The Body’s “10 Moments in HIV Empowerment in 2014″


logo_notopicsIt’s more than 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and around 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS,according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). About 50,000 new infections per year happen in the U.S. — and black and Latino Americans are disproportionately affected. Men who have sex with men — especially those of color — have among the highest infection rates across the globe.

The elusive search for a “cure” and a preventive vaccine may succeed one day — but unfortunately it may not be soon enough to help the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS today. But despite significant obstacles, there are some reasons for celebration this World AIDS Day. Here is our look at “10 Moments in HIV Empowerment in 2014.”

Read the 10 moments in HIV Empowerment on

Come out against stigma, live out proud

by  – Executive Director of the National Minority AIDS Council


The fight against HIV/AIDS has always been about more than the search for medicine or a cure. It has been a battle for human dignity, to demonstrate that each life, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, nation of origin, or religion, has inherent value. From the beginning, this epidemic has taken the largest toll on our most marginalized communities. From gay men and transgender women to injection-drug users and people of color, those who are most often shut out of our nation’s halls of affluence and power are also the most vulnerable to a whole host of health challenges, including HIV.

A few days ago I had the honor of participating in a panel on HIV sponsored by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Caucus. During the event the always-inspiring Douglas Brooks, who is the first black gay man living with HIV to head the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, gave brief opening remarks in which he quoted the Bible, saying, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). As we once again marked National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Sept. 27), this simple verse resonated with me in a powerful way and seemed to reflect the position that so many gay men, especially gay men living with HIV, find themselves in.

Continue reading on the Huffington Post.

More than half of gay and bi men haven’t been asked by a doctor to take an HIV test

Find free HIV testing locations near you by entering your zip code at

Find free HIV testing locations near you by entering your zip code at

From the New York Times

Gay men and their doctors aren’t talking enough about sex, and that’s making it harder to control the spread of H.I.V.

That’s the conclusion of a new survey of gay and bisexual men by the Kaiser Family Foundation released on Thursday. It found that 47 percent of the men have never discussed their sexual orientation with their doctors, and 56 percent have never been advised by a doctor to be tested for H.I.V.

For decades we’ve been hearing that H.I.V. is not a gay disease, and that’s true globally, but it’s a misrepresentation of the epidemic in the United States. That misunderstanding can lead to a complacency that furthers its spread, public health officials warn. A majority of new infections occur among men who have sex with men. Kaiser estimates that 12 to 13 percent of gay and bisexual men in the United States are living with H.I.V., more than 20 times the rate among the general population.

“It’s in the highest bracket of prevalence that you see in some of the hardest-hit countries in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Jen Kates, Kaiser’s director of global health and H.I.V. policy. “It’s not that America shouldn’t care about H.I.V., but that gay and bisexual men should care more.”

Continue reading on the New York Times online.

Smoking and HIV – One man’s story

Smoking is especially dangerous for people who are living with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS. Brian learned that lesson the hard way, when he had a stroke—a brain attack—at age 43. In this video, Brian talks about surviving HIV-related medical problems—then nearly losing his life because of smoking.  See All Brian’s videos.

And from LOGO online…

Smoking now leads to more deaths in the LGBT community than HIV according to the Centers for Disease Control, which also reports that while 20.5% of heterosexuals smoke, 30.8% of  gay people use tobacco products. “We know that approximately one million LGBT people [in the U.S.] will die early from tobacco-related causes,” says Dr. Scout from the Network for LGBT Health Equity. “We want to save those lives instead.”

I you’re HIV-positive and smoke, the combination can take even more years off your life: According to the Network for LGBT Health Equity, being HIV-positive takes an average of 5.1 years off one’s life, but people who smoke and have HIV die 12.3 years earlier on average. Yet the smoking rate is two to three times higher among adults who are HIV-positive than in the general public.


