The US Federal Government has rolled out a plan to End the Epidemic that invests limited resources in the communities most impacted by HIV while scaling up four science-based strategies to end the epidemic forever. More importantly, "Ending the Epidemic" is not just the name of a federal plan, its a long-held goal that is finally within our grasp thanks to revolutionary medical advancements. Will you help us get there?
While these statistics may sound alarming, they are NOT impossible to overcome. Let these numbers serve as a call to action, and know that we collectively have the power to shift the paradigm. AIDS Alabama highlights these statistics (along with advancements in treatment) in hopes that more people will take control of their health by getting tested for HIV.
Prevent new HIV transmissions by using proven interventions, including PrEP and syringe services programs (SSPs)
Undetectable = Untransmittable
With one pill, once a day, a person living with HIV can reduce their viral load so low that it cannot be detected by lab tests (undetectable). When viral suppression is achieved, HIV cannot be transmitted through sex (untransmittable).
Treatment as Prevention
Since we know that U equals U, treatment is one of the best tools for preventing new HIV transmissions. Modern HIV treatments require less pills, involve less side effects, and produce better outcomes than earlier meds.
With one pill, once a day, a person at risk for contracting HIV can protect themselves against transmission. There are now several options for PrEP on the market, including a new, long-acting injectable to replace daily pills.
PEP (occupational) and nPEP (non-occupational) regimens can prevent HIV transmission if started within 72 hours of an exposure. Research shows that PEP/nPEP regimens are most effective when started within 24 hours after an exposure.
Did you know that 80% of what makes up someone's health happens outside of the hospital or health clinic?
The COVID-19 Pandemic made the general population aware of what we in public health have known for years - disparate access to resources leads to disparate outcomes. This effect is most pronounced in communities that have endured a legacy of marginalization, like communities of color and LGBTQ+ communities. Even though we have the tools to stop new transmissions, these tools only work if we can get them in the hands of the people who need them, and they have their basic needs met so they can focus on using those tools to stay healthy. The core of our work is helping clients overcome the Social Determinants of Health that keep them from being well. Below are some of the social determinants impacting our clients.
Economic stability undergirds every other social determinant of health and determines the level of access to and level of quality of the services an individual receives.
Stable housing is crucial to health and overall well-being. Unstable housing can lead individuals to vulnerable situations and leaves them at risk for slipping further into poverty.
Lack of transportation coupled with Alabama's poor public transportation infrastructure leaves many individuals unable to reliably attend crucial healthcare appointments and impacts their employment prospects.
The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the ground our kids play on all impact health outcomes. We see this with the astronomical cancer rates in neighborhoods exposed to toxic waste.
Social Inclusion & Non-Discrimination
Racism, discrimination, and stigma impact individuals in healthcare settings as well as general community settings. We know that ending the epidemic will require creating radically inclusive spaces.
Access & Quality
Education impacts health literacy, job opportunities, and so much more. Education quality unfortunately depends greatly on the zip code someone is born into.
Access & Quality
Healthcare access depends greatly on health insurance coverage. While we are able to secure coverage for Alabamians living with HIV, ending the epidemic will require insurance coverage for all - like expanding Medicaid.
Many of our clients live in food deserts without access to fresh, nutritious food options. A nutritious diet is fundamental to good health, and someone who is busy figuring out their next meal has less time and energy to focus on staying well.
Ending new HIV transmissions is possible, but it requires providing relentless wraparound supports to people living with and at-risk for HIV. We are able to leverage a wide variety of funding streams to meet our clients' needs, but as funding narrows and needs increase, we need your help. Please consider chipping in resources (be they time or money) today! If you are limited in your ability to give, please consider helping educate your neighbors about U=U, and helping advocate for public policies that support people living with HIV.