AIDS Still a Crisis in America, Satcher Says
U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, in a World AIDS Day statement, warned that while HIV/AIDS infections may have fallen, the disease remains a "severe and ongoing crisis" in America, especially for men in minority communities. "The good news is that HIV infections fell dramatically since the 1980s with new cases falling from 150,000 a year to about 40,000 during the 1990s. I am pleased to report that we have begun to educate, motivate and mobilize Americans against HIV/AIDS," Satcher said, adding, "Unfortunately, data suggest the majority of these estimated 40,000 new HIV infections are disproportionately among people of color, especially African Americans and Hispanics [who] make up more than 73% of all new infections." Satcher also said that HIV infection rates have "steadily" risen among women and young people. Citing the theme of World AIDS Day 2000 -- "Men Make a Difference" -- Satcher urged all men to "take a stand against HIV/AIDS." He added, "Men must avoid unsafe and risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex and the sharing of equipment used for injecting drugs."
Dr. Eric Goosby, director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, pointed out two federal initiatives -- Crisis Response Team and the Leadership Campaign on AIDS -- designed to combat the AIDS epidemic in minority communities. "CRT offers intensive technical assistance and develops local capacity for assessing and developing prevention and treatment solutions in cities whose minority populations are hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic," Goosby said, adding, "TCLA works in partnership with minority leaders to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and to address stigma and discrimination issues, often roadblocks to effective prevention, treatment and care." According to Goosby, CRT -- which operates in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boca Raton, Fla., West Palm Beach, Fla., Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, N.J., New Haven, Conn., Oakland, Calif., Philadelphia and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- will hold its first national meeting in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1-2 in conjunction with World AIDS Day (Office of the U.S. Surgeon General release, 11/30).