Charting the Course to End HIV Transmission in the United States

Content From: Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Rear Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service, and Deputy Surgeon GeneralPublished: November 17, 20173 min read


Listen to an audio recording of this blog

Sylvia Trent-Adams
Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Rear Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service, and Deputy Surgeon General
I’ve devoted a substantial part of my career to our national response to HIV and AIDS, and I am grateful that in my current role I am able to continue to contribute to this important work that engages and concerns so many of us in public health. My work in HIV has included experience as a researcher, clinician, and administrator, including two years serving as HRSA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau where I assisted in managing the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Over the course of my career, I have witnessed tremendous progress in HIV prevention, care, and treatment. But our work isn’t done. 

So I was pleased to author a column about how far we’ve come and what remains to be done in our response to HIV. The column in Public Health Reports was published online earlier this fall ahead of the release of the November/December issue this month. Public Health Reports is the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service. In the column, I reflect on my experience as well as the improvements in HIV prevention, care, and treatment over the years that have put us within reach of achieving an end to HIV in the United States.  

More work remains to be done before we achieve that life-saving goal. So, I also look to the future in the column. We now have potent medications (antiretroviral treatment or ART) that protect the health of people living with HIV and, as a result, reduce the number of HIV-related deaths. We also now have strong scientific evidence of the prevention effectiveness of ART: when ART results in viral suppression, it prevents sexual transmission of HIV. 

The collective wisdom we’ve gained from our evolving response since the 1980s, and the systems of care that we’ve built to help prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV infection, give us the knowledge, skills, tools, and infrastructure that are needed to chart a course to the end of HIV infections in the United States.


My column concludes by discussing the multifaceted approach we must pursue together in order to achieve that goal, so that the United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.

I invite you to read the column, “Charting the Course to End HIV Transmission in the United StatesExit Disclaimer,” and join me in reflecting on our progress and renewing our commitment to ending HIV. Each of us has a role to play and, working together, we can achieve this important public health goal.