Last year during the St. Louis World AIDS Day observance, St. Louis became a Fast -Track City and established goals for working through alliances with regional and global partners to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. The goals included ensuring 90% of those living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status access treatment, and 90 % of people on treatment achieve viral suppression. During this year’s observance, government, health, HIV service and public health representatives will rededicate St. Louis to supporting individuals living with HIV, and to commemorating those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
“As our region continues to work together to reduce the spread of HIV it’s important that we take time to review our goals and renew our commitment to leverage regional resources and reduce stigma associated with HIV and AIDS,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson. “As of December 31, 2018, there were 3,430 City of St. Louis residents living with a known diagnosis of HIV disease.” Stigma continues to me a major barrier preventing persons from accessing testing and treatment.”
“In order to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it is critical that we remove the stigma associated with sexual and reproductive health and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), so individuals are comfortable getting tested to learn their status,” says Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis. “Getting tested is the only way to know your status and become equipped with information to protect your health and the health of your partner(s).” The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care, and more often if you engage in risky behaviors such has sharing needles, having sex without condoms and having more than one sexual partner.
There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that of those 1.2 million individuals nearly one in eight (more than 161,000 people) do not know they are infected.
The St. Louis 2020 World AIDS Day Fast-Track Cities St. Louis Observance will include a virtual HIV and AIDS educational webinar featuring various speakers, including Fast-Track Cities St. Louis Co-Chairs Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, Ms. Franda Thomas, Mayor Lyda Krewson, Dr. Fredrick Echols, Dr. Cory Bradley, and representatives from the St. Louis Regional HIV Planning Council, Williams & Associates, Vivent Health, and other organizations.
Learn more about HIV and AIDS in the St. Louis region by attending the webinar. Register on Eventbrite at https://ftc_stl_dec_2020.eventbrite.com
About Fast-Track Cities:
Fast-Track Cities is a global partnership between almost 300 cities and municipalities, the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHabitat), and the City of Paris that are collaborating to reach zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero HIV-related stigma/discrimination. The initiative was launched on World AIDS Day 2014 in Paris. For more information please visit: https://www.iapac.org/fasttrack-cities/about-fast-track/
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