CDC Shift in HIV Prevention Strategy ‘Fails To Acknowledge Importance’ of Educating Young People, Editorial Says
A recent shift in CDC's HIV prevention strategy to focus on people who are already HIV-positive is "shortsighted" because it "fails to acknowledge the importance" of teaching young people how to prevent infection, a Washington Post editorial says (Washington Post, 8/2). CDC in April 2003 announced the new strategy, saying that annual increases in the number of new HIV cases nationwide show that the previous emphasis on community outreach prevention programs has proven ineffective (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/19). The approach has "some merit" in that it has made it "easier to identify HIV-positive people using newer, faster" HIV tests and it is "vital" to educate those people about HIV prevention, the editorial says. However, "[p]reventing HIV infection requires that both HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals know how to prevent the spread of the virus," the editorial says. Educational programs informing young people about the risks of HIV/AIDS are a "critical part of any prevention strategy" -- especially in Washington, D.C., where cuts to programs for young people have been "particularly worrisome" in light of high rates of new infections among people younger than age 25, the Post says. Congress should increase funding for CDC's Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention, the editorial says, concluding that "in the meantime, even with limited resources, it is shortsighted to limit prevention efforts for young people" (Washington Post, 8/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.