Today is National HIV testing Day. Earlier this year, the President announced a plan to end HIV by 2030, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) subsequently released an ambitious plan to do so. This plan aims to:
- Diagnose all people with HIV as early as possible after infection
- Treat them as soon as possible
- Protect people at risk for HIV
- Detect and rapidly halt outbreaks
- Deploy an HIV Health Force to hard-hit areas of the country
As the single largest provider of HIV care in the U.S., VA has a critical role in this effort. VA provides care to nearly 31,000 Veterans with HIV across its health care system and has a well-established National HIV Program. For all Veterans in care, VA will do its part to end HIV in the US by:
- Offering HIV testing at least once to every Veteran and more frequently to those at risk;
- Rapidly linking those with newly diagnosed HIV to effective treatment;
- Expanding timely access to high-quality HIV care and prevention across VA’s integrated network, using face-to-face encounters and telehealth;
- Offering PrEP, a medication that can prevent HIV, when clinically appropriate
We invite you to watch a video address from Dr. Richard Stone, Executive in Charge, Veterans Health Administration, as he describes VA’s efforts towards this goal.
This National HIV Testing Day is the perfect time to ask your VA provider about HIV testing and HIV prevention. Together, we can work to end HIV in our country.
Visit the HIV website for resources.
Elizabeth Maguire, MSW, is the Communications Lead for the HIV, Hepatitis, and Related Conditions Programs.