The Department of Health and Human Services this month officially changed the name of AIDS.gov to HIV.gov, reflecting major scientific advances for controlling and treating HIV and preventing AIDS. The announcement came on the 36th anniversary of the first report of what would come to be known as AIDS and as National HIV Testing Day approaches on June 26.
In light of these milestones, we call to mind the work our members have done, and continue to do each day, to fight this debilitating disease.
In fact, the country’s first hospital ward dedicated to the disease was opened by the city and county of San Francisco in conjunction with health professionals at San Francisco General Hospital — now Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, an association member.
Essential hospitals continue to lead the fight against HIV. Many, including Broward Health, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., use routine testing in emergency departments, clinics, and physician offices to identify cases as soon as possible.
Broward County has some of the highest rates of new HIV and AIDS cases in the United States, according to the Florida Department of Health. The department works with community partners — including Broward Health — on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–funded community education, prevention, and media campaign program, called the Broward>AIDS Initiative, targeting high-risk populations.
Another example can be found at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where infectious disease specialists work with the state department of health on a rural telehealth program to help local health care providers offer better management and treatment of patients with HIV.
Meanwhile, NuHealth, in East Meadow, N.Y., last year partnered with the county department of health and other local organizations in an initiative, called Nassau Knows. The partnership hosted a collaborative event the week of National HIV Testing Day, with a goal of testing 1,000 Nassau County residents between June 24 and Aug. 31. The event was part of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to end the state’s HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2020.
These efforts exemplify our more than 300 members’ dedication to providing high-quality care for all, including the vulnerable. As the national fight against HIV continues, essential hospitals will be on the front lines.