Unlike HIV rates in most of the country, those of Bexar County, Texas—home of San Antonio—have been increasing. To combat this trend, the city is launching a Fast-Track Cities initiative, reports Texas Public Radio.
Specifically, the global initiative adopts a 90-90-90 plan: getting 90 percent of people living with HIV to know their status, getting 90 percent of that group in care and on medication and then getting 90 percent of that group to reach an undetectable viral load.
Multiple studies show that people with HIV who maintain an undetectable level have “effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Bexar County, new HIV infections rose 12 percent between 2014 and 2015.
San Antonio Metropolitan Health District director Colleen Bridger says that part of the initiative involves working with area doctors to make HIV screenings more common, especially when patients show up with symptoms of acute HIV infection that are mistaken for flu-like symptoms.
“We do see the majority of our HIV cases among [men] who have sex with men—especially younger men who have sex with men—ages 20 to 24,” Bridger adds. “But the bottom line is that anybody who has a sexual relationship with somebody needs to get an HIV test.”
To read about other cities that have joined the Fast-Track initiative, click here and here. And to learn why San Antonio is a “hot spot” for the virus, read “Clusters of HIV Transmissions Crop Up Among Young Gay Latinos.”