New initiative in San Antonio set to combat HIV

Most major cities are winning the fight against HIV, but not San Antonio. Instead, health officials said the number of HIV cases here are actually increasing.

SAN ANTONIO - Most major cities are winning the fight against HIV, but not San Antonio. Instead, health officials said the number of HIV cases here are actually increasing. On Wednesday, community leaders announced a plan to stop that trend.

The plan is called Fast-Track Cities. It's an initiative that started in 2014 to have numerous cities combat 90 percent of HIV cases while having zero percent stigma around the issue. San Antonio is going to be the first city in Texas to sign on. The goal is to reach 90-90-90.

"That means 90 percent of people who have HIV will know it, they'll be diagnosed," said Dr. Junda Woo with Metro Health. "Ninety percent who are diagnosed will be in care and 90 percent of people in care will have a suppressed viral load, meaning they will not be infectious anymore."

Metro Health says that those most affected by HIV in San Antonio are under the age of 34. As cases continue to increase, the Fast-Track initiative is centered around increasing the response time to these cases and stopping the spread.

"If we can get people to not be ashamed of their status, if we can get people to not make fun of people for caring, maybe people will talk about it more," said Aamori Olujimi, a 27-year-old transgender woman who says that the biggest issue she and her HIV positive peers face is stigma because it can lead to people not getting tested or refusing to seek treatment. "I try to eliminate the stigma. I talk about getting tested and I practically encourage my family members and friends to get tested. But there needs to be more people talking about the awkward conversations."

On November 30, World AIDS Day, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County will officially join the Fast-Track Cities initiative in hopes of reaching the 90-90-90 goal by 2020.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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