In a new video created in collaboration with Man2Man and the Rainbow Project, Irish drag legend Veda opened up about her HIV diagnosis and the groundbreaking impact that U=U had on her life.
Announced earlier this year on Irish AIDs Day, the content was created to spread the powerful U=U message and to help fight the stigma around HIV. Man2Man, the Rainbow Project and the Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP) teamed up with photographer Babs Daly for the production of this video, in which drag performer and HIV activist Veda shares how U=U changed her life.
U=U stands for ‘Undetectable equals Untransmittable’ and is a global campaign aimed at informing people about the fact that someone with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to a sexual partner. A person living with HIV who is on effective treatment has a viral load in the body so low that it cannot be detected. This means that they also cannot transmit HIV to a sexual partner.
The impact that U=U had on the lives of people living with HIV was so important because it was able to reduce anxiety about the transmission of the virus to other people.
“It was a huge game-changer for me personally because I became HIV positive in 2009, so your biggest fear was passing on the virus to somebody else,” shares Veda in the video.
In addition to being one of the most beloved drag artists on the Irish scene, Veda has been a tireless HIV advocate and has spent the last few years working on spreading awareness about U=U. Together with HIV activist Robbie Lawlor, she co-hosts the PozVibe Podcast for people living with HIV and their friends, families and allies.
“This journey that I’ve been on with HIV activism has made me fall madly in love with the queer community all over again because they’ve just been so supportive,” she says in the video. “Everybody deserves to have a shame-free happy life. Everybody, whether you’re HIV positive or not.”
Watch the full video by Veda in collaboration with Man2Man, SHCPP and the Rainbow Project below. For more details about U=U, visit the Man2Man webpage.
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