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Jul19

Embracing a broader population, not erasing AIDS: government official, living with HIV, reflects on the name change to 'HIV.gov'

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Current Affairs, International , Media, Opinion Pieces, Revolving Door, Guest Authors

From TheBody.com, JD Davids interviews Richard Wolitski, Ph.D., director of the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Embracing a broader population, not erasing AIDS: government official, living with HIV, reflects on the name change to 'HIV.gov'

To read the complete article by J. D. Davids visit TheBody.com, here.

Last year, eight million people went to AIDS.gov to find information about, well, HIV/AIDS. But from this point forward, those millions and more will instead find themselves at HIV.gov. After years of planning, the central United States government website on HIV/AIDS has changed its name to reflect the changes of the fourth decade of the epidemic, when people with HIV who receive effective treatment can expect a near-normal life span, and those without HIV can prevent acquisition through multiple means.

Richard Wolitski, Ph.D. (Courtesy of HIV.gov)

TheBody.com had the pleasure of chatting with Richard Wolitski, Ph.D., director of the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about the significance of this change. As someone who has been living with HIV since the era before effective treatments, Wolitski brings both a personal and professional perspective on this moment.

JD Davids: On a personal level, as a long-term survivor of HIV, what does this name change represent for you?

Richard Wolitski, Ph.D.: I remember back when I was just diagnosed in '94. During that time, I would go to the medical library several times a week, pull out general articles and read every new study that came out. I really made a significant investment in trying to figure out what the options were for my own care. Today, honestly, I can barely keep track of the name of the medication that I'm taking. I don't even really bother with that, because I don't need to worry about it.

And so, I feel like today, HIV has become something for many people that doesn't become all-consuming; it's not the main focus of their lives. The focus of their lives is living -- having relationships, their career, their families, school. And so, today, HIV is still a serious health issue, but if people are getting the right medical care, it doesn't have to be something that overwhelms the rest of their lives.

Living with HIV should be about living!

To read the complete article by J. D. Davids visit TheBody.com, here.

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