Cross-posted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center for Global Health
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community. Let us mark this occasion by recommitting to our collective efforts to eliminate HIV in America and globally.
While great progress has been made, it is now time for us, as a global community, to successfully bring HIV to an end, once and for all. Reaching this goal requires that we engage with communities to develop, refine, and bring to scale interventions designed to meet the needs of both people with and most vulnerable to HIV.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America initiative with the goal of reducing new HIV incidence by 90 percent over the next decade in the United States. This initiative involves numerous federal agencies working in unison under the leadership of HHS. We are collaborating with state, local, territorial, and tribal leaders across the country. Community members are engaged in helping find new ways to increase diagnoses and link more people to prevention and treatment.
Abroad, several African countries are on pace to achieve epidemic control by 2020. When the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) started in 2003, only 50,000 people in all of sub-Saharan Africa were on HIV treatment. In 2018, the majority of the 23.3 million people on HIV treatment worldwide were in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of PEPFAR, CDC supports a third of all people on HIV treatment globally. CDC and our U.S. government colleagues work side-by-side with on-the-ground partners to improve methods for finding, treating, and preventing HIV.
After more than 30 years of our domestic response and 16 years of PEPFAR, we know that communities most impacted by HIV have a great deal to teach us regarding how best to address their needs. Solutions defined by the community, for the community, and in the community, as well as informed interventions built on a solid foundation of scientific excellence, will help secure future gains and continued progress toward HIV epidemic control.
Ending the HIV epidemic is not aspirational; it is doable. Science has provided us with the tools. Together, we can complete this mission.
Robert R. Redfield, MD