GLMA concerned about LGBT health implications of Supreme Court ruling

In response to the US Supreme Court ruling allowing closely held corporations to deny insurance coverage of contraceptives to their employees based on religious beliefs, GLMA executive director Hector Vargas issued the following statement:

“We are disappointed at today’s troubling ruling. This decision opens the door to employers interfering with the healthcare decisions that should be between the employee and their healthcare provider. We are very worried about the potential implications this decision could have on LGBT-related healthcare, such as HIV and transgender-related care.

“Earlier this year, GLMA joined Lambda Legal and Pride at Work in submitting a friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court because we know all too well how allowing personal beliefs to interfere with healthcare services can result in biased care or departure from scientifically sound standards of care, and can have disastrous effects for LGBT patients.

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes the contraceptive coverage provision at issue in this case, is incredibly beneficial to the health and well-being of the LGBT community, including important non-discrimination provisions covering LGBT people. A decision, like the one today, chipping away at benefits provided by the ACA is extremely concerning.

“The attempts by the majority decision to limit the effect of its ruling are of little comfort to LGBT people and make GLMA’s educational and policy work to expand access to healthcare for LGBT people, including ensuring non-discrimination in healthcare, all the more critical.”



Marking a scientific milestone

research pageFrom the Huffington Post
by John-Manuel Andriote
Journalist and author, ‘Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America’

Thirty years ago, in an April 23, 1984 press conference in Washington, D.C., the world learned that American microbiologist Robert C. Gallo and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute had proved that a retrovirus first seen by their counterparts at Institut Pasteur in Paris was the cause of AIDS.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler also announced that day that the Gallo team had created a blood test to detect antibodies produced by the body to fight infection. With it we finally had the ability to know who was infected, to screen donated blood and to track the spread of the virus.

By the time of the announcement, 4,177 AIDS cases had been reported in the United States across 45 states. New York City alone accounted for more than 1,600 cases. San Francisco, far smaller than the nation’s largest city and the East Coast’s biggest gay mecca, had more than 500 cases. The majority of these cases were among gay men of all skin tones.

Although the HIV test was originally intended to screen the blood supply, it became available to the public in early 1985. After early uncertainty about what, exactly, a positive test meant, it became clear it meant that a microbial time-bomb was ticking inside you, set to explode at some unpredictable time in a nightmare that would eventually lead to your death from the cancers, dementia, brain infections and other horrors that attack a body when HIV has destroyed the immune system.

Continue reading on the Huffington Post.

STD prevention is a part of HIV prevention: STD Awareness Month 

A message from Gail Bolan, M.D., Director, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (from

Gail Bolan, M.D., Director, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Gail Bolan, M.D., Director, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

April marks the annual observance of STD Awareness Month. And for this month, I’d like to focus on the link between STD prevention and HIV prevention.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been invested in exploring the intersection of HIV and other STDs. Every year, 20 million new STDs occur including 50,000 new HIV infections. We know that people who have STDs such as gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis are more likely to get HIV compared to people who do not. In fact, being infected with genital herpes makes you 3 times more likely to get infected with HIV, if exposed. And data collected from several major U.S. cities indicate that nearly 45% of gay and bisexual men with syphilis are also infected with HIV.

So this STD Awareness Month, I encourage the public, health care providers, and community-based organizations to bring a renewed sense of enthusiasm and focus to their STD awareness and prevention efforts. Individuals should know that the same behaviors that put you at risk for acquiring STDs can put you at risk for getting HIV. Physicians should follow recommended screening and treatment guidelines. And community-based organizations should support local STD and HIV prevention efforts.

The link between STDs and HIV is real. By educating yourself on ways to lower your risk, you can take action to protect your health. Not having sex is the most effective way to prevent STDs and HIV, but if you are sexually active, you can lower your risk of STDs and HIV by

  • Choosing one partner and agreeing to be sexually active only with each other. It is still important that you and your partner get tested for STDs and HIV and share your test results with one another.
  • Limiting the number of people you have sex with if you have more than one partner.
  • Using latex condoms or dental dams the right way every time you have sex.

