Inspired by bounce music—the high-energy hip-hop style that originated in New Orleans—the Southern city known as NOLA launched the HIV campaign “Bounce to Zero,” which aims to “reduce new HIV cases by 95% by 2030 and create a world with zero new HIV infections and zero people out of care.”
The campaign, which is headquartered on BounceToZero.com, includes Queen of Bounce Big Freedia and urges folks to #NOLAYourStatus (a play on “know your status”) and to take a pledge to stop HIV stigma.
“We hope this campaign will get the word out to Black residents all across the region and help them feel more comfortable with HIV testing and treatment as needed,” Jennifer Avegno, MD, director of the New Orleans Health Department and an official at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, told Louisiana Weekly, adding that African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV and its stigma.
“There has been much progress in HIV diagnosis and treatment over the past several decades so that now individuals who are in care can live long, healthy lives,” Avegno says. “However, stigma around the disease persists and is a killer—by being afraid to know your status or seek treatment, individuals can present later in the course of the illness and suffer tremendously.”
“Bounce to Zero” launched in conjunction with events such as a wreath-laying ceremony marking World AIDS Day (WAD), held each December 1 (see here for more WAD events), and is part of the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative, which aims to reduce new HIV cases in the country by 75% by 2025 and by 90% by 2030.
Launched in 2019 by President Donald Trump, the EHE initiative invests federal funding and resources in 57 key jurisdictions. These are the 48 counties nationwide plus Washington, DC; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and seven rural states with high HIV burdens (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina) that to-gether account for 50% of new HIV cases.
New Orleans, with its high HIV rates, received federal EHE funding. As Louisiana Weekly reports, 8,642 people are known to be living with HIV in the city, which amounts to 38% of the total number of cases in Louisiana. Nationwide, about 1.2 million people have HIV.
“Bounce to Zero” promotes HIV testing, education, prevention, access to care and awareness of Undetectable Equals Untransmittable, or U=U, which refers to the fact that people living with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load do not transmit the virus sexually.