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National HIV Testing Day — Ending the epidemic by 2030

June 24, 2021 | Healthy Communities News

In advance of National HIV Testing Day on June 27th, we explore the myriad of options available to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. by the end of this decade — more specifically, the challenging yet achievable goal set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to reduce new infections 90% by 2030. To meet this goal, a renewed emphasis on testing is the first order of business.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was naturally top of mind over the past 18 months, other diseases like HIV have continued to infect more people. 1.2 Million people in the U.S. have HIV, 14% of them don't know it.

The CDC is providing resources across the country, such as medications to folks that are at risk, additional free HIV testing, and treatment. In order to provide even more direct support in our communities, the CDC has created a team of Ambassadors working in the cities most impacted by HIV infections. “An ambassador is basically someone from the community that has an influence on other people around them,” says Milani Varela, Ambassador, Let’s Stop HIV Together. We also spoke with Joel Helle, Vice President, Physician Services, and Marco Benjamin, National Liaison, HIV/Sexual Health at CVS Health®.

In this month’s podcast episode, Melissa connected with another Ambassador and public health policy consultant, Jen Laws, who believes, “When we look at issues of systemic racism and the compounding issues that push poverty along the lines of identity, then we’re also looking at the intersections where HIV thrives.”