HIV Prevention in the South: HIV Testing, Treatment, & Prevention

November 24, 2020

HIV Prevention in the South: Improving HIV Testing, Treatment, and Prevention in the Primary Care Setting

This activity was developed by Med-IQ in collaboration with the Southern Medical Association.

In 2019, the United States (US) Department of Health and Human Services proposed the “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” initiative, with the ambitious goal of reducing new HIV infections by 75% in 5 years and by 90% in the coming decade. This plan is based on the substantial body of evidence that suggests that available prevention and treatment strategies, together with enhanced HIV testing efforts, have the potential to radically reduce new HIV transmissions in the US. The first phase of this project focuses on geographic hotspots that are hardest hit by the HIV epidemic; one-half of the 48 counties and all 7 states designated as priority areas are located in the South. Although a high number of people are living with HIV in the South, many primary care providers (PCPs) in this region do not possess robust, up-to-date knowledge about HIV risk assessment, prevention, and treatment in their practice setting. This project aims to increase PCP knowledge about how HIV testing, treatment, and prevention together can reduce new HIV infections, as well as improve the ability of PCPs to implement components of an HIV-prevention framework in the primary care setting.

Primary HIV Prevention

The South bears the burden of the HIV epidemic in the US, with Southern states accounting for 51% of all new HIV diagnoses in 2018. PrEP is an HIV-prevention strategy that can reduce the risk of sexual HIV transmission by up to 99% and has the potential to significantly reduce the rate of HIV acquisition in populations disproportionately affected by HIV.
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ART Initiation and Adherence

Over the last 30 years, ART regimens have shifted from regimens with high pill burdens, treatment-limiting toxicities, and incomplete virologic suppression to simplified regimens that lessen pill burden, reduce toxicity, and maximize viral suppression.
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HIV Testing Basics

HIV screening and testing in primary care has the potential to significantly reduce new HIV infections by allowing clinicians to identify individuals with HIV early in their infection course and provide them with the appropriate care. These actions can improve health outcomes and reduce the risk of transmission to HIV-negative individuals.
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