STD and HIV testing is a critical part of preventing the spread of disease. I am urging providers to educate patients on their risk for STDs and HIV, and make taking a sexual history a priority. The behaviors and circumstances that put people at risk for STDs also put them at risk for HIV; take the opportunity to offer HIV testing to all patients who are tested for an STD. With 20% of new HIV cases being detected in STD clinics, it’s clear that a continued merging of STD and HIV prevention efforts is needed. As well, patients diagnosed with HIV at STD clinics have been found to have less-advanced disease.

You can go to the CDC Website to find out more about STD Awareness Month.

Being out to your doctor is important in maintaining your health

Why you should consider coming out to your doctor…

There are lots of reasons why men who have sex with men (MSM) don’t tell their doctors about their sexual preferences. But whatever the reason, it is important to keep in mind that who you have sex with can have a serious impact on your health. MSM need to be aware of the unique medical issues that their heterosexual counterparts may not have to worry so much about. For example, MSM have higher rates of HIV, Syphilis, HPV, anal cancer, and hepatitis (just to name a few). In short, your doctor can help you stay on top of the added health issues if he or she knows your sexual preference.

Finding an LGBT-friendly doctor…

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) keeps an online list of gay-friendly medical providers. It’s especially helpful if you live in or near a large city. You can go to their Website,, and search under their resources link by zip code. If the GLMA database doesn’t have any options near you, and you’re not willing to make a road trip, you’ll have to go about finding a doctor the traditional way: Meet potential providers and interview them. Ask questions, be honest. Doctors work for their patients, not the other way around. Keep shopping until you find one that you can be honest with. It may take some detective work but maintaining your health is worth it.

To subscribe to Pitt Men’s Study Health Alerts, send a message to with the word “subscribe” in the subject line.

Gay men should be tested for Hepatitis C

 (Co-founder, GMHC; author, ‘We Must Love One Another or Die: The Life and Legacies of Larry Kramer’) writes on the Huffington Post…

Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the U.S., and one of the most common worldwide. One in 50 Americans is infected. It accounts for more than 50 percent of all cases of end-stage liver disease and 50 percent of cases of liver cancer, and it is the reason for more than 50 percent of liver transplants. Yet it remains severely underdiagnosed. It’s estimated that upwards of 75 percent of those infected remain untested and undiagnosed, as compared with 25 percent of those with HIV. More people now die from hepatitis C than from HIV.

Those of us who struggled through the early period of AIDS understand the meaning of “Silence = Death,” the motto used by the AIDS activist organization ACT UP. So when hepatitis C began to emerge among MSM (men who have sex with men), the silence that ensued seemed eerily familiar. When I first started reporting on hepatitis C in gay men nearly a generation ago, the disease was already being called “the stealth epidemic,” in part because of the typically long, silent progression of the disease in its chronic form, sometimes taking 20 to 30 years from acute infection to cirrhosis of the liver, but also because of the public silence about it. If people had the disease, they mostly didn’t know it, and if they did have it and did know it, they didn’t go public with it. Nor did those with the disease often seek treatment, which had the reputation of being prolonged, difficult and of mixed efficacy. Since the principal risk group for the disease was injection drug users, the public wasn’t exactly clamoring to know more or be more involved.

Continue reading on the Huffington Post.

HIV testing for male couples

From Rob Stephenson, writing for the Huffington Post (Rob Stephenson is a Public Voices Fellow with The OpEd Project. He is also an Associate Professor of Global Health at Emory University and an expert in HIV and sexual behavior among gay men)…

September 27th was National Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day, a day aimed at encouraging gay men to test for HIV and to adopt risk reducing behaviors. After more than 30 years since the emergence of HIV/AIDS, the US epidemic remains concentrated in gay men and other men who have sex with men. Gay men are the only group in the US to show continued increases in rates of HIV, and rates of HIV infection are particularly high among African American gay men and gay men aged under 24. Getting tested for HIV remains our greatest prevention weapon. For those who test positive there are treatment and care options that can significantly improve longevity and health and reduce the risk of them transmitting HIV to others. And getting tested provides an opportunity for all to learn about risk reducing behaviors.

