How have federal efforts to prevent HIV affected the epidemic? That’s the subject of a new report from the O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health at Georgetown Law, and the answer can be found in the report’s title: Federal Investments Are Saving Lives and Strengthening Communities.
You can read and download a free PDF version of the 20-page issue brief here. It has been released to coincide with the 25th anniversary AIDSWatch 2018. Held March 26 and 27, it’s a gathering in Washington, DC, during which people living with HIV educate lawmakers on the Hill about issues important to them.
Prepared by Jeffrey Crowley, the program director of Infectious Disease Initiatives at the O’Neill Institute, and Sean Bland, a senior associate, the report is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is supported by a grant from Gilead Sciences.
“This issue brief examines the dynamic nature of the HIV epidemic in the United States to assess what our country has accomplished, where things stand and where continued federal leadership and funding are needed to keep reducing the size and scope of the HIV epidemic,” said the authors in a press release about the report.
The report offers a quick overview of the U.S. epidemic:
- Nearly 2 million people have contracted HIV in the United States.
- Over 700,000 have died of AIDS-related illness.
- Today, about 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV.
- New infections have dropped from more than 130,000 each year in the 1980s to about 40,000 annually in recent years.
- Gay and bisexual men remain most affected, accounting for about 70 percent of new infections.
- Southern states are disproportionately impacted, making up about half of new HIV diagnoses but containing 38 percent of the U.S. population.
- African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately affected by the epidemic.
In imagining future progress, the report states that “testing, treatment and PrEP are a powerful combination.” It recommends that federal investments must support innovative ways to:
- Integrate surveillance and clinical care data systems;
- Interrupt HIV transmission within sexual and drug-using networks;
- Improve the tailoring and integration of services to the highest need communities;
- Develop long-acting prevention and therapeutic options; and
- Promote jurisdictional plans to end HIV as a public health threat.