Many community leaders across the United States are calling for an end to the HIV epidemic in their cities, their counties, and their states through the development of Ending the Epidemic (EtE/EHE) plans. We now have the tools to effectively do just that — from PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) which allows people to remain HIV-negative and much improved medications that allow people living with HIV to enjoy the same life expectancy as people without, to proof that Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U) allows people living with HIV to prevent the transmission of HIV to intimate partners. We are in a position to create and carry out ambitious and bold plans to improve health outcomes for all people living with and vulnerable to HIV, reducing its impact and bringing new infections below epidemic levels.
We see this as an opportunity to do something different! We want to step out of the box to create something truly bold and innovative. We want to start talking more about HIV, STIs, hep C, and sexual health. We want to break down the stigma and misconceptions that surround HIV, hep C and STIs. We want to lift up the voices of those who are living with HIV and those who are impacted — and make sure they are the ones leading the way forward.
After a two-year community-driven planning process, we released our Statewide Ending the Epidemic Plan, Get Loud Louisiana, in December 2020. Since then, we have been working together to implement the plan, and make our dream of a state free of HIV-related stigma, with reduced transmission of HIV and greater well-being for people impacted by HIV, a reality.