A HEALTH and wellness phone app for people living with HIV has been launched in Australia, marking the first of its kind in the world.

The free mobile app MyLife+ provides tools and resources for HIV-positive people can take more control over their health and wellbeing, along with managing their overall quality of life.

Advances in treatments since the AIDS crisis has made living with HIV manageable for the estimated 27,150 Australians currently living with the virus.

However, those in the positive community still face stigma and mental health issues, along with difficulties taking treatment, remembering to take their pills on time, and managing their symptoms.

HIV advocate Craig Burnett said treatment reminds him he’s taking care of himself every day, and the app will reinforce this idea.

“I think in the journey to understanding, you do need to take responsibility for your health,” he said.

“I think people just need to be told that they can take care of their health, it is possible.

“It’s part of caring for yourself – it’s also like taking back control in a way.”

Burnett added that the app will be particularly important for those diagnosed with HIV that have no connections to the sector or others in the community.

“There are a lot of closeted people living with HIV,” he said.

“They get diagnosed, go see their doctor and they don’t tell anyone else.

“There are so many people who only tell their family or really close loved ones, and there are so many people living with HIV who are very isolated from the positive community.

“I think having an app will allow them to have connection to the community, have information and be able to take care of themselves effectively.”

The app will have unique digital features including blood results, medications, quality of life trackers, a flexible journal for recording moods and symptoms, and shareable health progress reports.

App users will also be able to print out or email reports to their healthcare providers, to assist and improve conversations with their doctors, nurses, and other care providers.

The app has been launched by ViiV Healthcare in collaboration with the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA).

Vice-President of NAPWHA Robert Mitchell is one of ten people living with HIV taking part in the national MyLife+ promotional campaign.

“When I was first diagnosed with HIV in 1993 I was given three to five years to live, but like many people with HIV, I’m here today because of the new and highly effective treatments that have been developed,” he said.

“Managing a chronic condition can be complex, both physically and emotionally.

“NAPWHA is supporting MyLife+ because it is the first app of its kind to help people navigate the HIV journey through to old age, encouraging users to remain happy, healthy, and connected to others.”

For more information or links to download MyLife+ visit: MyLife+

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