CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateUNITED STATES: Obama Orders Stepped Up Effort Against U.S. HIV/AIDS Epidemic
By Yasmeen Abutaleb, Reuters
July 17, 2013
Chicago Tribune (07.15.2013)
In response to criticism of his Administration’s HIV/AIDS efforts, President Obama commissioned the HIV Care Continuum Working Group to review HIV research and federal HIV data and recommend improvements to HIV treatment and care in the United States. Citing new studies that indicated “aggressive testing and early treatment” could prevent HIV transmission, Obama’s order called for better coordination of the US effort. The working group, chaired by Office of National AIDS Policy Director Grant Colfax and US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, must deliver recommendations to Obama within 180 days.
Under the Affordable Care Act, all 15- to 65-year-olds would be eligible for HIV screening, which is consistent with new US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations. Although the new order would supplement Obama’s 2010 National AIDS Strategy, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein was not optimistic the new direction would be sufficient to achieve Obama’s stated goal of an AIDS-free generation in the United States. Weinstein suggested the United States could learn from other countries where HIV rates have declined.
CDC reported that the US HIV prevalence rate has remained steady at approximately 50,000 for the past decade. In July 2012, an Emory University team found that HIV incidence among US black gay and bisexual men was as high as HIV rates in hard-hit sub-Saharan Africa.