CDC rolls out plan to curb HIV epidemic

ATLANTA — The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is rolling out a new plan to tackle the HIV epidemic.

Local experts say there are around 50,000 people in Georgia living with HIV.

[READ: Atlanta's HIV 'epidemic' compared to third world African countries]

The CDC’s goal is to reduce infections by 90 percent in the next decade and 75 percent in the next five years, nationwide.

As an HIV patient and advocate, Timothy Webb is behind the CDC’s goal.

"It's a nice thing to want, but we need to put resources behind that want. And we're talking about a lot of money," he told Channel 2's Rikki Klaus.

[READ: Atlanta's 'third world' HIV epidemic isn't getting any better, CDC says]

President Donald Trump pledged fresh money for the epidemic during his State of the Union address on Tuesday and mentioned the promise of defeating the disease.

The CDC says its new program will target 48 counties across the country, including Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett in metro Atlanta.

In a CDC conference call Wednesday, Klaus asked what the program will look like locally.


“A number of jurisdictions have actually worked together to develop plans to try to begin to end this epidemic,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC. “We obviously will be working very closely with the medical and public health community of Georgia and Atlanta area to see how we can augment and operationalize that plan.”

“I think it’s doable if all of the pieces are in place,” said Nicole Roebuck, the executive director of AID Atlanta.

[READ: Atlanta 4th in nation for new HIV diagnoses, CDC says]

She says the technology is there, but political and societal will must be, as well. Roebuck said a successful outcome will take teamwork on all levels and more access to care.

“Whether it’s policies, additional funding, Medicaid expansion -- those are things that we need to make sure are in place in order for that to happen,” said Roebuck.

CDC officials say more than 1 million people considered to be at high risk for HIV should be on PrEP, a drug that prevents infections, but only about 10% of them actually are. Officials are hoping to dramatically increase that number as part of the plan.

The CDC would not give numbers Wednesday on how much this will all cost but said it’s confident the president’s budget will cover it.