During the 2019 State of the Union address, President Trump announced a new federal plan to end the HIV epidemic within the U.S. by 2030. Since then, officials within several federal health agencies have issued announcements, published articles, and given presentations at nearly every major HIV-related science or policy conference discussing the top-line goals of the plan. Those goals largely target 48 counties and seven states that represent half of new HIV diagnoses in the U.S., in hopes that by curbing the epidemic there they can effectively bring transmission to an end nationwide.
This new strategy, which the government calls its "Ending the HIV Epidemic" plan, raises many questions. As a result, in June 2019 TheBody launched Eyes on the End, an ongoing series that highlights and monitors the implementation of the plan.
While we already regularly cover the federal administration's HIV-related policies, Eyes on the End marks a new, long-term commitment by our team to follow the "Ending the HIV Epidemic" plan as it unfolds -- not only during the Trump administration, but long after Trump is no longer in office. We hope to answer important questions, including:
- Is the federal "Ending the HIV Epidemic" plan as bold as its title suggests?
- What will it take to truly end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.?
- How will the money be spent in each county?
- What does the U.S. HIV community -- and the public at large -- need to understand about the areas this plan will target, and about what those areas need to truly defeat HIV?
- What role will implementation research play in local plans?
- How will other federal policies around immigration and border control, repealing the Affordable Care Act, or anti-LGBT policies impact the plan to end the epidemic?
As it grows, Eyes on the End will feature snapshot stories on each of the counties and states that are a part of the federal initiative. We will also interview key stakeholders in those jurisdictions, do deep dives into related topics, and create features exploring under-the-radar stories we learn about along the way. We will continue to report on developments regarding the federal funding, policies, research, and programs that are driving the federal strategy.
Why Cover the "Ending the HIV Epidemic" Plan So Deeply?
A lot is changing in the fields of HIV prevention, treatment, and care. Many of these changes have to do with the infrastructure we have in place, versus the infrastructure we need, for better access to HIV testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV-related health care, and antiretroviral medications. If the "Ending the HIV Epidemic" plan is to be successful, resources at the local level will have to do a better job of increasing the effectiveness of HIV prevention and care systems.
Within the U.S. South in particular, while there have been some increased attention and additional resources, there is still a great need to explore what's happening to people in specific locales with active HIV epidemics, what HIV prevention and treatment programs have been successful, and where there are systemic gaps.
TheBody is committed to telling the stories of the people and places that will be profoundly affected by the "Ending the HIV Epidemic" plan as it unfolds, and collecting them in one place for the benefit of people living with HIV, HIV-affected communities, the HIV workforce, and the wider public.
If you have story leads about the federal plan or how it is being developed in your community, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.