Why is "90-90-90" so important to find a cure for HIV?

Cure HIV - positive peers

By: Ann Avery, MD, Infectious Disease Physician at MetroHealth Medical Center

We can’t cure HIV just yet — but we can stop the epidemic.

That’s the idea behind 90-90-90, the United Nations’ (UN’s) goal for stopping HIV in its tracks by the year 2020.

UNAIDs, the UN program to fight HIV worldwide, believes we can stop the HIV epidemic in 12 years if we hit three goals in the next two years:

  • 90% of the people who have HIV know their HIV status.
  • 90% of the people diagnosed with HIV are getting anti-retroviral therapy
  • 90% of the people on anti-retrovirals have achieved viral suppression.

Here’s why hitting the three 90s is so important:

If 90% of people with HIV learn their status, get on anti-retrovirals, and achieve viral suppression, they can’t infect anybody else.

The way UNAIDs sees it, if we keep up the 90-90-90 pace for a decade, the epidemic will end because HIV simply won’t find enough new people to infect.

Cure HIV - positive peers

How far do we have to go to hit 90-90-90 in 2020?

Here’s a look at how far we are from 90-90-90:

Sure, those are wide rivers to cross in two years. And maybe we won’t get there on New Year’s Day 2020.

But ambitious goals are the best kind because they encourage us to reach a lot further and quicker than we knew we could.

Cure HIV - positive peers

How to get closer to 90-90-90

At Positive Peers, we’re all about getting tested regularly, taking your meds —every dose, every day — and achieving viral suppression. Want to get involved? Here’s a good way to help achieve 90-90-90 in your community!


Come join our private, stigma-free, supportive community.

Health management tools with medication & appointment reminders.
Social networking in a community conversation & private chats.


Start with stigma

The stigma around HIV discourages people from getting tested because they’re afraid of what will happen when people know their status. We have to fight that sense of fear.

We encourage you to call people out if they’re spreading stigma, and help them learn to care about people living HIV instead of fearing them. In France, they started a campaign called, “Let's make Paris the city of love without AIDS.”

Cure HIV - positive peers

Encourage testing, safer sex, and anti-retroviral treatment

If you’re already living with HIV, there’s a good chance you know other people who either have it or might get it. Help them understand that getting healthy and staying on their meds helps the whole world — not just them. Check out these Positive Peers articles for some added encouragement:

There’s no reason to believe the 90-90-90 goals can’t be achieved by 2020. And we can achieve it together.

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Positive Peers is made possible through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Grant to The MetroHealth System. Click here for more information about the SPNS grant initiative.
Positive Peers is a private app for young people living with HIV. Learn how you can earn rewards for your participation.