Thanks to a generous grant from the Ford Foundation and AIDS United, Houston’s HIV leaders have developed a historic ending-the-epidemic plan for Houston/Harris county—the first in Texas—that offers more than 30 recommendations for health care providers and policymakers. The ambitious goal is to decrease new cases of HIV from roughly 1,200 per year to 600, or cut the rate in half, over five years.
This plan outlines five core areas we need to address to achieve this goal. Those include (1) prevention of HIV in the first place, (2) access to care for those living with it, (3) social determinants that impact it, (4) criminal justice reforms to slow it, and (5) public policy and funding to end it. Our approach is intersectional and multidisciplinary, drawing on solutions from the medical, policy, faith-based, criminal justice, and education communities. Relegating responsibility to just health care providers has never been, nor will ever be, effective.
It is the job of stakeholders to decide which solutions are feasible to implement. The END Implementation Group is tasked to coordinate all private and public interest in ending the epidemic. The group will develop benchmarks, metrics, and budgets for successful implementation of this plan through 2021.
This project would not have been possible without the support of Legacy Community Health, Jaron Benjamin and Charles King with Housing Works, and Robert Greenwald, Carmel Shachar, Jamille Fields with the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation We thank the Texas Department of State Health Services, Harris County, and City of Houston for their guidance. This community-driven document was created using countless volunteer hours from these work group members and their respective affiliations.