Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

State releases Getting to Zero plan to eliminate HIV

Dr. Karen Smith. Photo: California Department of Public Health

Dr. Karen Smith. Photo: California Department of Public Health

California health officials released their plan Wednesday for eliminating new HIV transmissions in the state by 2021.

The Getting to Zero campaign, similar to a San Francisco initiative that’s been in place for years, is meant to serve as a model for health departments and community organizations across the state that are trying to improve coordination in their response to HIV.

“Thanks to better treatment and prevention options, new testing technology and better access to health care, California has reached a point where we can begin to envision the possibility of zero new HIV infections,” said California Department of Public Health Director State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith in a November 2 news release. “In a state as large as ours, it will take an incredible amount of coordination, innovation and work to make this vision a reality. This report lays the foundation for achieving our goals.”

The Getting to Zero plan includes four goals officials want to reach in the next five years: Reduce new HIV infections, increase access to care, reduce disparities in underserved communities, and reach a more coordinated statewide response to the epidemic.

In order to reach the goals, the plan includes strategies such as improving PrEP utilization and HIV testing and enhancing the availability of HIV care.

“This comprehensive plan reinforces the state’s ongoing commitment to address the HIV epidemic,” said Dr. Karen Mark, Chief of the state Office of AIDS. “This commitment includes supporting people living with HIV, reducing the rate of new infections, and recognizing that not all communities have been equally impacted by this epidemic, and making those most at risk a high priority.”

The Getting to Zero plan was developed by the state health department, along with medical providers, HIV-related community groups, and others.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 2, 2016 @ 2:49 pm PST
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