Domestic HIV/AIDS Spending ‘Essentially Flat,’ Increased ‘Efforts To Control’ HIV From ‘All Levels of Government’ Needed, Editorial Says
It has been "difficult over the years to get a good statistical handle on the size of the AIDS problem in this country," a New York Times editorial says, adding, "But by the latest and most sophisticated measurements, the disease continues to frustrate federal and local efforts to rein it in." A recent report from CDC about annual new HIV infections in the U.S. indicated that the number of people newly infected with the virus "is 40% higher than previously estimated," the editorial says, adding, "Using the new formula, the New York City health department estimated that the virus was spreading [in the city] at three times the national rate."
Increased efforts to control the spread of HIV/AIDS "by all levels of government are obviously required," according to the editorial. Despite the leadership shown by the Bush administration's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS globally, domestic spending "has been essentially flat," the editorial writes. It adds that the approximately $750 million spent by CDC each year on prevention has "helped hold the number of new HIV infections stable since 2000." However, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS has risen, "providing more opportunities for transmission," and there is a need for federal officials to "redouble their efforts to lower the rate of new infections," the editorial says.
The editorial writes that there is an "urgent need" for increased focus on "disproportionately infected" Hispanic and black communities, as well as men who have sex with men, "who are increasingly becoming less cautious." New York City's health department provides needle-exchange programs and tens of millions of no-cost condoms each year, and also urges testing and "tries hard to identify new cases and urges the sex partners of [HIV-positive people] to get tested," the editorial says, adding that "more is clearly needed." Stronger education campaigns in high-risk populations and no-cost, "easily accessible testing" to identify new cases are needed, the editorial writes, adding that around one-quarter of people living with HIV/AIDS are unaware of their status. "There was hope not long ago that the nation was bringing infections under control," the editorial says, concluding, "The recent bad news means that the crisis is still with us" (New York Times, 9/3).