can find it difficult to challenge misconceptions sometimes. We also know that people living with HIV are the strongest advocates against stigma and that talking about HIV can be hugely empowering. Looped in will empower and enable conversations about HIV. Giving people a customisable, convenient and evolving way to educate others is part of how we aim to spread understanding.”
The site, created by NAT and social enterprise Reason Digital, was launched on Monday 3rd June 2019.
“The UK is medically advanced when treating HIV, however, there is still a real social bias around the subject,” said Matt Haworth, the Co-founder of Reason Digital. “Media headlines are often very negative and sensational, Looped in will contradict that and offer factual responses to medical and social questions.”
Click here to find out more about Looped in.