For organizations tackling HIV and AIDS in the Quad Cities, a new national effort to end the epidemic is welcome news.
The announcement from President Trump came Tuesday during the State of the Union, directing Congress to provide new funding to nearly eliminate new infections by 2030.
Here in the Quad Cities, De La Cerda House provides temporary housing to people living with the diagnosis, with a specific focus on the homeless population and connecting them to healthcare for treatment and other resources.
They work closely with the Project of the Quad Cities.
This is the De La Cerda’s 25th year.
The executive director told Local 4 News she’ll be keeping a close eye on Congress as they discuss the added funding to continue the progress in fighting the disease.
“We have come leaps and bounds in 30 plus years of people dying to people living. What we really need to focus on now is finding a way to prevent that virus from spreading. We need to find a way to educate people,” said De La Cerda House Executive Director Cathy Jordan.
Even the advancement in treatment, Jordan said one issue that remains is the stigma around the disease.
Jordan said, “I wish that wasn’t something we had to discuss. I think that there’s still some confusion of how it’s transmitted. I think there’s still some confusion that if I stand next to someone or I talk with them or that I shake their hand that I’m somehow exposing myself.”
Jordan added people from all walks of life have been diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.
Reports from public health departments in Iowa and Illinois from last year provides a picture of those living with the diagnosis.
In Iowa, Scott County has about 225 people with HIV, the third highest in the state.
In Rock Island County, it’s more than 130.
For Jordan, while it makes up a small percent of the total population, she said it remains an important demographic to serve.
Illinois also has the Getting to Zero campaign. The goal is by 2030 have no new transmissions and no one without treatment.