Vision for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.
When one of our fellow citizens becomes infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) every nine-and-a-half minutes, the empidemic affects all Americans. It has been nearly thirty years since the first cases of HIV garnered the world’s attention. Without treatment, the virus slowly debilitates a person’s immune system until the succumb to illness. The epidemic has claimed the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans and affects many more. Our Nation is at a crossroads. We have the knowledge and tools needed to slow the spread of HIV infection and improve the health of people living with HIV. Despite this potential, however, the public’s sense of urgency associated with combating the epidemic appears to be declining. In 1995, 44% of the general public indicated that HIV/AIDS was the most urgent health problem facing the Nation, compared to only 6% in March of 2009. While HIV transmission rates have been reduced substantially over time and people with HIV are living longer and more productive lives, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year and more Americans are living with HIV than ever before. Unless we take bold actions, we face a new era of rising infections, greater challenges in serving people living with HIV, and higher health care costs.President Obama committed to developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy with three primary goals: 1) reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV, 2) increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV, and 3) reducing HIV-related health disparities. To accomplish these goals, we must undertake a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic. The Strategy is intended to be a concise plan that will identify a set of priorities and strategic action steps tied to measurable outcomes. Accompanying the Strategy is a Federal Implementation Plan that outlines the specific steps to be taken by various Federal agencies to support the high-level priorities outlined in the Strategy. This is an ambitious plan that will challenge us to meet all the goals that we set. The job, however, does not fall to the Federal Government alone, nor should it. Success will require the commitment of all parts of society, including State, tribal and local governments, businessess, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others.
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