Have you heard about the national initiative to end HIV in the United States?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is leading this work and, as the largest single provider of HIV care in the U.S., VA has a critical role in this effort. The initiative coordinates programs, resources and infrastructure based on critical scientific advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.
Word AIDS Day
Sunday is World AIDS Day. We honor the day by drawing attention to the communities that are highly affected by the HIV epidemic. The focus is an effort to increase testing, treatment and prevention. In these areas, VA facilities are ready to assist Veterans who use VA for their health care.
If you live in one of these highlighted communities, talk to your VA provider about HIV testing at your next appointment.
Map from HIV.gov.
The map shows the 48 counties, plus Washington, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, where greater than 50% of HIV diagnoses occurred in 2016 and 2017. It also shows seven states with a substantial number of HIV diagnoses in rural areas. For a full listing of counties, click here.
If your test is negative but you may be at risk for HIV, talk to your provider about HIV prevention. Your options may include Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a medication that can prevent HIV and is available to Veterans who use VA.
You can also receive condoms at no cost by asking your provider for a prescription.
If your test is positive, we want to make sure you get care right away. Taking HIV medications as prescribed will help suppress the virus, which keeps you healthy and stops you from transmitting the virus to someone else.
Together, we can prevent HIV in our communities and help end the HIV epidemic. Learn more: https://www.hiv.va.gov/ending-hiv.asp.
Elizabeth Maguire is VA’s communications lead for the HIV, Hepatitis and Related Conditions Programs.