North Carolina, South Carolina Join Forces to Combat HIV Epidemic
Health officials and leading researchers in North Carolina and South Carolina have created a new collaborative effort to end the HIV epidemic in both states. Carolinas United to End HIV (CUE-HIV) is a partnership between the State of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the State of South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Mecklenburg County Health Department, UNC Charlotte, the University of South Carolina (Columbia), the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for AIDS Research (UNC CFAR).
CUE-HIV will specifically work to reduce the numbers of incident HIV infections in the Carolinas by 75 percent within five years, and by 90 percent within 10 years. This is in line with the reduction the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed through a new initiative to address the ongoing HIV public health crisis.
In a JAMA Network editorial, leading infectious diseases officials said such an ambitious initiative will “leverage critical scientific advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care by coordinating the highly successful programs, resources, and infrastructure of the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Indian Health Service. The initial phase, coordinated by the Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, will focus on geographic and demographic hotspots in 19 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, where the majority of the new HIV cases are reported, as well as in seven states with a disproportionate occurrence of HIV in rural areas.” Mecklenburg County in North Carolina and all counties in South Carolina fall into these categories.
The CUE-HIV collaborative was born out of the knowledge that HIV does not stop at state borders, especially in the era of social media and online dating. This cohesive approach will help identify and target cross-state networks particularly in rural areas where stigma is a driving impetus to find partners away from home in larger cities and counties.
CUE-HIV is an interstate collaborative created to address the disproportionate HIV burden in the Carolinas driven by our states’ unique intersection of stigma, poverty, and limited resource allocation. Our initiative employs a multifaceted strategy designed to promote awareness, decrease stigma, expand funding, and improve resource availability with one ultimate goal: ending the HIV epidemic in the Carolinas. We believe that our united front will prove far more impactful than the sum of our individual parts.