But throughout the HIV epidemic we in the prevention community have focused largely on providing HIV testing to individuals. It is therefore surprising to many that between one and two thirds of new HIV infections among gay men actually come from their main sex partners. While partying has its risks, falling in love does, too: compared to a hook up, you have more sex with your main partner, you have more penetrative sex, and you are less likely to be using condoms. Both partners may enter a relationship assuming they are HIV-negative. As a volunteer HIV counselor and tester, I can’t tell you how many times I have had a client tell me “If he was HIV positive he would tell me: he loves me.” But this assumes he knows his own status.

Discussions of HIV are not easy: “Where shall we eat tonight, and by the way, should we get tested for HIV?” is likely to elicit suspicion. It’s not that gay men don’t talk about sex in their relationships–our recent research showed that 90% report discussing sexual agreements with their main partner and 64% decide to be monogamous. But given that the prevalence of HIV among gay men in the US is almost as high as the prevalence among heterosexual couples in African countries with the worst epidemics, there is a high risk that men are entering relationships in which one, or both, are HIV positive.

But there is a solution to this. Since 2008, Dr. Patrick Sullivan and I (both from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University), have been developing an innovative HIV prevention strategy to tackle this problem: couples HIV testing for gay men (often referred to as CHTC (Couples HIV Counseling and Testing)). Couples’ testing allows both men to get counseling and learn the results together. This simple act removes the need for either partner to disclose their status, prevents risky behaviors based on assumptions and ignorance of status, and allows the couple to work together on a prevention plan built on both their HIV statuses. This has achieved incredible success in Africa where it was first developed in the 1980s: studies show that it reduces HIV transmission among sero-discordant heterosexual couples (in which one is HIV positive and one is HIV negative) by about 50% compared to individual testing.

With funding from the National Institutes of Health and the MAC AIDS Fund, we at Emory have worked with community based organizations to test over 300 male-male couples so far. The response has been overwhelming. Clients report that it provides an opportunity for them to address issues that are often hard to discuss and to build a prevention plan tailored to suit the circumstances of their relationship. With over 73 HIV testing agencies in 21 cities now trained to provide couples testing across the US, we are finding that around 10 percent of couples tested are newly identified as sero-discordant. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has now recognized CHTC as an effective intervention and is bringing this service to scale as part of their national HIV programming. With the support of CDC, couples HIV testing will be increasingly available in more cities across the US.

Keep reading on the Huffington Post.

A statement in solidarity with queer youth from ACT UP / New York

actup-bannerFrom ACT UP New York

How to Declare War on the New HIV Epidemic?

The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) marched through cheering crowds at the historic New York City Pride Parade on June 30th, 2013, to declare an HIV prevention emergency that threatens the health of the young queer community. More than half of young gay and bisexual men and transgender women may become HIV-positive by age 50, unless we act now, according to projections based on the latest statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With this statement, ACT UP is issuing a non-violent declaration of war against the new HIV epidemic — AIDS 2.0 — and all of the institutions and organizations that do not mobilize to fight this second epidemic hitting our communities. We will take to the streets; we will work with government agencies to improve HIV prevention programs; we will target federal, state and city cuts to HIV prevention funding; we will research and distribute the latest safe sex and medical information in schools; we will call out ineffective sex education programs; we will target major media, entertainment and LGBT organizations that have disengaged from the AIDS fight; we will not be silent.

Read the full statement on

“If I Am HIV-Negative, Then You Must Be Too, Right?”

From  writing for the Huffington Post Blog…

Falling in love is never easy, but forming a lasting relationship can be even more difficult. For many the early stages of a romance are a combination of excitement, panic and the urge to vomit, a constellation of feelings that Hallmark conveniently labels as “love.” But as relationships develop, a myriad of questions begin to arise: Will his mother like me? Does he always whistle when he pees? Will he judge me for watching Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo? Over 30 years into the HIV epidemic, the relationships formed by gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) often face another set of questions: Is he HIV-positive or negative? Is he going to ask if I am positive or negative? True, 30 years of HIV prevention efforts and advocacy have enabled many men living with HIV to be open about their HIV status, and it is certainly true that discussions around HIV are far less stigmatized than they were in the 1980s. But while we have been inundated with messages telling us to “talk about HIV with your sex partners,” for some such discussions are fraught with anxieties over blame, judgment or abandonment.

