New Statewide Plan Aims to Dramatically Reduce New HIV Infections

Sacramento County, CA (MPG)  |  Source: California Department of Public Health
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California has released a new surveillance, prevention and care plan designed to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the state, with the goal of eventually getting that number to zero. The “Getting to Zero” plan is a blueprint for state and local health departments and community organizations working to achieve a more coordinated statewide 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 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 was developed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in coordination with local health officials, other state departments, medical and non-medical providers, and HIV community organizations and planning bodies. The report set four goals to be achieved by 2021. The four goals are to reduce new HIV infections, increase access to care, reduce disparities in underserved communities and achieve a more coordinated statewide response to the HIV epidemic.

To achieve those goals, the report outlines 15 strategies and 12 key objectives that will be monitored on an annual basis by CDPH’s Office of AIDS. Some of the strategies include improving HIV testing and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) utilization, enhancing availability of HIV care and increasing community collaboration and involvement.

“This comprehensive plan reinforces the state’s ongoing commitment to address the HIV epidemic,” said Dr. Karen Mark, Chief of the Office of AIDS at CDPH. “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.”

For more information see www.cdph.ca.gov