Celebrating One Year of the “Bounce to Zero” Campaign: A Year of Progress Towards Ending the HIV Epidemic in New Orleans

Ryan White Services and Resources (RWSR), a division of the New Orleans Health Department and leading regional advocate for public health and community well-being, proudly marks the one-year anniversary of the award-winning “Bounce to Zero” campaign to end the HIV epidemic in New Orleans—and calls on the community to get involved.

“This milestone represents a year of dedicated efforts, community engagement, and significant progress towards the ultimate goal of eradicating the HIV epidemic in our city,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the New Orleans Health Department.

Reflecting on a Year of Impact

In the past 12 months, the “Bounce to Zero” campaign has achieved remarkable success, thanks to the collaborative efforts of community members, healthcare professionals, and local organizations. Key accomplishments include:

• Increased Awareness: Through targeted outreach and educational initiatives, the campaign has reached thousands of individuals, raising awareness about HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.
• Expanded Testing Access: “Bounce to Zero” has worked tirelessly to provide free at home HIV testing. Increased testing has played a crucial role in early detection and timely intervention.
• Community Engagement: The campaign has fostered a sense of community by organizing events, workshops, and support groups, creating safe spaces for open discussions about HIV, reducing stigma, streamlining entry to care, and encouraging regular testing.
• Strategic Partnerships: Collaboration with local healthcare providers, government agencies, and non-profit organizations has strengthened the campaign’s impact, allowing for a more comprehensive, practical, and effective approach to HIV prevention and care.
• Centralized Linkage: Implemented a streamlined entry to care and services system that reduces barriers to care and improves linkage to care and services.

New Orleans has consistently remained in the top three U.S. cities with the highest rates of new infections per capita—following Miami and Baton Rouge.

“For over a decade, New Orleans has been in the top three for cities with the highest HIV infection rates,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Now, we are a national leader in creating dramatic improvements in testing, treatment, and battling the cruel stigma people living with HIV experience. These successes and changes are saving lives, and we will continue doing our part to meet the needs of our people while improving the health and well-being of our community.”

Spearheaded by the New Orleans Health Department, Bounce to Zero is a bold approach to eliminating HIV in Greater New Orleans by focusing on prevention, testing, treatment, education, and access for everyone.

Looking Ahead: A Renewed Commitment

To celebrate this first-anniversary milestone, RWSR remains steadfast in its commitment to the core mission of the “Bounce to Zero” campaign. Looking ahead, it aims to:

• Enhance Outreach Efforts: Broaden its reach to engage even more diverse communities, ensuring that everyone has access to vital information and resources. • Continue Education Initiatives: Expand educational efforts to empower individuals with knowledge about HIV and promote safer practices.
• Celebrate Success Stories: Highlight and celebrate success stories within the community, emphasizing that progress is possible and achievable through collective action.

“Together, we can build on this first year’s momentum and make even greater strides towards a New Orleans with zero new HIV infections,” said Vatsana Chanthala, director of RWSR. “Please go to BounceToZrero.com. You can help us to end the HIV epidemic in our community. Pledge your support to oppose stigma and discrimination.”

The Pledge can be found and signed at https://bouncetozero.com/pledge/. The website also centralizes information on HIV, including where to find testing, primary care, and supportive services in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, and St. Tammany parishes.

The eight parishes benefiting from the Bounce to Zero campaign are disproportionately affected by HIV cases in Louisiana. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 8,642 people are living with HIV in the New Orleans metro area, which represents 38% of the State’s HIV cases. Nationwide, approximately 1.2 million people are living with HIV.

An estimated 38,000 Americans are newly diagnosed each year. While the number of new inflections dropped by 73% between 1984 and 2019, progress to further reduce those numbers has stalled. Without intervention, nearly 400,000 more Americans will be newly diagnosed over ten years, despite the availability of tools to prevent transmissions. Bounce to Zero organizers aim to contribute to a drop in those numbers.
For more information, visit www.bouncetozero.com.

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