Presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama (D–Ill.) and John McCain (R–Ariz.) responded to the underestimating of U.S. HIV infections over the last decade by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to AIDS 2008 (, 8/3).

Obama released this statement:

“We have now learned that 56,300 new HIV infections occurred in the United States in 2006, not 40,000 that had been previously cited. These new figures should bring new focus to our efforts to address AIDS and HIV here at home.

“As president, I am committed to developing a National AIDS Strategy to decrease new HIV infections and improve health outcomes for Americans living with HIV/AIDS. Across the nation, we also need to prevent the spread of HIV and get people into treatment by expanding access to testing and comprehensive education programs. This report also demonstrates the need for more timely data about HIV transmission so that we can effectively evaluate prevention efforts.

“Combating HIV/AIDS also demands closing the gaps in opportunity that exist in our society so that we can strengthen our public health. We must also overcome the stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS—a stigma that is too often tied to homophobia. We need to encourage folks to get tested and accelerate HIV/AIDS research toward an effective cure because we have a moral obligation to join together to meet this challenge, and to do so with the urgency this epidemic demands.”

McCain released this statement:

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday announced that in 2006 there were 56,300 new HIV infections in United States—significantly higher than the previous estimate of 40,000 cases. More than a million Americans live with this devastating disease. As President, I will work closely with non-profit, government and private sector stakeholders to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS. By focusing efforts on reducing drug costs through greater market competition, promoting prevention efforts, encouraging testing, targeting communities with high infection rates, strengthening research and reducing disparities through effective public outreach, we as a nation can make great progress in fighting HIV/AIDS.”