Iowa is playing host to one of just five meetings happening across the country to discuss the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The White House released the plan last year with hopes of reducing the annual number of new HIV infections by 25% by 2015.

Randy Mayer, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the strategy includes a drastic shift in funding of HIV prevention programs. “They recommended that more money be given to high prevalence cities…and taken away from states like Iowa,” Mayer said. “We’re going to have to adjust to having 55% less funding from our federal agencies for HIV prevention.”

That means Iowa would no longer have money for 14 HIV prevention projects currently operating around the state. Mayer believes the focus in Iowa will shift to “treatment as prevention.” He said that’ll involve “getting people tested as early as possible, linking them to care and trying to keep people in care and on their medications, so they have less virus in their blood to transmit to others.”

Mayer, who heads the IDPH’s Bureau of HIV, STD and Hepatitis, will take part in a panel discussion scheduled for this afternoon (2:00-4:30 p.m.)  at Drake University. The panel will also include Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.

See more information on the plan here://