WEDNESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Advocates for HIV/AIDS
research and treatment met Wednesday to discuss how to reduce the
spread of the disease in the United States, improve access to
better care and raise general awareness of the ongoing
On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
released a report on HIV in the United States revealing that 1.2
million Americans are living with HIV, yet only about 28 percent of
them have their disease under control.
Efforts to diagnose, treat and reduce transmission of the virus
need to be redoubled, the CDC said.
Wednesday's news conference announced the reemergence of
National HIV Awareness Month, slated for July 2012.
"We realized that we need to come together and create a focus around the national epidemic," said Dawn Averitt Bridge, founder of the Well Project and the Coalition for National HIV Awareness Month.
The Well Project is a nonprofit group that focuses its attention
on women with HIV/AIDS.
July was chosen because the International AIDS Conference will
be taking place in the United States for the first time in over 20
years, she said. "Since President Obama lifted the travel ban on
people with HIV," she added.
July is also the second anniversary of the release of the
National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Bridge said.
"The coalition is coming together to say: 'it's very important to see what the federal agencies do, but let's talk about how we engage the public and the private sector,'" she said.
"I applaud you and your partners for establishing National HIV Awareness Month," Jeffrey Crowley, director of the Office of National AIDS Policy and senior advisor on disability policy in the White House, said during the conference.
Crowley noted that the U.S. government's HIV strategy has four
goals: reduce the number of people that become infected with HIV;
increase access to care and improve outcomes; reduce HIV health
disparities and improve government coordination.
"I was excited to hear that the Well Project was creating this awareness month because the federal government can't do it alone," Crowley said. "This is not a federal strategy, it's a national strategy, so we need all of our stakeholders to come together."
"Private sector help is even more important today as local and state and federal budgets are being cut," Mark Ishaug, president and CEO of AIDS United, said at the news conference. "Cuts in many states are draconian. HIV prevention programs across America have been eliminated; AIDS drug assistant programs have long waiting lists; support services are simply disappearing," he said.
According to the CDC report, in 2010 only 9.6 percent of adult
Americans had been tested for HIV in the past year. Testing levels
varied by state, ranging from 4.9 percent to 29.8 percent.
Of the more than 900,000 people who know they have HIV, about 77
percent were linked to care and 51 percent were getting continuing
In addition, 45 percent had prevention counseling and 89 percent
were taking antiretroviral medications. Of these, the virus was
suppressed in 77 percent, meaning the virus was suppressed in about
28 percent of all Americans with HIV, according to the report.
Speaking at the news conference Phill Wilson, founder and CEO of
the Black AIDS Institute, said that "30 years is enough, and we
have the tools to end the AIDS epidemic in America."
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