How did you all come together?
Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg supported a 15 month convening process so that we could collaborate on how we can best solve the HIV/AIDS problem in Pinellas County. After working together for the past 15 months we submitted a proposal for a three year grant project to implement the 90/90/90/50 cascade model.
Who are the participating organizations?
EPIC, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, BayCare, Metro Wellness and Community Centers, The AIDS Institute, Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, and Empath Health.
What do you hope to accomplish?
We hope to reduce new infections by 50% at the end of three years. Provided that we are successful at implementing the 90/90/90/50 cascade model over several years we believe that we can achieve our goal of zero new infections in Pinellas County, hence our name “Zero Pinellas”.
What is the 90/90/90/50 cascade model exactly?
It’s a measurable, data-driven plan and ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic. This goal was set forth by UNAIDS and is recognized both nationally and internationally as an important strategy to address the HIV epidemic by improving the lives of people living with the virus and significantly reducing new infection.
What other areas have implemented this 90/90/90/50 model?
Many cities across the country are implementing this model, including Washington, DC., San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, Miami, Seattle & King County, Denver, and San Antonio & Bexar County.
What do the 90/90/90/50 numbers represent?
90% of HIV- positive residents know their status, 90% of residents diagnosed with HIV are in treatment, 90% of residents living with HIV who are in treatment reach viral load suppression, and there is a 50% reduction in new HIV infections.
What are those rates in Pinellas County currently?
As of December 2016, just before we started convening, 85% of HIV-positive residents knew their status per the CDC’s estimates, 158 residents had been diagnosed but never received treatment, those who ever received care but aren’t virally suppressed were 1,569.
How many people in Pinellas County are currently infected?
Our estimates in 2016 were that 4,594 people were living with HIV or AIDS.
How can people prevent getting the infection?
There are many ways to reduce ones risk of contracting HIV, including using condoms and other safe-sex practices, taking Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), not sharing needles, and regularly getting tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Free testing is available! Additionally, PrEP medical care is available and affordable.
What is PrEP?
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and is a daily medication (Truvada) that can lower your chances of becoming infected with HIV if you were to be exposed to the virus.. When taken daily as prescribed, PrEP reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 92%. PrEP is appropriate for those who are at risk of contracting HIV and must be prescribed and managed by a physician. PrEP medical care is available and affordable.
What does it mean to be virally suppressed?
When HIV infection is untreated, the viral load is very high. Starting antiretroviral treatment stops HIV from multiplying, suppressing viral load. Over time, viral load drops so low that it is undetectable, although HIV still hides in viral reservoirs. When a person stays on treatment and maintains an undetectable viral load for at least six months, they are considered to have a durably undetectable viral load. When one has a durably undetectable viral load, there is effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to one’s sexual partner.