AHF lauds President for newfound focus on the Southern US, where the epidemic has been exploding, but says greater focus—and resources—should be dedicated to ‘treatment as prevention’ to identify and link the 70% of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS today who do not have their virus suppressed. HIV/AIDS patients on treatment are 96% less likely to pass on their infection to others.
WASHINGTON (July 30, 2015) In response to the release of an updated National AIDS Strategy earlier today by the White House, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, released the following statement:
“AHF applauds President Obama for a newfound and stepped up focus on the Southern United States, where the epidemic has been exploding over the past decade; however, we believe a much greater focus—and commensurate resources—need to be dedicated to ‘treatment as prevention’ in order to identify and link the 70% of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS today who do not have their virus suppressed. HIV/AIDS patients successfully on treatment are rendered 96% less infectious, meaning they are far less likely to be able to pass on their infection to uninfected individuals. Treatment as prevention is a far more prudent public health approach to really breaking the chain of new infections than a widespread public health strategy that includes an overreliance on PrEP, a prevention method which relies far too heavily on patient adherence to a $13,000 a year daily drug regimen by people who do not have an infection or disease.”
For the past decade, the number of new HIV infections in the US has stubbornly hovered around 50,000 new cases annually. Since President Obama first released his initial National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States on July 12, 2010, the number of new HIV infections in the US actually increased slightly: 45,136 new HIV infections identified in 2010, the year the strategy was first released, up to 47,352 infections identified in 2013, the last year for which CDC data are available.
“What we really need from President Obama and this White House on AIDS is more action and less strategy,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.