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HIV Still An Epidemic

HIV Still An Epidemic - Despite recent HIV prevention efforts, current interventions are not effective enough to change the trajectory of the HIV epidemic in the United States, said Ronald Valdiserri, MD, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Infectious Diseases, in an address here at the 2010 National Summit on HIV Diagnosis, Prevention, and Access to Care.

"The desire to 'scale-up' partner services, HIV screening, structural level interventions, and evaluations may be implemented, but do not have enough impact to effect change," Dr. Valdiserri told meeting attendees.

In August 2010, the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention reported that the trajectory of the HIV epidemic is continuing its upward swing.

To improve HIV prevention goals, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted an analysis that projects what the HIV epidemic in the United States might look like in 10 years if rapid expansion of HIV prevention strategies, or a "rapid scale-up," are implemented instead of the current status quo.

The study reveals that maintaining the current prevention strategies could put the nation at risk for a substantial increase in rates of HIV and costs to the American healthcare system.

Lifetime medical care for individuals infected with HIV costs the United States an estimated $20 billion each year. Those most affected by the HIV epidemic are gay and bisexual men of all races, African Americans, Latinos, and injection drug users. The current economic crisis, the increasing HIV prevalence, and complacency about HIV create challenges in the fight against HIV.

Rapid expansion of HIV prevention efforts is the most likely way of reducing the number of new HIV infections in the United States, and would save the healthcare system up to 25 times the amount that would need to be invested in prevention, according to the CDC researchers.

HIV Still An Epidemic

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