Over the past two decades there have been major innovations in the management of HIV. Treatment advances have meant that the viral load can be reduced to undetectable levels in the majority of people who take their medicine. This means that the likelihood of transmitting HIV to others is reduced and the health benefits to the individual are increased. In fact – the benefits of starting treatment early mean that in many cases people are living longer with a life expectancy quite similar, in many cases, to that of the general population. Today, approximately one in three adults living with HIV across Europe is aged 50 years or older.
Living longer with HIV has meant that clinicians must think differently about how HIV is managed long-term. This is to ensure people living with HIV are able to minimise their risk of developing health conditions that can be a side effect of living with HIV. In Europe, the average age of diagnosis is 38 years old for men, and 34 for women, meaning that someone diagnosed with HIV today could spend three or four decades taking antiretroviral treatment.
That’s why good HIV management must go beyond achieving an undetectable viral load and high CD4 count. Going Beyond Undetectable is about reaching other long-term health goals for people living with HIV. These are aligned to reducing the risk of a range of health conditions related to living with HIV, such as heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis and disorders of the liver, kidneys and brain. Research shows that these illnesses are more likely to affect people with HIV and they affect them at an earlier stage than other people.
Understanding your own personal risk profile and how to minimise the possibility of poor health can play an important role in helping you to manage your long-term health. The information provided on this site has been developed with a group of HIV experts to help you to manage your long-term health, with the support of your clinician.