Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that new HIV diagnoses in Chicago hit a new record low after 15 years of declines. CDPH’s 2017 HIV/STI Surveillance Report, released today, shows that only 839 residents were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2016, down from 1,850 in 2001. The report also shows that 80 percent of people newly diagnosed with HIV are linked to medical care within one month of diagnosis which is ahead of national rates, and puts Chicago on track to meeting the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goal of 85 percent by 2020.
Earlier this year, Mayor Emanuel launched Getting to Zero, a citywide initiative to effectively eliminate all new diagnoses of HIV in Chicago by 2027.
“Through its Getting to Zero campaign, Chicago has set concrete goals to end the HIV epidemic in the next decade and improve the quality of life for all residents,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These record low numbers push us one step closer toward our goal of building an HIV-free generation in Chicago.”
The continued progress in HIV prevention can be attributed in part to - CDPH’s investing in programs that promote and increase access to the latest medical treatments for HIV prevention and care, as well as campaigns to reduce the stigma around HIV.
While Chicago has seen declines across all ethnic groups over the past several years, African American men between 20-29 years of age continue to face disproportionately high rates of infection. As such, CDPH and its partners will continue to focus resources specifically toward closing this disparity.
“Getting to functional zero is achievable within our lifetime,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “This report shows that even though we are making progress across the city, younger African American gay and bisexual men are still more likely to be diagnosed with HIV. That is why we are working to ensure that we’re identifying and reaching vulnerable populations; so that all communities have access to health care and medications that prevent and treat HIV.”
Today also marks World AIDS Day and the record numbers were released as Mayor Emanuel signed on to the international Fast-Track Cities initiative which engages mayors and other key stakeholders to accelerate their city’s local AIDS responses. Chicago joins other global cities in this initiative including Paris, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Mumbai, Bangkok, New York City and San Francisco among many others.
“IAPAC, UNAIDS, UN-Habitat, and the City of Paris – the four core partners of the Fast-Track Cities initiative – welcome Chicago as the 15th city in the United States to join the global network of cities that are committed to accelerating their local AIDS responses to attain the United Nation’s 90-90-90 targets by 2020,” said Dr. José M. Zuniga, President/CEO of IAPAC and UNAIDS Special Advisor on Fast-Track Cities. “Congratulations to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and all Chicago stakeholders, notably affected communities, for joining forces and actioning a local AIDS response with 90-90-90 as a starting point on a trajectory towards getting to zero new HIV infections and zero people living with HIV who are not on HIV treatment.”
The Fast-Track Cities initiative is supported by the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the City of Paris to achieve the following targets by 2020:
“We know that the only way to ensure a greater quality of life and access to services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS is to work across government, health care partners and community-based organizations,” said Peter McLoyd, Community Co-Chair, Chicago Area HIV Integrated Services Council (CAHISC). “Chicago can be proud of its efforts to greatly reduce the number of new diagnoses. However, we must continue this work to get to zero and to ensure more individuals are virally suppressed.”
Fast Track Cities builds on CDPH’s comprehensive efforts to improve health disparities and reduce the burden of HIV as outlined in the citywide public health plan, Healthy Chicago 2.0. In addition to launching Getting to Zero, Chicago also adopted the Undetectable=Untransmittable philosophy, championing the fact that people living with HIV on effective treatment do not sexually transmit HIV. CDPH invests more than $40 million annually for community partners to provide HIV prevention, care and housing programs to residents. Last year, Mayor Emanuel and CDPH partnered with Howard Brown and the University of Illinois at Chicago to expand care at two primary care clinics for residents living with HIV. In the first year of the partnership, more than 3,600 HIV-positive residents received care, more than four times the number served in the previous year.