The Terrence Higgins Trust and the Sophia Forum have published a report on the Level Of Care women living with HIV in the UK receive. Jointly, the two charities studied the care for women when compared to the level of care given to men. Entitled "Women and HIV: Invisible No Longer", the reports culminates in several key findings, chiefly that homosexual men can expect adequate care, whereas women often fall between the cracks.

Although one-third of the people living with HIV in the UK are women, little attention has been given to them. Efforts to diagnose early and enable women living with HIV to enjoy a good Quality Of Life have been few and far between.

Early diagnosis, medication, and continuous medical support are crucial to ensure an adequate standard of care. The #InvisibleNoLonger campaign aims to address these issues and place a firm focus on the issues facing women living with HIV.

Women and HIV: Invisible No Longer - key findings of the report

This report outlines a number of key issues. To begin with, despite the fact that women make up one-third of people living with HIV, they do not contribute to the decision-making process when it comes to the design and delivery of services.

What's more, the way HIV affects women differs considerably from the way it impacts on men. 45 percent of women live below the poverty line, over half have experienced violence relating to HIV, and 31 percent have been slow to access medical services for fear of discrimination. Furthermore, over two-thirds are not satisfied with their love lives, and over 40 percent said that HIV impacted on their decision whether to have children.

When it comes to prevention, the report highlights that no female risk group has been identified, with over two-fifths of women stating that they encountered barriers in relation to HIV-testing. Finally, the report also found that of the women surveyed nobody had been able to access pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). On a PrEP program, at-risk individuals receive HIV-medicines on a daily basis to lower the chances of them getting infected.

Despite these negative findings, the report also states that nearly half of all women living with HIV described their quality of life as either "very good" or "good." A further 38 percent described it as "adequate."

#InvisibleNoLonger campaign goals

With the publication of this report, the two charities hope to draw attention to the issues women living with HIV have to face. Moreover, they aim to encourage women to reach out and seek support. Charities like Positively UK's women's programme, Swift, and 4M peer support project (for HIV-positive pregnant women) collaborate in providing support services and fighting discrimination and stigmatisation. The report also emphasises the need for service providers and policy-makers to include women when it comes to HIV-care provision.

Women who experience violence because of HIV, in particular, need to receive support so that they will access the services required to provide them with a good quality of life. The hashtag-campaign #InvisibleNoLonger has been gathering momentum.

Educating people not affected by HIV also lies at the centre of this campaign in the fight against discrimination. HIV no longer makes the headlines despite the fact that many myths about this infection still exist.