BISMARCK, ND - Saturday, June 5, 2021, marked the 40th anniversary of when the first five cases of AIDS were officially reported. In addition, June 5 was a day to commemorate the 32 million people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide and honor the long-term survivors.
This day is also a time to celebrate successes. It is estimated that 20 million lives have been saved globally by U.S. efforts to eradicate HIV. Nationally, the U.S. is committed to ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) has contributed to these national efforts and is committed to reducing HIV incidence and improving care for those with HIV.
This summer, NDDoH is introducing an HIV Prevention and Care Advisory Board that will integrate multiple perspectives, lived experiences, and diverse backgrounds and contribute to developing the 2023-2027 plan to eliminate HIV in the USA.
“The voice of the community is critical in developing plans for HIV reduction and improving care in North Dakota,” said Alicia Belay, public health specialist in the NDDoH Health Equity Office. “People who have lived experience with HIV, those affected and community members who have seen its impact are best positioned to shape our statewide plan.”
The HIV Prevention and Care Advisory Board will include community members and stakeholders - emphasizing those with lived experiences related to HIV. The board will inform strategies related to the NDDoH’s HIV elimination plan and contribute to health equity by addressing the needs of priority communities across North Dakota.
The NDDoH is holding a statewide town hall June 22, 2021, from 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. CDT. This town hall, hosted by the NDDoH Division of Sexually Transmitted and Bloodborne Diseases, is an opportunity for community members across the region to provide feedback, engage in collaborative learning, meet the members of the new advisory board and learn more about the department’s engagement in ending the HIV epidemic.
The event is free and open to all North Dakotans. Pre-registration is encouraged and is available online at bit.ly/ndtownhall. The event will be hosted on Zoom and recorded for those who are unable to attend.