Last week, Arizona had the honor of hosting Dr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to discuss his initiative to End the HIV Epidemic. During his time in Arizona, Dr. Redfield was able to learn about the efforts of many innovative organizations in Arizona serving people living with HIV/AIDS and discuss the ways the activities in Arizona align with national strategies to end the HIV epidemic.
Dr. Redfield’s visit highlighted the importance of the work occurring in Arizona to achieve victory over HIV. While 828 Arizonans were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2018, the resources and efforts to ensure the availability of testing, access to timely treatment, and awareness of prevention options continue to grow. Just this month, ADHS awarded contracts to increase the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of community-based clinical and non-clinical HIV testing. When individuals with HIV know their status and quickly start treatment, levels of HIV in their bodies can drop low enough that the virus can’t be transmitted to other people.
In addition, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is now more readily available and will soon be accessible to people at-risk for HIV who are insured by AHCCCS. This HIV prevention method allows people without HIV to take a daily pill to dramatically reduce the risk of getting HIV.
We are so appreciative of the time Dr. Redfield spent with our public health teams and are excited to partner with CDC and other federal organizations to achieve victory over HIV here in Arizona!