November 25, 2019
Health officials focusing statewide efforts to End HIV in Minnesota
World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 provides occasion to renew focus on goal
As World AIDS Day approaches, state health officials are focusing on END HIV MN, Minnesota’s comprehensive long-term plan to end new HIV infections and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.
The plan involves addressing social and structural barriers to HIV treatment, care and prevention through five goals:
- Preventing new HIV infections.
- Reducing HIV-related health disparities and promoting health equity.
- Increasing retention in care for people living with HIV.
- Ensuring stable housing for people living with HIV and those at highest risk for infection.
- Achieving a more coordinated statewide response to HIV.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) publicly introduced END HIV MN earlier this year. Staff from DHS and MDH, who make up the END HIV MN implementation team, have been hosting community meetings throughout the state. These meetings will continue through the end of the year.
“It’s going to take every one of us to end the epidemic,” said Christine Jones, manager of STD/HIV/TB programs at MDH. “That’s why it is so important for us to go out and have these conversations locally. END HIV MN calls for meaningfully involving communities most affected by HIV and allowing their voices to inform our statewide response to HIV.”
As part of their efforts, Jones urges people to attend a World AIDS Day event, learn more about the END HIV MN plan and take the END HIV MN - Stakeholder Input Survey [link expired] to help the implementation team better understand the activities and efforts happening in communities and identify opportunities for future work.
“We have never been more optimistic about ending the epidemic in Minnesota,” said Mariah Wilberg, END HIV MN strategy coordinator at DHS. “Putting END HIV MN into action will make a real difference in reducing stigma, preventing new infections and helping all people living with HIV in Minnesota live long and healthy lives.”
The number of new HIV diagnoses in Minnesota has remained relatively stable, with 286 cases reported in 2018. However, significant disparities remain. Men who have sex with men continue to have higher rates of HIV, and more than half of all new HIV cases in 2018 were among communities of color. Additionally, more than one-third of new HIV cases were under 30 years old, and HIV diagnoses among people who inject drugs has continued to increase.
MDH recommends everyone between ages 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once. If you do not know the HIV status of your sex partners or if you share injection equipment, you should get tested at least yearly. To find a testing place near you see HIV Testing.
Many MDH partners are hosting activities or events for World AIDS Day, including:
Saturday, Nov. 30
- African World AIDS Awareness Day
Brian Coyle Community Center, 420 S. 15th Ave., Minneapolis, MN (3 – 5 p.m.)
Walk-in HIV testing, storytelling sessions, one-on-one HIV education and refreshments.
Sunday, Dec. 1
- GROUNDED IN HOPE: Embracing the Possibilities for Ending HIV A Special World AIDS Day Service of Remembrance and Commitment
All God’s Children MCC, 3100 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN (10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
An ecumenical worship service uniting communities to end HIV. Brunch to follow. Open to public.
- Red Undie Run
Stone Arch Bridge (downtown side), 100 West River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN (4 – 6 p.m.)
The Red Undie Run is just over a mile run across Stone Arch Bridge and back to create awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS. Warm up after the run at eagleBOLTbar. Free. RSVP at The Aliveness Project.
- The Other Room & Angels in America: A World AIDS Day Music Program
LUSH, 990 Central Ave. N.E., Minneapolis, MN (3:30 – 6 p.m.)
Arbeit Opera Theatre and LOFTrecital’s World AIDS Day program is an evening of remembrance and awareness inspired by musical stories centered around the AIDS crisis. Pay-as-able tickets at Lush [link expired].
Monday, Dec. 2
- Rapid HIV Testing
Rochester Public Library - Meeting Room B, 101 2nd St. S.E., Rochester, MN (9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
Free, confidential rapid HIV testing to individuals ages 13+. Educational materials and condoms will be available. The first 100 participants will receive a gift card.
- NorthPoint Health and Wellness World AIDS Day
NorthPoint Health and Wellness, 1313 Penn Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Walk-in HIV testing 9 a.m.-5 p.m., interactive resource tables 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., documentary and discussion (at 1256 Penn Ave. N. building), 5th floor, noon – 1 p.m. All are open to public.
- Indigenous Peoples Task Force's World Aids Day
All Nations Church, 1515 E. 23rd St., Minneapolis, MN (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
The Indigenous Peoples Task Force will host an event to pray for those who have been affected by HIV/AIDS (offer sacred tobacco “aseema” into a fire in prayer), be educated on ways to protect themselves against HIV, get tested for HIV and break the stigma surrounding HIV.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
- World Tour of the Nations
East Side Family Clinic, 895 E. 7th St., St. Paul, MN (4 – 8 p.m.)
Free walk-in HIV testing, food from around the world, hot chocolate bar and bingo with prizes. Open to public.