On Wednesday, December 1, the City of St. Louis Department of Health recognizes World AIDS Day, an opportunity to reflect on the worldwide response to the HIV epidemic and celebrate the advances that have improved the lives of those living with HIV. From 1981 until today, the fight to lessen the impact and ultimately end the HIV epidemic has been unwavering. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the world has had to disrupt traditional methods of delivering care to people living with HIV.
This year’s World AIDS Day theme, Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice, expresses the United States’ commitment to ending the HIV epidemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative (EHE) in 2019, aiming to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. by 90% by 2030. In addition to scaling up key HIV prevention and treatment strategies, the initiative encourages innovation.
“The Department of Health’s team continues to innovate by finding ways to reach city residents through multiple methods,” says Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, director of Health for the City of St. Louis. “Staff members have worked with barber and beauty shops to help educate clients on HIV prevention, held small group discussions virtually during the pandemic, and supported our community partners with training and supplies.”
As part of the EHE initiative, the City of St. Louis Department of Health is excited to launch the Take Me Home program in partnership with the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC). This program will be available across the St. Louis Transitional Grant Area (TGA). Starting on World AIDS Day (December 1), anyone 18 and older can order an at-home HIV test kit at no cost. The test kit will be shipped directly to participants with clear instructions, in English and Spanish, along with resources to guide individuals to supportive services no matter their results. Order your test kit today by going to https://takemehome.org/.
“I encourage everyone to get tested and to know their HIV status,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “Reaching our Fast-Track Cities St. Louis goals will take all of us working together, across our differences, to make sure no community is left behind as we combine our efforts to stop this pandemic.”
“Advancements in HIV have made it so that with equitable access, communities can struggle less with dying of HIV infection,” says Dr. Cory Bradley, who serves as an acting co-chair of the Fast-Track Cities St. Louis initiative, which launched in the St. Louis region on World AIDS Day in 2019. “There are many more options for prevention and treatment.”
In addition to the exciting news about the “Take Me Home” program, here are other ways you can commemorate and learn more about World AIDS Day.
- Williams and Associates, 3737 N. Kingshighway, Suite 206 – December 1 from 2pm to 7pm
- A World AIDS Day Open House, HIV testing and education will be available. Refreshments and giveaways will be provided to those that attend the event.
- Day With[out] Art at the Contemporary Art Museum, 3750 Washington – December 1 from 5:30pm to 8pm
- Video screening commissioned by Visual AIDS with a panel discussion featuring voices from our community on the power of community care through art, activism, and culture.
- Sneaker Ball & Trivial Night at The Legacy, 5249 Delmar – December 1 from 6pm to 9pm
- A night of trivia, refreshment, entertainment, and sneakers!
- Fast-Track Cities St. Louis Second Anniversary Celebration: “That’s What Friends Are For” (Virtual Event) – December 1 at 12pm
- Streamed via Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85840221930) and on the STL-TV's YouTube channel (youtube.com/c/SAINTLOUISTV), this virtual celebration reaffirms the commitment by the City of St. Louis Department of Health and the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health to Ending the AIDS Epidemic.
Kim Vanden Berg
Public Information Officer
Office Phone: (314) 657-1483
Mobile Phone: (314) 659-7742
Department of Health
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