But for others, the lack of discussion around HIV with their sex partners may arise from a surprising gap in knowledge. Recently published work by Bradley Wagenaar and colleagues from the Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta shows that among a sample of 426 MSM aged 18 to 29, 21 percent were not definitively aware that sero-discordance (where one member of the couple is HIV-negative and the other is HIV-positive) is possible. That is, 1 in 5 men surveyed thought that if two men were having sex and one was HIV-negative, then the other must also be HIV-negative. This new evidence suggests that gay men may make assumptions about their partner’s sero-status using their own HIV status as a barometer against which to guesstimate their partner’s HIV status. And the logic perhaps makes sense: If I know I am negative, and we have been having a lot of sex together, then he must be negative too, right?

Continue reading on the Huffington Post Gay Voices.

Rob Stephenson is a Public Voices Fellow with The OpEd Project. He is also an Associate Professor of Global Health at Emory University and an expert in HIV and sexual behavior among gay men.

Activist: AIDS is gay again

From , writer and activist, posted on the Huffington Post Gay Voices…

Between 2008 and 2010, new infections rose 12-percent for gay men while falling or remaining stable in all other populations. Transmission for young gay men spiked upwards 22 percent. MSM faced 30 times the HIV risk that straight guys faced. A gay African-American man was six times likelier to be infected with HIV than a white gay man, and a Hispanic man was three times likelier. Researcher Ron Stall’s 2009 prediction that more than half of young gay men would be HIV-positive by age 50 suddenly seemed a chilling underestimate.

In the early 1980s, faced with seeming extinction, gay men invented safer sex. Supported by pamphlets, videotapes and workshops, promulgated across gay sexual networks, safer sex emphasized lower-risk sex acts and using condoms for high-risk anal sex. Empowered to take control of their lives in the face of a deadly virus, gay guys drove HIV incidence down by 75 percent between 1984 and 1993. Believing that safer sex was all the prevention we’d ever need, we who were AIDS activists never fought for prevention research or the development of new prevention tools. We focused on securing treatments for the sick and potentially sick.

But we were wrong to think the original community consensus behind safer sex could survive an evolving epidemic. As early as 1993, even as AIDS deaths mounted, HIV incidence for gay men began a slow upward drift. Combination antiretroviral therapy, introduced in 1997, would make HIV a manageable disease for most who received treatment. The term “barebacking” came into use to refer to a conscious decision to discard condoms, at first an exceptional position that soon spread. Most ongoing prevention programs, unequal to the new epidemic, simply tinkered with the safer sex workshops of an earlier generation. A slow rise in HIV incidence for gay guys continued until the recent acceleration captured in the latest incidence report.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post.

Huffington Post blog addresses HIV stigma

The HIV Shame Game: What Role Do You Play?

 – Freelance columnist and fiction writer; creator, The Needle Prick Project

[…] According to the Center for Disease Control, 44 percent of people who are HIV positive are unaware of their status. Unfortunately, the people who may be perpetuating the shame game may soon find that it is they who need the bath. This is where the real danger lies. Allowing language like this to permeate our culture only serves to promote the continuation of the HIV epidemic and enforce a second viral class among the gay community.

Of course, the burden of change rests on the shoulders of those affected the most by the shame game. It may seem easier for HIV-positive men to retreat into the shadows when friends and strangers alike unknowingly use language that make them feel like a pariah in dignitaries’ clothing. However, many of these accidental offenders are victim of the same phenomenon that was the basis of so much prejudice against gay men and women. They simply don’t have a personal connection to the disease. HIV-positive men owe it to themselves to speak out against language that demeans their worth. They also owe it to their HIV-negative friends to educate them on the reality so that they don’t continue to proliferate stigma or believe that they are removed from risk.

