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New HIV Infection Figures from CDC Underscore Need for National AIDS Strategy for the U.S.

Announcement of increased new infections in 2006 follows nearly two-year

delay in releasing data

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The new HIV infection figures by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increase the estimate of new HIV infections in 2006 from 40,000 to 56,300. Though the agency says the one-year revision does not necessarily indicate an ongoing increase in the annual estimated infection rate, the new estimate demonstrates that HIV infection rate is not falling and may very possibly be increasing significantly.

"While the CDC's new report may demonstrate improved national HIV surveillance, we have plenty of work ahead turning this data into something we can use to reduce new infections across the U.S.," said Mark Cloutier, Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. "To make measurable progress against HIV, we need to know whether infection rates are going up, which groups are becoming infected, and which prevention activities reduce new infections. We need a comprehensive National AIDS Strategy with measurable outcome targets, a timeline for action, increased funding and a particular focus on those most at risk, including racial and ethnic minorities."

"HIV/AIDS continues to be a public health emergency that has not received adequate nor appropriate attention as a nationwide priority," said Julie Davids, Executive Director of the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP). "It is ironic that the CDC is announcing these long-awaited figures at the International AIDS Conference, where we are hearing success stories from countries implementing vibrant National AIDS Strategies as a major requirement for receiving U.S. funds via PEPFAR."

"The CDC's nearly two-year delay in disclosing these figures from 2006 exacerbates continued peril to the country's most-at-risk communities, including African-Americans and Latinos who bear the brunt of the epidemic," said David Ernesto Munar, Vice President of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association of People with AIDS. "Also, recent evidence of rising HIV diagnoses among gay men and other men who have sex with men, especially among young gay men of color, is a clear example of why a new approach is desperately needed to obtain progress against HIV/AIDS in the U.S."

"Only with increased resources and a cogent and well implemented National AIDS Strategy can we bring down HIV incidence, increase access to care, and reduce persistent racial and ethnic disparities in the HIV/AIDS epidemic," said Dr. Marjorie Hill, Chief Executive Officer of Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). "A comprehensive, outcomes-oriented Strategy is the best way to ensure provision of evidence-based programming, including needle-exchange programs and comprehensive sex education for youth."

More than 250 organizations and hundreds of individuals have endorsed the National AIDS Strategy effort at Editor's note 1: Nationally recognized HIV/AIDS experts who support a National AIDS Strategy will be available for interviews in Mexico City (at the International AIDS Conference), and stateside through the contacts listed.

Contacts: Diego Sanchez, AIDS Action, 617-835-1455

Krishna Stone, Gay Men's Health Crisis, 347-668-6161

Peter Taback, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, 646-379-1445

Johnathon Briggs, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, 312-927-9539

Chris Collins, National AIDS Strategy, 845-701-0158

Julie Davids, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP),


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