HIV has cost America too much for too long and remains a significant public health issue:
- More than 700,000 American lives have been lost to HIV since 1981.
- More than 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV and many more are at risk of HIV infection.
Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.
EHE is a bold plan announced in 2019 that aims to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030. Agencies across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) developed an operational plan to pursue the goal of reducing the number of new HIV infections by 75% by 2025, and then by at least 90% by 2030, for an estimated 250,000 total HIV infections averted. An overview of the plan can be accessed here.
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) also has released a National HIV/AIDS Strategy document (here) that details how its stated vision will be actualized.
The vision: “The United States will be a place where new HIV infections are prevented, every person knows their status, and every person with HIV has high-quality care and treatment, lives free from stigma and discrimination, and can achieve their full potential for health and well-being across the lifespan.
“This vision includes all people, regardless of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, geographic location, or socioeconomic circumstance.”
HIV and Health Centers
HRSA-funded health centers play an important role in ending the HIV epidemic by serving as a key point of entry for people undiagnosed with HIV. Many health centers provide HIV care services, including Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Health centers emphasize coordinated and comprehensive care, and have the ability to manage patients with multiple health care needs. Integration of HIV testing, prevention, care, and treatment into primary care settings and providing essential enabling services such as outreach, patient education, case management, and care coordination, can increase access and improve health outcomes for patients living with HIV.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily regimen of two oral antiretroviral drugs in a single pill, has proven to be highly effective in preventing HIV infection for individuals at high risk, reducing the risk of acquiring HIV by up to 97 percent.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus.
In the U.S., most people with HIV do not develop AIDS because taking HIV medicine every day as prescribed stops the progression of the disease.
A person with HIV is considered to have progressed to AIDS when:
- the number of their CD4 cells falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (200 cells/mm3). (In someone with a healthy immune system, CD4 counts are between 500 and 1,600 cells/mm3.) OR
- they develop one or more opportunistic infections regardless of their CD4 count.