The federal government launched the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in 2010, under the leadership of President Obama. Referred to as the HIV Plan, it covers five years and offers goals and guidelines for the country’s HIV response. The original was updated in 2015. As 2020 comes to a close, it is time, once again, to assess U.S. efforts in the fight against the epidemic and upgrade the national HIV Plan to cover 2021 to 2015.
To that end, a draft of the updated HIV Plan has been published. Titled HIV National Strategic Plan for the United States: Roadmap to End the HIV Epidemic 2021–2015, it’s available to read and download on HIV.gov. The government is welcoming feedback until December 14. For details on how to submit feedback electronically, visit federalregister.gov.
The 87-page draft HIV Plan adopts the HIV targets set forth in President Trump’s initiative launched in 2018: Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. In short, the HIV Plan aims to lower nationwide HIV rates by 75% by 2025 and by 90% by 2030. (For more details, read “Plans to End the HIV Epidemic at Home and Abroad”).
The draft HIV Plan spells out its vision statement as such:
The United States will be a place where new HIV infections are prevented, every person knows their status, and every person with HIV has high-quality care and treatment and lives free from stigma and discrimination.
This vision includes all people, regardless of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, geographic location, or socioeconomic circumstance.
To accomplish this vision, the draft plan lists four overarching goals:
- Goal 1: Prevent new HIV Infections
- Goal 2: Improve HIV-related health outcomes of people with HIV
- Goal 3: Reduce HIV-related disparities and health inequities
- Goal 4: Achieve integrated, coordinated efforts that address the HIV epidemic among all partners and stakeholders.
Each of the goals includes specific objectives and strategies, updated with knowledge gained from previous HIV plans. The draft also offers targets to track progress and spot disparities. Along the way, the HIV Plan provides an overview of HIV in the United States today, highlighting key focus populations and areas and listing the federal and nonfederal partners to implement the strategies.
At least one advocacy group praised the draft plan. “I am very pleased that the draft HIV National Strategic Plan includes more ambitious targets and indicators than ever before,” said Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, in a press release. “It is also reassuring to see an emphasis on the integration of efforts related to the syndemics of viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, substance use, and mental health along with a focus on stigma and discrimination and the social determinants of health.”
Schmid continued: “In order to fully implement the national plan and achieve its goals, we must have a government that prioritizes HIV and a Congress that fully funds HIV and related programs, including the second year of the [Ending the HIV Epidemic] initiative, which is currently pending before the Congress.”