San Francisco leaders detail plan to cut HIV infections to zero

Published: November 27, 2014

Matthew S. Bajko
Original Article:

San Francisco leaders have mapped out an aggressive plan to cut new HIV infections by 90 percent come 2020.

The ultimate goal is to get to no new HIV infections, though backers of the plan have yet to commit to a target date for meeting it.

"Our hope is this is a plan that really makes San Francisco the first city in the nation, and essentially the world, to really virtually drive the epidemic out of existence," said Project Inform Executive Director Dana Van Gorder. "This is something I hope everyone will want to embrace and participant in."

For the last year a group of 25 leaders, representing the public health department, city hall, community groups, private health care providers, and UCSF officials, have been meeting regularly to devise a multi-pronged strategy to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the city. Their work has led to the creation of a plan dubbed "Getting to Zero: Zero HIV Infections, Zero AIDS Deaths, and Zero Stigma."

Three of the key components are rapid enrollment in treatment for those who test positive for the virus; retention of people once they are in care; and ensuring those who are HIV-negative and at risk for HIV have access to pre-exposure prophylaxis. Known as PrEP, the once-a-day pill marketed by Gilead Sciences as Truvada (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) has been shown to prevent HIV transmission when taken properly.

"We can make gains as a municipality we have never been able to do before. We can be the first municipal jurisdiction to achieve our vision of getting to zero," said Dr. Diane Havlir, chief of the UCSF Division of HIV/AIDS at San Francisco General Hospital.

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