Denver achieved another milestone toward ending HIV/AIDS, but the city still needs to get more people into treatment

Wednesday, Mayor Michael Hancock announced that 90 percent of metro-Denver residents in treatment for HIV/AIDS have their viruses under control.

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Denver has reached a milestone in the fight to eradicate the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

Mayor Michael Hancock announced Wednesday that 90 percent of those in treatment for HIV/AIDS have suppressed viral loads, meaning Denver has met one more requirement from the Paris Declaration, signed by Hancock in August 2015.

The declaration requires participating cities to meet several targets by 2020, in order to “end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”

To meet requirements, 90 percent of the city’s residents that are living with HIV must know their status, 90 percent of those who are HIV positive must receive care, 90 percent of those receiving care must have their virus suppressed and, lastly, there must be no discrimination or stigma against those living with HIV or AIDS.

To date, Denver has ensured that an estimated 90 percent of those with HIV/AIDs know their status and 90 percent of those in treatment have achieved viral suppression. However, the city still hasn’t been able to get 90 percent of those with HIV/AIDS into treatment, which means lots of people are not receiving the medications that would lower their viral load.

So that’s the city’s next focus.

“To achieve this, Denver Public Health will launch a program in 2017 to encourage patients who haven’t been seen in clinic for more than a year to reengage in care,” Dr. Sarah Rowan, director of HIV and Viral Hepatitis Prevention at Denver Public Health, said in a statement.

HIV and AIDS awareness, prevention and treatment efforts are funded by Denver Environmental Health’s Office of HIV Resources. The office dispenses $7.9 million in federal funding to a network of HIV-specific care providers. Of that funding, $2.7 million supports HIV-specific primary care clinics at the Children’s Hospital, Denver Public Health, and the University of Colorado Hospital.

For additional information on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, visit Denver Public Health for HIV testing facilities, information on PrEP and PEP (pre- and post-exposure medications), treatment resources and talking points for ending HIV/AIDS stigma. 

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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