December 01, 2011
1 min read

Officials reflect on the effect of HIV on World AIDS Day

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Today marks World AIDS Day, and in conjunction with this year's theme — “Leading with Science, Uniting for Action” — the CDC has launched a national HIV campaign to help raise awareness — "Testing Makes Us Stronger".

"World AIDS Day is a time to reflect on the impact of HIV, the lessons learned, the lives saved and lives lost," Kevin A. Fenton, MD, PhD, FFPH, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, told Infectious Disease in Children. "This day is a call to action to continue to build upon our efforts to prevent HIV. This week, in observance of World AIDS Day, CDC published an HIV-themed Vital Signs report and launched a new, national HIV awareness campaign."

“Getting testing and treatment to those in need remains one of our greatest challenges,” Kathleen Squires, MD, immediate past president of the HIV Medicine Association, and chair of the division of infectious diseases at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, said in a press release.

According to the CDC, The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other global efforts resulted in an estimated 6.6 million people in low-income and middle-income countries receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS at the end of 2010 — representing the largest annual increase in those accessing HIV treatment.

Despite these improvements, CDC officials estimate 50,000 people are infected with HIV every year, and approximately 1.2 million in the United States are living with HIV infection.

"HIV testing is the gateway to the most effective prevention tools we have," Fenton said. "Physicians can offer patients HIV tests as a routine part of medical care. For those patients who are infected, they can provide appropriate treatment, work to retain them in care and provide prevention services to prevent transmission of HIV."

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