This month, San Antonio became the fourteenth municipality in the U.S. to join the Fast Track Cities initiative – an international agreement to accelerate local response to AIDS.
HIV is an immunodeficiency virus that attacks the body's immune system and, if left untreated, can lead to an advanced stage of the infection referred to as AIDS.
The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids and started a deadly epidemic, which peaked in the 1980s when little was known about the disease, causing fear and stigma in America and abroad.
Although antiretroviral medicine can extend a patient's lifespan, there is no effective cure for HIV yet.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, about 35 million people have died and more than 70 million people have been infected, according to the United Nations – a leading partner in the Fast Track Cities initiative.
The Fast-Track Cities initiative focuses on three goals:
- 90% of people with HIV know their status
- 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are on treatment
- 90% of people on HIV treatment have undetectable viral loads
How could this "90-90-90" program impact San Antonio?
There were 360 new HIV infections in Bexar County last year, according to San Antonio Metro Health. An estimated 6,000 area residents are HIV positive.
Why is there a stigma around HIV? What else does the public need to know about HIV and AIDS?
For more information about local resources, call the San Antonio AIDS Foundation at (210) 225-4715. Contact the national hotline at 1-800-342-AIDS.
- Janeli Saucedo-Castrejana, director of development for the San Antonio AIDS Foundation
- Dr. Barbara Taylor, associate professor of infectious diseases, assistant dean for the MD/MPH Program at UT Health San Antonio, co-chair of the Fast-Track Cities Initiative Convening Meeting for Bexar County/San Antonio.
- Dr. Roberto Villarreal, senior vice president for research and information management at University Health System
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