‘I Am a Work of ART’ campaign aims to promote HIV treatment

Federal health officials who are looking to eliminate HIV within the decade say it’s important for patients to get into care and to stay on viral suppressing medicines.

The I Am a Work of ART campaign, launched this week, highlights people who’ve benefited from such medicines as HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) by giving them the space to describe their journeys and how they now are thriving.

“The individuals in this campaign who have been our creative partners from the very beginning are telling their own journey, their own story, and after diagnosis, what it took for them ultimately to get back into care, and to achieve viral suppression,” said Dr. Timothy Harrison, deputy director for strategic initiatives and senior policy adviser at the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy. “And so it’s their honest truths about their own particular journey.”

People with HIV who take antiretroviral therapy as prescribed can remain virally suppressed, can live long, healthy lives and will not transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex.

“We’re really focused on people with HIV who may have never been linked to care, never been in care, or those who may have fallen out for a variety of different reasons,” Harrison said.

Harrison acknowledges that the journey of life with HIV is difficult and sometimes has bumps in the road. He hopes people in the campaign inspire change.

“They came to the recognition that for their health, for their wellness, for them to live fully, that they needed to be in care,” he said.

Harrison stressed the importance of getting tested and diagnosed, as well as embracing prevention, including using a pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP —  a one-pill-a-day medication that “will not permit acquisition of HIV.”

“So we’re fighting the battle on all fronts — the diagnosis side, linking to care, getting people to stay in care and ultimately to get them to achieve viral suppression,” he said.

HIV left untreated can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV was first detected in the U.S. in June 1981.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.


aids | hiv

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