AHF: U.S. AIDS Strategy Falling Short

In News by AHF

A UNAIDS report shows the U.S. is lagging in the global battle against HIV and AIDS and notes that U.S. infection rates are double that of Western Europe; AHF says statistics underscore need for total overhaul of U.S. approach to testing, linkage and access to care and treatment.

WASHINGTON (July 17, 2014) A new UNAIDS report released yesterday ahead of the 20th International AIDS Conference, which convenes next week in Australia, shows that the U.S. is lagging in the overall global battle against HIV and AIDS and shows that U.S. infection rates are double that of Western Europe and other wealthy nations.

The disheartening statistics underscore the need for a total overhaul of the U.S. approach to testing, linkage and access to care and treatment, and prompted officials from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to call for immediate and dramatic changes in the United States’ approach to its handling of its epidemic.

An article in the Miami Herald (July 17, 2014, by John Zarocostas McClatchy Foreign Staff) on the U.N. report headlined, ‘U.N. report: U.S. losing battle against HIV,’ noted that, “…inadequate treatment and a drop-off in awareness [are] among the reasons the U.S. carries a disproportionate share of HIV and AIDS cases among wealthy nations.”

“We simply cannot achieve global AIDS control and halt the spread of the virus without a radical overhaul of how we approach HIV testing, linkage and treatment access—and nowhere is this more apparent and more needed than in the U.S., which is falling woefully short in its handling of its portion of the global AIDS epidemic,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Massive—and innovative—scale up of testing and linkage to care and treatment must now be the order of the day in the U.S. as well as around the globe.”

The Miami Herald article also noted, ‘The report by UNAIDS, the agency that monitors HIV and AIDS throughout the world, said the United States accounted last year for 54 percent of the estimated 88,000 new HIV infections in Western and Central Europe and North America, and 69 percent of the 27,000 AIDS-related deaths in those areas. The report blames the high death rate in the United States on “late diagnosis of HIV, poor treatment adherence and high levels of early treatment discontinuation.” For comparison, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany each accounted for 2 percent of the 27,000 deaths.’ (Link to a bar graph offering a comparison of the HIV Care Continuum in the US versus the U.K.)

“We need a radical rethinking of how the U.S. handles AIDS here at home,” added Weinstein.

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