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HIV Efforts will Require Strong Support from all Sectors

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Conclusions from the 2010 National Summit on HIV Diagnosis, Prevention, and Access to Care are that it will take strong support from all sectors of society and not just the Federal government to prevent the spread of HIV and for improving access to treatment for AIDS. Infectious disease experts and policy makers came together to map the best strategies for curbing HIV/AIDS, aimed at prevention, awareness and policy changes, discussing coordination efforts.

The panel discussed how to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) that seeks to reduce new HIV infections by 25 percent annually, lower transmission rates by 30 percent, and increase awareness among those living with the virus from 79 to 90 percent. NHAS also seeks to improve access to healthcare for individuals living with HIV, in addition to closing the health care disparities found among HIV diagnosed blacks, Latinos and gay and bisexual men.

Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, confirmed key representatives across several federal sectors have plans in place that will be submitted to the White House December 9, 2010. The agencies include U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Departments of Labor, Justice, Health and Human Services, VA, Housing and Urban Development, Social Security Administration, Department of Education and the White House Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy.

Preventing HIV and Improving Care a Group Effort

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Valdiserri says, “During our discussion, it became clear that each of the plans will reflect, in some way, the NHAS call for an enhanced focus on coordinating our efforts across Federal agencies, across all levels of government, with external partners, and throughout the health care system.”

A highlight of the conference includes plans for more in-depth discussion, collaboration and planning for eliminating AIDS related discrimination, protecting the civil right of those living with HIV/AIDS, and addressing homelessness, housing and HIV in jails and prisons.

According to CDC estimates, approximately 200,000 Americans are infected with HIV but have not been tested. Late diagnosis shortens lifespan and puts partners at risk. The CDC recommends HIV testing should become a routine part of medical care for adults and adolescents. High-risk individuals should be tested annually.

Aligning with the National HIV/AIDS strategy panel, the CDC reports the number of individuals tested for HIV increased by 45 percent in 2009. The organization provided 60 million dollars across jurisdictions in America toward the NHAS goal of increasing awareness of HIV status to 90 percent.