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Blue PrEP pillsNew Jersey and the nation have made tremendous gains in controlling both the spread and impact of HIV. For an illness that was once incurable, the prevalence of HIV in the population shows the advances that have been made in helping individuals with HIV live longer. However, incidence rates, while decreasing, remain in the double-digits. Within New Jersey, resources should be directed toward the groups and causes identified in this report such as:

  • Drug/substance abuse assistance in areas where injection rates are high.
  • Expanded resources in Hispanic/Latino communities such as PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is a daily medicine which can be used by those at risk for HIV. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout the body. When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from sex or injection drug use. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.
  • Continued dedication to New Jersey’s top 10 cities, including Asbury Park.

Additionally, the New Jersey HIV/AIDS Planning Group (NJHPG), the state’s primary statewide planning group for the Division of HIV, STD, and TB Services (DHSTS), is responsible for the development of the state’s HIV/AIDS comprehensive services plan. Its recommendations align well with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), with both emphasizing that each newly diagnosed case should have all contextual factors that lead to the infection identified and monitored. This information can lead to the development of strategies and funding that are adapted around emerging evidence. In addition, multiple prevention and care strategies must be used across the state to improve the health and well-being of both HIV-infected and uninfected people. By improving access to care, treatment and adherence services, which address contextual factors through co-located supportive services, the goal of sustaining undetectable viral loads for HIV-positive individuals may not be so out of reach, helping begin the process of ending HIV in New Jersey. Details on strategies and interventions can be found in The Integrated HIV Prevention Care Plan 2017-2021.

HIV is receiving renewed attention at the national level. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed the initiative Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, which seeks to end the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. The initiative was designed to leverage critical scientific advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care by coordinating the efforts of programs contained within, but not limited to, the CDC; the Health Resources and Services Administration; National Institutes of Health; and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These efforts would be focused on the 48 most critical counties in the country, including Essex and Hudson counties, as well as those in several highly impacted states.

By recognizing the continued presence of HIV, and leveraging funding and strategies designed to lessen its spread, the magnitude of HIV could be significantly mitigated over the next decade.