advocate

National Advocacy

AIDS-FREE USA 2025 CAMPAIGN

Housing Works’ national advocacy office in Washington, DC, in partnership with the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, amFAR, Southern AIDS Coalition, and Treatment Action Group, has initiated a community-driven national campaign to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States by 2025.

With recent advancements in science, data, and health-care access, we can end AIDS if we have the resolve, even without a cure—by dramatically reducing the number of new HIV infections and by bringing those living with HIV/AIDS to optimal health. An HIV+ person on treatment that renders the virus “undetectable” is not only healthy but also virtually unable to transmit HIV to others. By combining effective biomedical strategies with interventions addressing social drivers of the disease, we can bring HIV below epidemic levels nationally.

A Framework for ending AIDS in the U.S. by 2025

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and Medicaid expansion in some states across the nation offer unprecedented momentum and offer a solid framework for realizing the end of AIDS. Housing Works’ national staff and partners facilitate broad collaborative efforts among state-based partners and coalitions (HIV-specific and beyond) to promote and advocate for meaningful implementation of ACA, Medicaid expansion (especially in states where incidence and prevalence remain high), and other systemic change necessary to end the AIDS epidemic—addressing viral suppression, incidence, disparities/inequities, and stigma. National staff also advocates for federal-level actions that encourage and support state-based planning and implementation.

THE STATE OF OUR NATION

Despite the tremendous progress in HIV prevention and treatment over the past two decades, much work remains to be done. According to the CDC, the annual number of new HIV infections in the United States has remained fairly static for decades, with about 50,000 people becoming newly infected each year.

The Care Continuum (Treatment Cascade) & Trends in New HIV Infections in the U.S.

U.S. treatment cascade 2010 red ribbon HW style
3charts u.s. hiv natl page stats one columnThe Care Continuum (shown above), also called the treatment cascade, is a visual model being used to identify challenges in HIV care and improve the delivery of services to persons living with HIV across the entire range of care—from diagnosis of HIV infection and active linkage in care to initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART), retention in care, and eventual viral suppression (meaning no detectable HIV virus in the blood). The creation of the Care Continuum has already helped advocates advance calls for evidence-based policies. Cities such as Washington, DC, and San Francisco are also showing significant declines in HIV incidence, offering baseline data around best practices to consider for replication in other areas.

One of the primary challenges highlighted by the Care Continuum is that of the 1.1 million people in the U.S. living with HIV/AIDS, only about 25% have undetectable HIV viral loads (also called “viral suppression”), meaning that they are getting the full benefits of the treatment they need to keep the virus under control, stay healthy, and prevent transmitting the virus to others.

NATIONAL CAMPAIGN GOALS: OUR STRATEGY

By “ending AIDS,” we mean achieving the following goals in all key populations and jurisdictions:

  • increasing viral suppression to 80% (percentage suggested by recent modeling)
  • decreasing incidence to < 0.5% (the global public health standard for infectious diseases)
  • ending the disparities in incidence and prevalence
  • ending stigma.

National campaign objectives will include identifying key states and jurisdictions that are poised to become leaders in ending the AIDS epidemic, creating state-by-state assessments, using those assessments to develop core principles and state-specific advocacy tools to implement a plan to end AIDS, to promote for meaningful implementation of ACA and other core components necessary to end the AIDS epidemic, and to use the state assessments to advocate for federal actions that support state-based end-AIDS plans and implementation.

NATIONAL POLICY PRIORITIES & PARTNERSHIPS

Housing Works’ national staff also cover a range of policy priorities affecting people living with HIV/AIDS and, in collaboration with the National AIDS Housing Coalition, the national advocacy team also advocates for housing as an essential tool in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Housing Works also serves as the advisor and fiscal agent for a national grassroots network of people living with HIV and their allies, the Campaign to End AIDS, which has chapters in 25 states.

Lastly, we serve as the fiscal agent for Intercambios Puerto Rico, a community-based organization in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
hiv 2010 hetero by gender and race U.S.WIDER 575

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