Dear Colleague: February 2, 2021
February 2, 2021
I am pleased to share with you a new resource published this week by CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP). HIV Prevention in the United States: Mobilizing to End the Epidemic provides a snapshot of the state of the HIV epidemic in the United States and highlights CDC’s key efforts to reduce new HIV infections. It includes important information on the latest data trends, challenges for the field, and CDC’s HIV prevention priorities and programs. This resource also incorporates information about the federal initiative, Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE), which aims to reduce new HIV infections in the United States by 90 percent by 2030.
Today, we have an unprecedented opportunity to end America’s HIV epidemic. With the annual number of new HIV infections at an all-time low, powerful treatment and prevention tools could eliminate further transmission if these tools were available to all who need them. CDC’s HIV prevention programs have long served as a cornerstone in the national HIV response and are conducted in partnership with state and local health departments, community-based organizations (CBOs), and other partner organizations. These programs have built a strong national infrastructure to swiftly deliver HIV prevention advances to communities across the nation. Yet progress has slowed in the face of new and continuing threats, including the nation’s opioid crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and enduring gaps in access to healthcare.
Now is the time for bolder, more collaborative action.
As the nation’s lead HIV prevention agency, CDC is working with partners to achieve dramatic new declines in HIV infections. In part with new resources made available by Congress, CDC is bolstering its most successful HIV prevention programs with new and innovative activities through the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. Through the EHE initiative, CDC and other federal agencies will provide a targeted infusion of new resources, technology, and expertise to expand HIV prevention and treatment activities.
While an effective national strategy and federal resources are central to ending the epidemic, HIV prevention ultimately happens at the community level. Success will require continued commitment by state and local governments, health officials, community organizations, healthcare providers, and people with HIV and others who could benefit from HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. It is my hope that the challenges we face as a nation will compel us as a community to work even harder to confront barriers to healthcare and ensure that quality HIV prevention and care services are available and accessible to all Americans, in every part of the country, regardless of race, income, sexuality, or gender identity.
In my new position as Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC, I look forward to building upon our shared achievements and to working with established and new partners to achieve our EHE goals. By centering health equity in a status neutral approach to care that optimizes the health of people with HIV and closes the gaps in HIV prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment in all parts of the United States, together, we can end this epidemic.
Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention