Obama Administration Plans National Strategy To Combat HIV/AIDS
On Tuesday, the Obama administration is expected to unveil the first-ever coordinated national strategy to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic by reducing HIV infections and HIV-related health disparities, increasing care quality and expanding access to services, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/10).
More than 1.1 million U.S. residents are HIV-positive, and about 56,000 individuals contract HIV annually, the administration said.
Changes to Current Strategy
The government currently spends $19 billion annually on domestic HIV/AIDS programs, and the strategy does not call for a significant boost in federal funding, the New York Times reports.
Instead, the plan redirects financial resources to the highest-risk areas and population groups, including blacks, gay and bisexual men and states with the highest "burden of disease."
To increase quality of life for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and to prevent proliferation of the disease, the administration has proposed that by 2015:
- The annual number of new HIV infections be reduced by 25%;
- The HIV transmission rate be reduced by 30%;
- The proportion of patients accessing care within three months of diagnosis increase from the current 65% to 85%; and
- The number of infected individuals aware of their HIV status increase from the current rate of 79% to 90%.
Development of Initiative
The administration took 15 months to develop the strategy, which comes amid growing dissatisfaction of advocacy groups and state governments about federal attention and funding to HIV/AIDS programs (Pear, New York Times, 7/11).
However, advocates thus far have lauded the strategy as a key investment that could rekindle the sense of urgency of the epidemic and act as a catalyst for a simplified patient treatment experience (Steadman, Kaiser Health News, 7/12).
Chris Collins, vice president and policy director for the Foundation for AIDS Research, said that he is hopeful that the strategy will "point us to a reformed and more effective effort on the domestic epidemic" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.