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Home » Living With HIV & AIDS » Unlocking the End of the HIV Epidemic

Tremendous progress has been made in the effort to end the HIV epidemic since the first official case was reported more than 40 years ago. However, efforts to control the ongoing HIV epidemic have continued to be hindered by decades of widespread misconception, stigma, and discrimination.

Gilead Sciences, a healthcare industry leader committed to advancing health equity, knows it will take more than medicine to end the HIV epidemic. The company, in partnership with community leaders and advocates, is dedicated to helping raise awareness about the negative effects of HIV-related stigma as a major barrier to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment.  


Knowing your HIV status through HIV testing is an important part of your self-care and gives you powerful information to help you and your loved ones stay healthy.

Of the roughly 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in 2019, 13% did not realize they were carrying the virus. That’s why the CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 gets tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine healthcare plan. Some people should continue to get tested on a regular basis and start a dialogue with their healthcare providers about their status even if their HIV test was negative more than 1 year ago.

Leandro Rodriguez

Vice President of The Latino Commission on AIDS, a Gilead Grant Recipient

“Destigmatizing HIV testing is crucial to our efforts to help end the HIV epidemic and helps us achieve changing how sexual health is viewed, especially in communities experiencing health disparities that are fueled by barriers like misconceptions and stigma,” said Leandro Rodriguez, Vice President of The Latino Commission on AIDS, a Gilead grant recipient. “There is a disproportionate impact of HIV on Black, Hispanic/Latino/a/x and LGBTQ+ communities, and we know that raising awareness of testing and next steps – among the community and with healthcare providers – is a foundational piece towards dismantling stigma and promoting uptake of prevention or treatment services.”


Low awareness and stigma can lead to fear around HIV, but knowing your status can help empower you to talk to a healthcare provider to discuss the best HIV care for you. It’s especially important that everyone who is diagnosed with HIV see a healthcare provider and begin treatment as soon as possible – no matter how long they’ve had HIV or how healthy they believe they are.

Stigma has also been linked to improper HIV treatment adherence, which can impact the ability of treatment to suppress the virus. Current research shows that taking HIV treatment as prescribed, getting to an undetectable viral load (levels of HIV so low it cannot be detected), and staying undetectable for at least 6 months prevents transmitting HIV to others through sex. This is known as U=U (Undetectable=Untransmittable) or TasP (treatment as prevention). HIV treatment can help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and can help reduce the chance of passing HIV to others through sex. 


One of the key methods for helping prevent HIV is pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP — a prescription medicine people can take before being exposed to HIV that reduces the likelihood of contracting the virus.

PrEP reduces the likelihood of contracting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed, according to the CDC. Yet, only about 30% of the 1.2 million people in the US who could benefit from PrEP were taking it at the end of 2021. PrEP is for people who are HIV-negative and does not protect against other STIs, so people should be sure to use condoms and other healthy sex practices while on PrEP.

The national goal is to raise that figure to 50% by 2025, which will require dismantling long-standing stigmas and barriers to accessing HIV prevention services, especially among Black and Latinx communities that have long been disproportionately impacted by this health crisis and many others. Healthcare providers also play a role by having conversations about HIV prevention options and sexual health with their patients.

Sandrine Piret-Gerard

Senior Vice President, U.S. Commercial, Gilead

“Prevention is key to helping end the HIV epidemic, but barriers to access and uptake of PrEP like stigma and health disparities are hindering progress,” said Sandrine Piret-Gerard, Senior Vice President, U.S. Commercial at Gilead. “It’s critical that we collaborate with community leaders and healthcare providers to help eliminate barriers to PrEP access and uptake, including those that occur at points of care, such as misperceptions and low awareness of who is eligible for PrEP, so that we can improve uptake of prevention medicines and help limit forward transmission of HIV.” 

While there is no cure for HIV, increasing testing efforts and encouraging uptake of treatment or prevention options as early as possible following a test can help end the HIV epidemic. To realize those goals, we must all work together to break down harmful stigmas and systemic barriers to HIV care through education, awareness, and advocacy.

If you have questions about HIV treatment or prevention options, talk to a healthcare provider.

To find nearby HIV testing, order a free at-home test, and learn what to do after receiving results, visit

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© 2024 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. US-UNBC-2203 05/24

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