HIV-positive men aren’t victims, vampires, zombies or martyrs. The social and psychological factors surrounding infection are complex, difficult and impossible to simplify into one category.

Of course, the language we use and terminology we’ve chosen to isolate one another is just the one element of the shaming that goes on within the gay community. Combating HIV stigma is a multifarious problem that will require numerous endeavors and will take time before we start seeing measurable change.

Read the full post on The Huffington Post Blog.

Gay social app creators give attention to health and social issue

From the Huffington Post


Nowadays there seems to be a mobile app for everything, including dating.

Long before my last breakup, I deleted Grindr, a smartphone app that is a household name in most gay circles, from my phone. Call me old-fashioned, but I wanted to meet people face-to-face. I found it creepy that the application pinpointed my exact location and told perfect strangers how close I was to them, and there was something seedy about texting headless torsos on my little phone’s screen. Even when I was bored, I thought that Grindr simply lacked the kind of fun and sophistication that piqued my interest. Moreover, I had long given up on dating sites such as Adam4Adam, Manhunt and even; they’d started to have the feel of a bathhouse or a seedy bar. I decided that there simply was not a market in online dating for those who wanted to meet decent people to chat with.

Was I the last gay man on Earth who did not want to hook up? I was parched for conversation with other gay men. Sure, I have a sexual appetite, but I do draw a line sometime. And then, like a ray of sunshine, a friend suggested that I look into Hornet. “I only have it because I’m bored, but it is pretty awesome and a little like Facebook,” said my friend.

After incredulously scolding my friend for using a what I thought was a gay hookup app while in a relationship, I downloaded it. Incredibly, Hornet was different right off the bat. Not only was the interface user-friendly, but users can literally search the world for someone to talk to and not pay a dime for the service. People were using the app to address social issues like knowing one’s HIV status. I was intrigued.

Read the rest of the article on the Huffingon Post Website.

LGBT invisibility in health care

From the Huffington Post…

Until very recently, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have been invisible in health care. Most providers do not ask about sexual orientation or gender identity, nor are they trained in the unique health care needs of LGBT people or the health disparities they experience. Many LGBT patients are not “out” to their providers; as a result, they are not screened for issues that may disproportionately affect LGBT people. Moreover, sexual orientation isn’t just about identity. For example, a recent study found that nearly 10 percent of men who identified as straight had had sex with another man in the past year — and these men were less likely to use condoms than men who identified as gay. This underscores the need to ask questions about sexual behavior as well as sexual identity.

[…]Asking about sexual orientation and gender identity in clinical settings is a critical step that will enhance our knowledge of LGBT population health and improve patient-provider interactions. There are important health reasons to ask about sexual orientation and gender identity. For example, providers who know that a patient is a sexually active gay man can warn him about a recent syphilis outbreak and test him for sexually transmitted infections more common among gay men.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post.

Need for action among black gay and bi men

From the Huffington Post Blog…

To End AIDS Among Black Gay and Bi Men, There’s a Need for Action

The face of AIDS as imagined by some in America is that of a black gay or bisexual man. Indeed, black gay and bisexual men, or men who have sex with men (MSM), have the highest HIV rates in the country. Black MSM are commonly portrayed as as “down low brothers” who transmit the disease to women by having unsafe sexual relationships with men on the side, or even as carriers of the disease by default, somehow. These stereotypes treat the epidemic as a result of ignorance about safe sexual practices, or of homophobia, and in doing so they offer an overly simplistic solution to a far more complex problem.

What all too often goes unaddressed is the fact that black MSM tend to be at the intersection of multiple identities and challenging circumstances — racism, homophobia and economic disenfranchisement — that adversely affect their access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment. That intersection is a very dangerous place, and our various communities and the federal government have yet to respond adequately to address our health and service needs.

Continuie reading here.

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage people of all ages to “Take the Test, Take Control.”

Too many people don’t know they have HIV. In the United States, nearly 1.2 million people are living with HIV, and almost one in five don’t know they are infected. Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. If you have HIV, getting medical care and taking medicines regularly helps you live a longer, healthier life and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others.