Feds want to reduce new HIV diagnoses with data, tools

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The Trump Administration intends to reduce new HIV diagnoses in the United States by 75 percent in five years and by 90 percent in the next 10 years with new data and tools.

“With these powerful data and tools, the Administration sees a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end the epidemic,” according to the federal government’s plan for the 10-year initiative.

According to the Administration, data indicates that most new infections occur in a limited number of counties and among specific populations. Their plan is to target high rates of new HIV cases, which are concentrated in certain U.S. geographic areas.

“For the first five years (Phase I), the initiative will focus on a rapid infusion of new resources, expertise and technology into those parts of the country now most impacted by HIV,” states the plan.

Specifically, federal agencies want to focus on 48 counties, Washington, D.C., as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico. In addition, seven states have a disproportionate occurrence of HIV in rural areas.

“With existing, powerful HIV treatment and prevention tools, we can end the epidemic in the United States,” says Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The new initiative is a practical, achievable implementation plan. By working directly with health departments and other community organizations, researchers can find the best ways to use the highly effective methods at our disposal to diagnose, prevent and treat HIV in the United States.”

Towards that end, the National Institutes of Health last week announced that it awarded $11.3 million to 23 institutions nationwide to collaborate with community partners to develop locally relevant plans for diagnosing, treating and preventing HIV in areas with high rates of new HIV cases.

NIH’s one-year awards will support pilot and formative studies in anticipation of more extensive implementation of science research proposals slated for 2020.

In the meantime, Congress must still appropriate funding for the Trump administration’s 10-year initiative, which is planned to start in Fiscal Year 2020. The Administration has requested $291 million in the FY20 Department of Health and Human Services budget to begin the effort focused on ending the HIV epidemic in America by 2030.

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