Minnesota health officials unveil 'END HIV' plan

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, particles in purple, cause the disease AIDS. (CDC/ Dr. A. Harrison; Dr. P. Feorino)

Health officials unveiled a new strategy aimed at ending HIV in Minnesota.

Announced Wednesday, END HIV MN is a comprehensive strategy that addresses the social and structural barriers to HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

AIDS was first identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1982. Three decades later, Minnesota sees around 300 new cases every year of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Officials said that, historically, underserved groups such as communities of color, LGBTQ communities and people who use drugs are affected more often by HIV.

END HIV MN was created over several years with input from people living with HIV, communities most affected by HIV, and local experts. According to a release, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Human Services engaged more than 600 people in developing the plan.

The strategy aims to help people living with HIV stay aware of their status and engaged in medical care.

The plan lays out key strategies falling under five broad goals:
•    Prevent new HIV infections.
•    Reduce HIV-related health disparities and promote health equity.
•    Increase retention in care for people living with HIV.
•    Ensure stable housing for people living with or at risk for HIV.
•    Achieve a coordinated statewide response to HIV.

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