People from across the globe recognize Dec.1 as World Aids Day to show support for people living with and affected by HIV, and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDs.
The Biden Administration has announced its renewed focus on ending the disease by 2030 through a five-year strategy in its updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) for the nation’s global response. The Administration is also releasing a new strategy to guide the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) globally.
Since 2003, PEPFAR has helped at least 12 high-disease-burdened countries bring HIV under control and has saved over 25 million lives, according to the Biden Administration. Its efforts to make HIV prevention and treatment services more accessible have achieved a 65 %reduction in new HIV cases in males 15 to 24 years old and a 50%reduction in new HIV cases among females the same age since 2010.
“We still have a hard road ahead, especially in addressing racial and gender gaps in our health systems, which have long driven inequitable HIV outcomes at home and abroad,” Biden said in a statement.
According to the World Health Organization, of the 38 million people living with HIV, 5.9 million people who know they have HIV are not receiving any treatment. A further 4 million people living with HIV have not yet been diagnosed.
“With global solidarity and bold leadership, we can make sure everyone receives the care they need,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General in a news release. “World AIDS Day is an opportunity to re-affirm and refocus on our shared commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV remains a persistent public health problem in the United States. In 2020, Black/African American people accounted for 42% of all new HIV diagnoses, and Hispanic/Latino people accounted for 27% of all new HIV diagnoses. The CDC notes that the most affected subpopulation is Black/African American gay and bisexual men.
Federal agencies have committed to nearly 400 related actions by launching the NHAS Federal Implementation plan in August 2022, working with stakeholders across the country to make the latest advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment available to everyone.
President Joe Biden requested $850 million for HIV prevention and care programs in his 2023 budget. The budget also proposed the creation of a 10-year $9.8 billion National PrEP Program to guarantee PrEP at no cost for all uninsured and underinsured individuals, provide essential wrap-around services through states and localities, and establish a network of community providers to reach underserved areas and populations.
“As we today honor the 700,000 Americans and 40 million lives lost worldwide to AIDS-related illnesses over the years, we have new hope in our hearts. We finally have the scientific understanding, treatments, and tools to build an AIDS-free future where everyone — no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love — can get the care and respect they deserve,” Biden said in a statement.