HIV and STDs in Long BeachRelease Date: 2019-05-08
Long Beach continues to make incredible progress in so many quality of life areas, including public safety, housing, infrastructure, and early childhood initiatives. Earlier this week at St. Mary Medical Center, we launched our 3 year strategic plan to lower HIV and STD rates in our city.
The plan was developed by our community health partners and the City. We more than 4,500 people living with HIV in Long Beach. Most of them are gay men. While HIV is not an issue only for gay men the data shows that 90% of those living with HIV are men and 80% identify as gay. You can read more about the plan in the Press-Telegram here.
Overall new HIV infections are down 33% since 2013 but we still have higher rates than the county or state average. We must reduce stigma, encourage testing, educate, and focus on prevention through access to PrEP, PEP and other life changing & life saving treatments.
As Mayor and a gay man - I take this issue seriously and will ensure that the goals and findings of the report are addressed. I have friends who are living with HIV and they are living healthy and full lives. We must increase access to medication and healthcare.
Over the next three years, our goals are to:
- Reduce HIV and STD infections, and make sure people who have HIV are diagnosed
- Strengthen our capacity to address HIV and STDs by identifying at least $2 million in local, state and federal funds, and educating at least 100 local healthcare providers every year in HIV/STD standards of care.
- Educate our community about testing for HIV and STDs in at 30 community events and reaching at least 4,000 adolescents and young adults through workshops every year - with a particular focus on people who are disproportionately impacted.
- Expand medical care to people with HIV and STDs by engaging people early in their diagnosis, increasing the number of patients using viral suppression, and ensure 10 more high-burden clinics can regularly treat STDs.
- Expand PrEP and PEP use by training more providers in both and enroll high risk residents in PrEP use.
The Plan and Blueprint are the result of more than a year of work by the Long Beach Comprehensive HIV/STD Planning Group, more than 25 community groups and health experts who all made extremely valuable contributions, including St. Mary Medical Center and the CARE Center; the LGBT Center; Cal State Long Beach; the VA and Memorial Hospital; the LA County Department of Health, and many others.
I want to thank Kelly Collopy, Director of our Health and Human Services Department, and her entire team, for leading these efforts, and in particular Long Beach Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis.
I’m confident we can bring down our transmission rates and better support those who are infected by continuing to work closely with our community partners under the leadership of healthcare professionals. While our increased rates of HIV and STDs aren’t good news, the commitment of our community to combating these illness is, and I believe we are going to make great progress in the coming 3 years.