Last week our HIV Prevention Program, the Ryan White Part B Program, and the Ryan White Part A Program of Maricopa County presented the third annual HIV symposium. More than 260 people attended, representing state and local health departments, community-based organizations, clinical providers, community leaders, and people living with HIV.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton kicked off the Symposium, announcing Phoenix had become the 12th US city to join the UNAIDS Fast-Track Cities Initiative. More than 60 cities worldwide have signed the Fast-Track declaration, committing to end their local HIV epidemics by 2030.

Breakout sessions focused on retention in care, culturally-responsive services, high impact HIV prevention, and self-care/mindfulness . Thirteen organizations presented posters on innovative service delivery. A peer-led session offered an opportunity for attendees to learn about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a new HIV prevention option.

The HIV Statewide Advisory Group formally unveiled Victory Over HIV, a five-year plan to end the epidemic in Arizona. More than 220 Arizonans contributed 1,483 hours creating the Plan. An additional 839 people living with, or at-risk for getting HIV informed planning activities by sharing their personal stories about accessing prevention and care services.

During the development of the plan, it became clear that a one-size-fits-all approach will not be effective. To better address the issues, the state has been segmented into regions: northern, central and southern. Each has their own objectives, strategies and activities. All three regions are working to achieve the ambitious goal of ending the HIV epidemic in Arizona by 2030.