CDC Report on HIV/AIDS in U.S. Should Serve as ‘Wake-Up Call’ for Policymakers, Health Workers, Opinion Piece Says
A recent CDC report on HIV/AIDS in the U.S. -- which found that about 56,000 new HIV infections occur in the U.S. each year -- "should serve as a wake-up call from the AIDS amnesia surrounding the domestic epidemic in recent years," Susan Blumenthal, senior policy and medical adviser at the Foundation for AIDS Research, and Melissa Shive, a former research assistant at amfAR and medical student at the University of California-San Francisco, write in a Washington Times opinion piece.
According to the authors, domestic "research and prevention funding" for HIV/AIDS has been "inadequate in recent years" and often "hindered by ideology and politics." They write that the U.S. "desperately needs the same kind of leadership and commitment at home that our country has shown" with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other global programs, adding, "Progressive policies are urgently needed that recognize HIV/AIDS as an emergency in America as well as overseas."
The next president should "establish a domestic science-based PEPFAR that would create a national strategy to eradicate HIV/AIDS at home," the authors write. They added that such a plan should "provid[e] necessary funding to increase research; implement evidence-based prevention programs that target vulnerable groups; address issues of stigma, discrimination and poverty; and improve access to lifesaving treatments and health care to eradicate" HIV/AIDS. The authors conclude that a national plan that "mobilizes all sectors of our society" to fight HIV/AIDS "combined with continuing global investment and leadership," means that one day people might "have to turn to the history books to learn there ever was a disease called AIDS" (Blumenthal/Shive, Washington Times, 8/12).