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Monday, March 25, 2019

Cuyahoga County Among Targeted Areas for Trump's Vague National HIV-Prevention Plan

Posted By on Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 2:49 PM

  • Photo via Wikimedia Commons
President Donald Trump's recently unveiled plan to end the HIV epidemic targets 48 counties nationally, including Cuyahoga County, Franklin County, and Hamilton County.

The initiative, which will be run by the Department of Health and Human Services, is a decade-long plan that aims to lower the HIV transmission rate by 75 percent over the first five years, and 90 percent by 10 years, targeting seven states, Washington, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The HHS's four-pronged pathway to the goal consists of "diagnose, treat, protect, and respond," all of which will be aided by a HIV Healthforce. No information has yet been released about how much money or how many Healthforce workers will be sent to Cuyahoga County.

The plan does not include strategies for how to implement these changes, other than "rapidly" and "effectively" and "as early as possible" (specifics about the timeline also have yet to be announced).

In Cuyahoga County, the rate of new infections has been decreasing annually, according to the Ohio Department of Health. However, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the proportional number of cases in the county is still far higher than surrounding counties, including Lake, Lorain and Ashtabula.

The Plain Dealer reports that there are currently 23,587 cases in the state of Ohio, and the overall state rate of new infections is increasing annually. Plus Ohio has a relatively high rate compared to other Midwestern states.

Julie Patterson, director of the AIDS Funding Collaborative in Cuyahoga County, told the Plain Dealer that it is imperative the plan target the three most at-risk groups: African-Americans, gay men and young people. Although Trump's administration has been criticized for its stance on race relations and LGBTQ+ protections.

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