Ending the HIV Epidemic in Mississippi

In 2019 the White House introduced Ending the Epidemic: A Plan for America, which focuses on the 57 geographic areas (comprising 50 counties and 7 states and includes Mississippi), in the US, that have the highest rates of HIV.

The overall goal of this plan is to use early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention to achieve a 75% decrease in new HIV infections by 2025.

Learn about:

The Epidemic in Mississippi  |  HIV Testing  |  HIV Prevention  |  HIV Treatment

The Epidemic in Mississippi

The HIV epidemic in Mississippi is among the most severe in the US, with the 8th highest rate of HIV diagnoses among all adults, and the 6th highest rate of AIDS diagnoses in the nation.

From 2017-18, the rate of new HIV diagnoses in Mississippi increased by 12%, making it the only state to report an increase in new HIV diagnoses in that year.

Racial Disparities:

Black Mississippians represent 37.4% of the state’s population but accounted for 72.9% of people living with HIV and accounted for 76% of new diagnoses in 2018

  • The rate of Black males living with an HIV diagnosis is nearly 6 times that of White males
  • The rate of Black females living with an HIV diagnosis is almost 10 times that of White females

HIV Testing:

Testing is the gateway to HIV prevention and ending the epidemic.

Testing is easy, free (or low-cost), confidential, and accurate Only 40.2% of Mississippians have ever been tested for HIV and only 12.7% were tested within the past year An estimated 16.8% of Mississippians were living with HIV in 2017 but unaware of their HIV status This effects all age groups:

To learn more about HIV testing click here.

FInd a Clinic Near You

HIV Prevention:

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is prescription medicine that people at risk for HIV can take to prevent contracting HIV. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is very effective at preventing HIV.

There are two medications (Truvada® and Descovy®) approved for use as PrEP.

PrEP is safe but some people experience side effects like diarrhea, nausea, headache, fatigue, and stomach pain. These side effects usually go away over time.

  • Mississippi has one of the lowest rates of people taking PrEP nationally.
  • The number of people taking PrEP in Mississippi is considered incredibly low when when compared to the number of individuals newly diagnosed with HIV.

For more information about PrEP, Click here.

HIV Treatment:

With treatment, people living with HIV can live long, normal, healthy lives.

Treatment involves taking a medication called antiretroviral therapy (ART) that reduces the amount of HIV in the body. ART can even make the viral load so low that a test can’t detect it. Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best thing people with HIV can do to stay healthy and help prevent transmission to others through sex or syringe sharing; and, from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. This is referred to as treatment as prevention because the person living with HIV who stays in treatment and takes ART consistently, as prescribed, is also preventing the spread of HIV.

What if I test positive?

If you test positive, treating your HIV is as easy as treating most other chronic diseases. Most people living with HIV can take just one pill once per day and live long, healthy lives. If you receive a positive HIV diagnosis the most important thing is to start treatment right away, and to adhere to your medication regimens.

Treatment is prevention.

For those who test positive, just one daily pill can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood to a level so low it’s undetectable. That means a person living with HIV can live a long, normal, healthy life and have virtually no risk of transmitting HIV to a partner through sex.

How can I stay negative?

For those at risk of HIV, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a once daily pill that can prevent you from getting HIV. PrEP is as simple as taking one pill a day and is one of many ways you can protect yourself from contracting HIV.

To learn more about HIV treatment click here.


Click here for more information on Treatment as Prevention.


Content SourceS: Mississippi’s Ending the HIV Epidemic Plan; AIDSVu; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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