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RIDOH Sets New HIV Targets at World AIDS Day Event

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced ambitious new HIV treatment targets today that are aimed at building healthier communities and expanding opportunity for all HIV-positive Rhode Islanders to live long, full lives.

The treatment targets are a part of the international 90 90 90 campaign. By joining the campaign, Rhode Island is committing to having 90 percent of all HIV-positive Rhode Islanders know they are HIV positive, to having 90 percent of all HIV-positive Rhode Islanders linked to medical care and receiving treatment, and to having 90 percent of all HIV-positive Rhode Islanders with suppressed viral loads, indicating they are controlling their HIV infection. The campaign, which was presented at Rhode Island's World AIDS Day event at the State House, calls for these targets to be met by 2020.

"A thriving Rhode Island depends on people living healthy, productive lives," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "The 90 90 90 campaign is one of many innovative, data-driven approaches that we are taking to build healthier communities and give everyone a chance to make it in Rhode Island."

"90 90 90 is a pivotal new campaign that establishes clear metrics to evaluate our work to get as many people as possible tested for HIV, and to ensure that people who have HIV are seeing their doctors and are taking their medications," said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of Health. "This is particularly important in the communities where we see higher rates of HIV."

The City of Providence has also joined the 90 90 90 campaign and will partner with RIDOH to meet these targets. The Rhode Island-Providence partnership is 90 90 90's first state-city partnership. Other cities that have joined include Atlanta, Miami, and San Francisco.

"It is through relentless effort and dedication we will be able to overcome the great challenge of HIV and AIDS," said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. "I want to thank the Governor, Dr. Alexander-Scott and the Rhode Island HIV Prevention Coalition for their leadership around HIV awareness and commitment to removing the stigma surrounding the disease through education and awareness."

Additional Rhode Island cities and towns are encouraged to join the campaign. Entities formally join the campaign when leadership sign the Paris Declaration, named for the city where 90 90 90 started on World AIDS Day in 2014. All cities and states that join 90 90 90 aim to reach 100 percent for all three measures by 2030.

Currently, of the estimated 2,840 Rhode Islanders who are HIV-positive: 89 percent of people infected with HIV have been diagnosed and know they are HIV-positive, compared to 86% nationally. (The number of undiagnosed Rhode Islanders who are HIV-positive is estimated to be 318, based on projections using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data and local data.) 60 percent of people infected with HIV are getting treatment, compared to 40% nationally. 56 percent of people infected with HIV have suppressed viral loads, compared to 30% nationally. HIV patients with suppressed viral loads are much less likely to transmit infection. To get to 90 percent for all three of these targets, RIDOH will sustain its investment in existing prevention initiatives across the state. These investments include supporting no-cost HIV testing; providing free condoms at targeted venues; expanding resources for adolescents, people of color, and men who have sex with men; and supporting access to a needle-exchange program.

RIDOH will also sustain strong partnerships with community-based organizations to address the social and environmental determinants of health. Community-based organizations support HIV testing, prevention, counseling, and education, and they support access to and linkages to healthcare, housing, drug treatment, and mental health services.

The numbers of new HIV diagnoses in Rhode Island have ranged from 75 to 100 in recent years. The group most impacted by new HIV diagnoses remains men who have sex with men. The rates of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men is estimated to be 90 times higher than the rate for heterosexual men and women, creating one of the greatest health disparities in Rhode Island.

90 90 90 was developed by Fast-Track Cities. The core partners of Fast-Track Cities are the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

More information about the 90 90 90 campaign is available online.

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