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

Sunday, August 3, 2008 General News J E 4
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 The new HIV infectionfigures by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increase theestimate of new HIV infections in 2006 from 40,000 to 56,300. Though theagency says the one-year revision does not necessarily indicate an ongoingincrease in the annual estimated infection rate, the new estimate demonstratesthat HIV infection rate is not falling and may very possibly be increasingsignificantly.

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

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

"The CDC's nearly two-year delay in disclosing these figures from 2006exacerbates 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 andChair of the Board of Directors for the National Association of People withAIDS. "Also, recent evidence of rising HIV diagnoses among gay men and othermen who have sex with men, especially among young gay men of color, is a clearexample of why a new approach is desperately needed to obtain progress againstHIV/AIDS in the U.S."

"Only with increased resources and a cogent and well implemented NationalAIDS Strategy can we bring down HIV incidence, increase access to care, andreduce 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 toensure provision of evidence-based programming, including needle-exchangeprograms and comprehensive sex education for youth."

More than 250 organizations and hundreds of individuals have endorsed theNational AIDS Strategy effort at

Editor's note 1: Nationally recognized HIV/AIDS experts who support aNational AIDS Strategy will be available for interviews in Mexico City (at theInternational AIDS Conference), and stateside through the contacts listed.



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