Obama Administration Prepares To Announce First National HIV StrategyKaiser Health News: "Federal officials plan to announce Tuesday a national strategy designed to ramp up and better coordinate the government's attack on the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic." Many HIV/AIDS advocates "say many more resources need to be committed to fight the disease, especially considering it doesn't get the attention it once did. The expected announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services comes as state programs that provide AIDS drugs to patients with HIV grapple with growing waiting lists for the drugs. More than 2,000 patients are on the waiting lists. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced July 8 that she will provide $25 million to states to help pay for the drug treatments, which average more than $12,000 a year. Even so, some advocacy groups said the aid 'falls short' of the need" (Steadman, 7/12).
The New York Times, which has a "final draft" of the report, says that the "administration calls for steps to reduce the annual number of new H.I.V. infections by 25 percent within five years" but does not provide a major funding boost. "It says the administration will redirect money to areas with the greatest need and population groups at greatest risk, including gay and bisexual men and African-Americans." Some of the report's key points include: "By 2015, the proportion of people with H.I.V. who know of their condition should be increased to 90 percent, from 79 percent today; The new health care law will significantly expand access to care for people with H.I.V., but federal efforts like the Ryan White program will still be needed to fill gaps in services; Federal spending on H.I.V. testing and prevention does not match the need; States with the lowest numbers of H.I.V./AIDS cases often receive the most money per case. The federal government should allocate more of the money to states with the highest burden of disease" (Pear, 7/11). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.