Stop HIV Iowa Focus Areas
Work in the following focus areas is pivotal to ending the transmission of HIV in Iowa.
Primary Prevention & Diagnosing People Living with HIV
HIV is preventable. People continue to acquire it. We must do more to grow awareness of and access to effective HIV prevention strategies.
Meanwhile, 14% of people living with HIV in Iowa are unaware of their status. Diagnosing people living with HIV is key to improving health outcomes for those individuals. It is also an important part of interrupting the chain of HIV transmission in Iowa.
Medical Care & Support Services for People Living with HIV
To stop HIV in Iowa, we must focus on the health and well-being of people living with HIV (PLWH). Starting treatment as soon as possible after being diagnosed, and staying in treatment, is the best way for PLWH to achieve their best health outcomes, including viral suppression. To do this, PLWH need access to high quality medical care and support services.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Acquiring any sexually transmitted infection (STI) increases the likelihood of HIV acquisition. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and complete treatment of people with STIs is very important. This prevents the long-term health consequences of STIs and reduces the risk of acquiring HIV or other STIs.
Given how common STIs other than HIV currently are, we cannot stop HIV in Iowa unless STIs are reduced.
For people living with HIV to achieve their best health outcomes, co-occurring health conditions must be addressed, including viral hepatitis. This includes access to vaccines for hepatitis A and B as well as treatment for chronic hepatitis C.
In Iowa, the workforce serving people living with HIV and working in HIV/HCV prevention faces challenges in recruitment, retention, and capacity building. The strength of this workforce directly impacts the health outcomes of people living with HIV.
People living with HIV and those at risk of acquiring HIV have a higher prevalence of mental health conditions.
The impacts of higher prevalence of mental health conditions are significant.
The goal of health equity is to eliminate barriers and increase access to the resources that promote and protect health for all people. To do this, health equity must address the disparities in health and determinants experienced by excluded or marginalized groups.
Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the places where people are born, live, learn, work, play, and age. They affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.
To stop HIV in Iowa, we must identify and develop strategies to address the structural factors (i.e., the social determinants of health) that contribute to health inequities, including disparities in rates of HIV, STD, and hepatitis.
Stigma and discrimination affect the emotional well-being and mental health of people living with and vulnerable to HIV. Stigma may be internalized (fear, anxiety, depression) or it may felt or experienced as discrimination.