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World Health Organization Advocates SF HIV Antiretroviral Treatment

Discussing HIV in Social Development Strategy at King Narai Hospital for the getting to Zero initiative. Photo by: Luc Stevens ‏@LucStevensBKK via Twitter

Discussing HIV in Social Development Strategy at King Narai Hospital for the getting to Zero initiative. Photo by: Luc Stevens ‏@LucStevensBKK via Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO—The World Health Organization announced that they are using San Francisco as a model for how the world should handle the antiretroviral drug treatment process as soon as patients test positive, as opposed to waiting for the decline of the body’s immune system to begin treatment.

In 2010 and 2013, San Francisco endorsed using the method of “test and treat,” which reportedly produced astounding results to lower risk of infection. In 2014, a historically low number of 302 people reported HIV diagnoses in San Francisco, a number which has not been seen in over 20 years. 

As a result, San Francisco city officials have announced a $2 million initiative to support the city’s research efforts and become the first city in the United States to be rid of all HIV/AIDS infections. 

In a campaign that began in a joint effort with the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) last year, according to UNAIDS’ brief, “Getting to Zero” is a global initiative to respond to the HIV/AIDS community and help them with the strategy of effectively combating the disease. 

In the strategy, UNAIDS will plan to revolutionize HIV prevention by “fostering political incentives for commitment and catalyzing transformative social movements regarding sexuality, drug use and HIV education for all” in order to have “ zero new infections.” The program will aim to provide more affordable and effective drug regimens and delivery systems in an effort to get to “zero AIDS-related deaths,” as well as to advance human rights and gender equality for the HIV response to get to “zero discrimination.” 

In a statement from UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, Sidibe stated that “UNAIDS is committed to leveraging existing and novel partnerships with people, communities, governments and country and global champions to support the implementation of this strategy.”

San Francisco has been hailed as one of the best cities for HIV/AIDS treatment programs due to the immediate drug regimen that begins the same day as a positive diagnosis, as well as the persistence with each patient to ensure that they stick with the program.

San Francisco Mayor Edward Lee stated, “We want to have no new infections, we want to have no preventable deaths and we certainly want to have no stigma. We can, in our lifetime, end this epidemic for everyone.”

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