The City of Love Could Lead the Way Toward Ending HIV Transmission

Published: October 28, 2014

The Huffington Post
Original Article:

As we enter our fourth decade without a cure for HIV, public interest in ending new infections has seemed to wane. Now’s not the time to stop talking about AIDS. With important new treatment and prevention tools in our arsenal, San Francisco — known as the City of Love — could be the first U.S. city to end HIV transmission.

The world looks to San Francisco for leadership in HIV control with good reason. Driven by love and the desire to connect, grassroots movements among gay men made great strides in promoting a sex-positive culture that embraced condoms in the 1980s and adapted sexual practices to HIV status in the 1990s. The first HIV specialty clinic was established here in 1982, just after the first cases of AIDS cases were reported. Since that time, we have stayed at the cutting edge of HIV diagnoses, treatment, and prevention. We established routine HIV testing with the use of ultra-sensitive tests as standard practice, and we have one of the best HIV diagnoses rates in the world. It’s estimated that as many as 94 percent of people living with HIV here are aware of their status, with a great percentage of those on suppressive treatment. With linkage to effective treatment, there has not been a case of perinatal transmission in more than 10 years.

We need to do more. After many years of decline, the estimated rate of new infections did not change between 2010 and 2012 in San Francisco. More than one new HIV infection happens every day here.

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