Starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) promptly after diagnosis helps people with HIV live longer and healthier lives, and it also helps prevent the spread of HIV. But sadly, according to CDC estimates, only 1 in 4 of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV have successfully navigated the HIV care continuum -- the sequence of steps from HIV diagnosis and linkage to care through initiation of ART, and achievement of durable viral suppression.
Mr. Douglas Brooks, Director of ONAP, who attended the launch, reminded the audience that in July 2013, President Obama called on all of us to focus our continued implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy on activities that will better address drop-offs along the continuum and increase the proportion of individuals who have the virus effectively controlled. The goal of the President’s Executive Order establishing the HIV Care Continuum Initiative is to accelerate efforts to help people who are infected get diagnosed, linked to care, and treated for HIV. Among other things, the HIV Care Continuum Initiative has bolstered further integration of HIV prevention and care efforts and fostered new approaches to addressing barriers to HIV testing and treatment.CDC’s HIV Treatment Works campaign is an important new asset in our national efforts to improve the health of people living with HIV/AIDS. As I noted in my remarks at the launch event, the campaign relates directly to recommendations developed by a cross-federal working group in response to the President’s HIV Care Continuum Initiative. HIV Treatment Works will help us tackle misconceptions about HIV and its treatment, break down barriers to care, and reach persons who have been diagnosed, but have not been linked to care, and to re‐engage those who have dropped out of care.
In a blog post accompanying the launch of the campaign, Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention).
I encourage all readers to explore the new HIV Treatment Works campaign and consider how you might use or share its life-saving messages. This important new campaign is about surviving and thriving with HIV. It will enable us to better reach individuals and communities impacted by HIV and help them understand the tremendous benefits of care--an important step in our broader efforts to achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.