New Jersey — Each year on December 1st the global community unites to remember the many lives lost to HIV-related illnesses, while also supporting people and communities affected by HIV. The global community along with U.S. federal, state, and local governments continue their commitment to ending the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the coming generation(s).
Over the past 10 years, “life-changing” advancements in HIV testing, prevention, medical care, and treatment have improved health outcomes. Longer, healthier lives for people with HIV, and effective prevention options for those who do not have HIV. Better options mean less new HIV infections, less people with AIDS, and less AIDS-related deaths.
The incredible progress made in the HIV and AIDS epidemic could not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of HIV advocates. These courageous individuals work tirelessly to raise awareness about the devastating effects HIV continues to have on highly impacted communities.
The observance of World AIDS Day reminds us to stay focused and continue striving towards ending HIV infection both in the United States and around the world. On Thursday, November 18th the New Jersey Taskforce to End the HIV Epidemic released its plan to end HIV in New Jersey by 2025. The NJ Department of Health is committed to reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to “life-changing” HIV testing and medical treatment options, and reducing HIV stigma.
While there is still no cure for HIV, early testing and treatment options make it possible to live healthy with HIV. Treatment with HIV medicine (antiretroviral therapy) can keep the amount of virus in the body to an undetectable level. Keeping an undetectable HIV level prevents passing the virus to others (U=U). All people living with HIV should start treatment regardless of how healthy they are or how long they have been living with HIV.
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Everyone between the ages of 13 and 65 should be tested for HIV as part of a regular health routine. Many people living with HIV are unaware of their infection; testing for HIV is the only way to know for sure. Testing not only reduces the spread of new HIV infections, but also links people to HIV prevention services. Anyone at high risk for HIV should get tested often and talk to their healthcare provider about available prevention options.
Effective prevention options help end HIV in all communities. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily HIV medicine taken to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a HIV medicine taken only in emergency situations. If you think you were recently exposed (in the last 72 hours) to HIV, immediately contact your healthcare provider, an emergency room doctor, or an urgent care provider about taking PEP to prevent HIV infection.
Get Tested. Stop HIV.
New Jersey offers free HIV and other STI services to all state residents via the hotline. Knowing who to call for resources and information is the first step in ending the HIV epidemic in New Jersey. The hotline is staffed by health professionals (doctors, nurses, and pharmacists) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide free, confidential help: Call: 1-800-624-2377 or Chat Here
• Referrals for testing, prevention, treatment, and other related services
• Prevention and treatment information for HIV, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections
• Information on the side effects of medicines used to treat HIV and other sexually transmitted infections
• Referrals to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) Services
• Counseling and treatment locations
• Referrals to harm reduction centers (syringe access available)
• Partner notification services
• New Jersey’s AIDS Drug Distribution Program (ADDP)
Healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses and pharmacists) provide telephone consultation for people seeking information about HIV/AIDS, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) including hepatitis. Callers receive information tailored to their needs; discussion about prevention, referrals for testing sites and other related services, counseling and testing locations, and information on treatment and adverse reactions to medications. The hotline is administered by the New Jersey Poison Control Center and funded by the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of HIV, STD, and TB services.
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Founded in 1954, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is the oldest school of medicine in the state. Today it is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and graduates approximately 170 physicians a year. In addition to providing the MD degree, the school offers MD/PhD, MD/MPH and MD/MBA degrees through collaborations with other institutions of higher education. Dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care and community outreach, the medical school comprises 20 academic departments and works with several healthcare partners, including its principal teaching hospital, University Hospital. Its faculty consists of numerous world-renowned scientists and many of the region’s “top doctors.” Home to the nation’s oldest student-run clinic, New Jersey Medical School hosts more than 50 centers and institutes, including the Public Health Research Institute Center, the Global Tuberculosis Institute and the Neurological Institute of New Jersey. For more information please visit: njms.rutgers.edu.