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U.S. Plans New Strategy for HIV/AIDS


[sb: now to get the same treatment for us]

By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: July 12, 2010

The Obama administration plans to unveil a new AIDS strategy Tuesday, aimed at reducing new infections and increasing the number of HIV-positive people getting care.

Details of the program are to be announced at a White House press conference, but the New York Times, citing a leaked draft of the plan, said the administration aims to reduce the annual number of new infections by 25% within five years.

Currently, there are an estimated 56,000 new infections yearly and the number of people living with HIV is more than a million, according to the CDC. That works out to about one new infection every nine and a half minutes.

Still, tens of thousands of HIV-positive people are not receiving any care -- care that would, the report said, prolong their own lives and reduce the spread of the virus to others. The goal should be, the report said, to increase by 2015 the proportion of newly diagnosed patients linked to clinical care within three months of diagnosis to 85% from the current 65%.

In other HIV-oriented administration actions, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that $25 million will be reallocated to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program to reduce the length of waiting lists. More than $800 million has already been allocated to the program this year.

According to the New York Times, the White House report's main additional points are:

* Too few people with the virus know their status. The proportion should increase from 75% to 90% by 2015.
* Federal spending on testing and prevention does not match the need, and the federal government should give more money to states with the highest burden of disease.
* "More attention and resources" should be devoted to gay and bisexual men and to African Americans, who account, respectively, for more than half of new infections each year and for 46% of people living with HIV.
* The HIV transmission rate should be reduced by 30% in five years. Now, about five of every 100 people with HIV transmit the virus to someone in a given year.