Ambassador Kritenbrink Remarks: Launch of Hanoi K equals K Campaign

Saturday, May 11, 2019
Thong Nhat Park, Hanoi

Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U)

Dr. Phan Thị Thu Hương, Deputy Director of Vietnam Authority for HIV/AIDS Control; Dr. Nguyễn Khắc Hiền, Hanoi Department of Health leader; and Dr. Nguyễn Nhật Cảm, Director of the Hanoi CDC; government leaders; representatives from academic institutions and students; the United Nations family; and community organizations, including the Vietnam Network of People Living with HIV; Representatives of HIV service facilities; ladies and gentlemen.

Xin chào tất cả các Quý vị! (Good afternoon everyone)

It is my pleasure to join this event to launch the Hanoi K equals K Campaign. Called U equals U in English, or Undetectable equals Untransmittable, K equals K research findings show that when people living with HIV are on effective treatment and have an undetectable viral load—meaning the level of HIV virus in the body is so low that it cannot be detected—there is zero risk of transmission of HIV to sexual partners. To date, over 858 organizations from 97 countries have endorsed and supported these findings in their countries and communities.

Why is K equals K so important?

From a scientific perspective, the incredible findings of K equals K confirm—with absolute clarity and confidence—what clinicians and people living with HIV have seen and experienced.

From a community perspective, K equals K means that HIV stigma should be eradicated and that no barriers to knowing their HIV status should exist for key populations and those at-risk.

From a programmatic perspective, K equals K means that we should encourage HIV testing for all at-risk individuals, with the aim of early treatment with antiretroviral medications for those living with HIV, and pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for prevention among those who are HIV-negative. In this way, we can stop forward transmission of HIV.

From an individual perspective, K equals K is transformative. Once on effective treatment, people living with HIV no longer need to fear that they might transmit HIV to their sex partners, which has been a main pillar of stigma. They can now lead healthy, fulfilling, joyful lives without this heavy burden. Those who are HIV-negative do not need to fear sexual transmission through a positive partner who has an undetectable viral load. Successful HIV treatment and PrEP are the most effective ways to prevent HIV transmission, period. Vietnam is a global leader of K equals K, since your early adoption of these findings through policy and programming. We can truly say that K equals K is a powerful message for the HIV community here.

Today, the Hanoi Department of Health and Hanoi CDC demonstrate their commitment to meeting epidemic control by implementing a coordinated campaign to ensure that K equals K is the foundation of our collective efforts. It is a truly successful collaboration between the government, civil society, the health sector, and the international HIV community.

On behalf of PEPFAR, CDC, and all the U.S. agencies and partners here today, I commend the city of Hanoi for their leadership, partnership, and compassion in the implementation of the K equals K campaign. Thank you for all of your efforts.