Senior Lecturer, Advance Nurse Practitioner, Manchester Metropolitan University
Welcome to this issue of HIV Nursing. I feel honoured writing this editorial focusing on stigma and the impact it has on people living with HIV.
In 2014, UNAIDS released targets that they believe will end the HIV epidemic . These targets are that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV (PLWH) should be aware of their diagnosis, 90% of people who are diagnosed with HIV should be on treatment, and 90% of people on treatment will have an undetectable viral load. The targets, while they might be ambitious, focus on treatment and not living well with HIV. Therefore, I believe that a fourth target needs to be added that focuses on the quality of life of PLWH. We are aware from numerous research studies and from our own clinical practice that treatment for HIV is effective and people are living longer with HIV. PLWH face multiple psychosocial challenges that are impacted by stigma and discrimination; therefore, the lack of focus on patients’ overall wellbeing will have an impact on other aspects of patient care, and invariably reduce the likelihood of the other UNAIDS targets being met. Without this 360° view of patient care we are leaving an area of care unrecognised, focusing on the disease and disease prevention and not on the wellbeing of people living with the condition. Read more…