In February 2020, members of the Washington, DC Regional Planning Commission on Health and HIV (COHAH) participated in a half-day engagement session, brainstorming relevant ideas for each pillar of the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative: Diagnose, Treat, Prevent, and Respond. COHAH was included in all levels of planning and provided feedback on engagement plans, as well as communities to engage. DC Health presented the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative update to COHAH before beginning accelerated community engagement. COHAH staff members were also members of the internal DC Health 1906 planning work group, and the work group staff attended COHAH Community Engagement and Education Committee meetings. The COHAH committee provided guidance and connected people living with HIV to DC Health community engagement efforts.

The following summarizes COHAH recommendations:

  • Overall – Add more effective feedback loops; include the community at every level; share results of research (especially any comorbidities); engage the first cohort around aging and HIV; and use more widely used platforms for dissemination of information.
  • Diagnose – Increase testing; work with trust issues in historically marginalized communities; decrease stigma; and increase access to testing.
  • Prevent – Focus on populations with the greatest need; increase education and awareness about pre-exposure prophylaxis, Undetectable Equals Untransmittable (U=U), a holistic approach, and social determinants of health.
  • Treat – Give full access to care and education, provider education, rapid antiretroviral therapy education, and continuity of care. Use U=U to reduce stigma.
  • Respond – Focus on youths, better data sharing, and improved data reporting.
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