Recap: Stop HIV Iowa Planning Kick-Off

We're making a plan to stop HIV in Iowa.


On January 27, 2022, the Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis launched the Stop HIV Iowa strategic planning process with a state-wide kick-off meeting. Over 170 Iowans took part in the day-long event, including community members living with HIV, healthcare providers, and professionals working in public health and social services. We are so appreciative of everyone who attended—your participation made for a truly wonderful day! We hope that everyone left the event feeling as excited and inspired as we did.


Background


The goal of the Stop HIV Iowa initiative is to make Iowa a place where new HIV diagnoses are rare, every person knows their HIV serostatus, and all people living with HIV have access to high-quality comprehensive health and wellness resources.


The strategic plan is our roadmap to a historic goal: reducing the number of HIV diagnoses in Iowa by 75% by 2025 and 90% by 2030. That means reducing HIV diagnoses from approximately 100 in 2020 to fewer than 10 by 2030—can you imagine?


These benchmarks align with the national Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative, which was launched in 57 jurisdictions in 2019. This national initiative aims to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. by 90% by 2030 by scaling up key HIV prevention and treatment strategies. Our work in Iowa is an important part of this.


The Time is Now

After a welcome by the office of Kelly Garcia, Interim Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, the kick-off event was opened with a plenary presentation by Randy Mayer, the Chief of the Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis.


Mayer welcomed participants by discussing national efforts to eliminate HIV and highlighting successes, opportunities, and challenges in our state. He then introduced the strategic planning framework we will use to develop a plan to stop HIV in Iowa.



In case you missed it, Mayer’s opening plenary presentation is available on the Stop HIV Iowa planning website and well worth a listen! Mayer explains why Stopping HIV in Iowa by 2030 truly is possible!


Nine Focus Areas to End the Epidemic


After Mayer’s presentation, attendees were introduced to the nine focus areas that have been identified as key to stopping HIV in Iowa.


In the planning process, each focus area is being represented by a team of three co-chairs: one from IDPH, one from a local agency, and one from the community. Event participants learned about why each focus area is important, how it will play a role in stopping HIV in Iowa, and how co-chairs hope to engage community members and stakeholders in the planning process.


Afternoon breakout sessions gave participants an opportunity to do a deeper dive and interact with the focus area co-chairs. Each breakout session included an introduction to the focus area, as well as time for questions, discussion, and brainstorming. Thanks to our wonderful participants, we were able to collect many thoughtful suggestions and insights! These are already being used to inform our next steps.


A HUGE thank-you


A heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the kick-off meeting! We are so appreciative for your willingness to share your experiences and feedback. Thank you for your commitment to stopping HIV in Iowa. We can do this!!


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