The Houston area has the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Texas, a reality with incalculable public health and social consequences. Although we have the medical and scientific know-how to end the epidemic, we must do more to fight the social factors that perpetuate the disease. In late 2016, Legacy Community Health, Texas’ largest community health system, launched END HIV Houston (END) — an aggressive and strategic campaign to end the HIV epidemic. The “Roadmap to Ending the HIV Epidemic in Houston” is our plan to stop the spread of HIV. Join us for the beginning of the end of HIV.
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END HIV Houston is Houston’s strategic, collaborative campaign to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Houston/Harris County. 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.