Ending the HIV epidemic in Illinois is possible!
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Illinois Department of Public Health HIV Section Chief Eduardo Alvarado joined public health and community leaders to announce support for the Getting to Zero framework to end HIV and AIDS in Illinois.
Alvarado was joined by Chicago Department of Public Health's David Kern, Deputy Commissioner HIV/STI Bureau, and Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D.; John Peller, President/CEO, AIDS Foundation of Chicago; Erik Glenn, Executive Director, Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus; and Elijah McKinnon, model and advocate, PrEP4Love.
The Getting to Zero framework began developing just over a year ago as a group of people living with HIV, advocates, service providers and government officials started meeting to explore a plan to dramatically affect the course of the HIV epidemic in Illinois. After a year of analysis, planning, gathering community input and engaging key stakeholders, this task force released the Getting to Zero (GTZ) Framework, which shows that eliminating HIV in Illinois is possible.
Today, as the framework document notes, we have an unprecedented opportunity to impact the HIV epidemic. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 12,000 more Illinoisans with HIV have gained health insurance coverage. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily HIV prevention pill that’s up to 99% effective when taken consistently and correctly. And most importantly, people with HIV can thrive, thanks to anti-retroviral medications.
We have what it takes to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois and Get to Zero. But what does “getting to zero” mean for Illinois?
- Zero new HIV infections
- Zero people living with HIV who are not on treatment
With health care access expanded under the Affordable Care Act, powerful treatments that make it so people living with HIV cannot transmit the virus to others, and the HIV prevention pill PrEP, we can get to zero in our state.
Now that the guiding framework has been formulated, community feedback sessions will help develop the plan to functionalize the Getting to Zero framework.
To learn more about Getting to Zero, read the framework, our one-page summary, and an analysis of feedback received from the community so far. Please provide feedback, questions and comments to the GTZ coordinator Sara Semelka at email@example.com.