Impact Of HIV/AIDS On Minority Populations Overlooked

Armen Hareyan's picture

The impactof HIV/AIDS on U.S. minority populations and men who have sex with men has been"[o]verlooked" by the 2008 presidential candidates, James Driscoll --adviser to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and former appointee to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS -- writes in a Washington Times opinion piece (Driscoll, WashingtonTimes, 12/12).

Although rates of other sexually transmitted infections "soared," CDC for manyyears continued to report stable rates of new HIV cases, Driscoll writes.However, some HIV/AIDS advocates warn that the estimates "fail to reflectthe rapid spread of HIV in minority communities" and among MSM, Driscollwrites. He adds, "Vindicating" the advocates' "warnings,"CDC is expected to announce updated figures that are "disturbingly higherthan previous estimates."


According to Driscoll, HIV testing is the "most effective and leastcontroversial way to discourage risky behavior" and "save lives."However, "none of the presidential candidates have issued a strong callfor increased testing," he adds. To "turn the tide" againstHIV/AIDS in the U.S., "we must test more often, focus on the mostvulnerable groups and make sure that all who test positive have ready access toquality HIV care and essential" antiretroviral drugs, Driscoll writes. Headds that current HIV/AIDS programs need to be "scrutinize[d]" andthat resources need to be reallocated to "where they are most cost-effective,"such as testing.

"One reliable measure of a candidate's commitment to health care is her orhis actions to improve access to testing and care," Driscoll writes,concluding, "So far, the candidates of both parties are failing this HIVlitmus test. Let's hope the CDC's disturbing new infection rates will be theirwake-up call" (Washington Times, 12/12).

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