On World AIDS Day 2017, AAHIVM Says We Have the Tools to End the Epidemic

On World AIDS Day 2017, AAHIVM Says We Have the Tools to End the Epidemic

Points to Healthcare Infrastructure as the Key in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS


Washington, DC: The American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM), the nation’s largest independent HIV provider organization, today celebrated the advances in the fight against HIV/AIDS, declaring that we have all the necessary knowledge, tools and expertise to effectively end the epidemic. However, success is contingent upon a solid healthcare infrastructure capable of providing reliable and consistent access to care, treatment and prevention.

“We have everything we need to end this epidemic, especially in the United States,” stated James Friedman, executive director of AAHIVM. “But our success relies on keeping the fabric of our healthcare system intact by protecting and growing payers and programs such as the Ryan White Program and the expansion of Medicaid.”

Progress can be seen the Centers for Disease Control’s most recent report using prevalence data through the end of 2014, 85% of the 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV were diagnosed and knew they had HIV.2,3   Sixty-two percent of people living with HIV were then linked to care. Forty-eight percent were retained in care and 49% achieved viral suppression. That nearly half of all patients in the U.S. with HIV have achieved viral suppression was a significant improvement. This number is likely due to revised treatment guidelines in 2012 recommending that all persons with HIV be treated with antiretroviral treatment (ART), as well as expanded availability of testing and treatment.

Significant progress in prevention was noted by the decrease in new HIV infections in 2014 to 37,600 new infections from a previous number of about 50,000, an 18% decline in new infections from 2008 to 2014. Adding to the prevention arsenal, the CDC issued he first practice guideline on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in 2014, which has become a critical component of HIV prevention over the past three years.

We are seeing significant drops in large urban areas. For example, a new report released by the New York City Department of Health reveals that HIV cases have reached a historic low in New York City. The report showed 2,279 new diagnoses were recorded in 2016 – a nine percent drop from the 2,493 new cases in 2015.

On this World AIDS Day, AAHIVM calls upon the federal government not to take a step backwards by cutting funding to the programs that are essential to the success we are seeing, but rather expand them into rural and poorer parts of the country and the southeast, where new infection numbers remain high.

For instance, the Ryan White Program services more than 500,000 people – over half of the people living with HIV in the US who have been diagnosed. The Program is critical to meet the health care needs of PLWH and improve health outcomes. In 2015, 83% of Ryan White clients had reached viral suppression making them non-transmittable. However, the Trump Administration’s recommended budget called for the elimination of two key programs within the Ryan White Program, as well as the elimination of the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, which as shown marked success in health outcomes in 31 projects across the country.

“We have a map in our hands that can lead us directly to the finish line,” stated Friedman. “The government needs to stop installing political speed bumps to slow us down.”

World AIDS Day is observed on December 1st each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

To arrange an interview with a representative from AAHIVM, please contact Amber McCracken at 202-659-0699 x13 or amber@aahivm.org.

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The American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) is a professional organization that supports the HIV practitioner and promotes accessible, quality care for all Americans living with HIV disease. Our membership of HIV practitioners and credentialed providers give direct care to the majority of HIV patients in the US.