A metro Atlanta county will be one of three pilot sites nationwide to run a federal program aimed at preventing the spread of HIV, health officials said Thursday.
In 2017, Georgia had the second highest rate in the nation of new diagnoses of HIV, and more than 58,700 people are currently living with HIV in the state.
Now, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is giving $1.5 million to DeKalb County to fight HIV spread. It’s part of a Trump Administration initiative to cut transmission of the disease by 75% in the next 5 years and by 90% in the next 10 years.
President Donald Trump launched a campaign to end the U.S. HIV epidemic by 2030, but new data suggests has already stalled. Health officials said that after declining for several years, the estimated number of new HIV infections held about steady from 2013 to 2016.
Gov. Brian Kemp said in a news release that he shares "the president's vision to remove barriers to treatment, reduce the stigma associated with seeking medical intervention, and expand services for rapid detection and response."
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There are on average about 40,000 new HIV diagnoses each year, which has remained stable since 2012, the CDC said.
Starting this July, the Department of Public Health will work with county health officials to expand HIV testing and provide care to those who are HIV-positive. The funding will also be used to promote the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) — a pill taken daily to block HIV — by Georgians at high risk of infection.
“Additionally, these life-saving efforts will guide our work throughout the state — particularly in rural areas — to ultimately end the HIV epidemic in Georgia,” DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey said.
The pilot will go through the end of the year.