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World AIDS Day: Dec. 1, 2008

Statement of HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) Chair Arlene Bardeguez, MD, MPH:

The majority of the one million-plus people in this country living with HIV are uninsured or rely on public programs for care. As the economy worsens, and the number of people diagnosed rises, the strain on publicly funded programs will only grow. In fact, one in five people with HIV do not yet know they are infected. Most won't be diagnosed until the disease has progressed to full-blown AIDS.

As part of the coalition AIDS in America, we join with other HIV/AIDS organizations in calling for important changes in prevention, access to care, civil rights, and research within the first 100 days of the new administration. We need an increased federal investment in domestic HIV/AIDS programs, including research and prevention efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, and care and services for those with HIV/AIDS through the Ryan White CARE Act. We also urge President-elect Obama to quickly begin working on a national HIV/AIDS strategy that finally deals realistically with the growing epidemic in the United States.

HIVMA and AIDS in America have high hopes that the new administration can provide renewed leadership and help build on the many positive things that occurred this year, which attest that together we can make a difference. Among the HIV-related triumphs this year are:

  • the finding that people with HIV who are on treatment have similar survival rates as those of non infected people;
  • the reality that newly approved treatment options allow for simpler regimens with a better safety profile; and
  • the fact that states are making progress in implementing routine HIV testing in health care settings.

Our nation has made a critical and unprecedented commitment to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the developing world. That investment must continue, but the crisis at home requires more attention. To that aim the community, health care providers, researchers and government officials at all levels must work collaboratively to bring changes in diagnosis, access to care and treatment, and a decrease in the number of new infections. We are hopeful that with the next Administration's leadership and a bold new national strategy we can do just that.


Contact: Steve Baragona
Infectious Diseases Society of America

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