National HIV/AIDS Strategy Aims to Reduce Infections, Improve Access to Care

July 14, 2010

The Obama administration%u2019s new national HIV and AIDS strategy focuses heavily on improving access to care and reducing infections.

The Obama administration announced a national HIV and AIDS strategy on July 13 that focuses heavily on improving access to care and reducing infections, according to an Associated Press report.

Officials said the new plan reflects a nation at a turning point in its fight against the epidemic.

While medical breakthroughs have greatly improved quality of life for the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV, the U.S. has struggled to lower the rate of new infections. The new strategy sets a goal of reducing new infections by 25% over the next five years.

About 56,000 people in the U.S. become infected each year, a rate that has held steady for about a decade.

"We've been keeping pace when we should be gaining ground," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a White House event announcing the strategy.

The plan calls for a renewed focus on increasing access to care, with the goal of getting treatment for 85% of patients within three months of their diagnosis; concentrating HIV prevention efforts at the highest-risk populations, which include gay and bisexual men as well as black Americans; and increasing education about the virus, even in communities with low rates of infection.

"The progress we've made in the past 30 years has come with an unintended side affect—Americans have become less fearful of HIV and AIDS," Sebelius said. "We can't afford that kind of complacency."

For more information on the new strategy, visit this page from the Kaiser Family Foundation.