December 19, 2012
Washington, D.C. -- Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that new HIV infections in 2010 remained stable at approximately 50,000 in the United States. "We must not become complacent in our efforts to prevent HIV," commented Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. "Fifty thousand new infections every year is 50,000 too many. However, we are hopeful with the new prevention tools available and the leadership from the Obama Administration with its National HIV/AIDS Strategy, this number can be reduced in the coming years."
While the CDC reported reductions of new HIV infections among women and injection drug users, for gay men the number of new cases increased by 12 percent since 2008. Particularly alarming was the 22 percent increase among young gay men (ages 13-24) which was mostly driven by the 38 percent increase among young black gay men. Over half of all new infections (56 percent) are occurring in people less than 35 years old, with 26 percent occurring in those ages 13-24.
"Because gay men account for 66 percent of all new infections, we must increase the focus of our prevention programs for gay men, particularly young and black gay men," said Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. "With the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and its emphasis on directing resources to those communities and areas most impacted by HIV, which includes gay men, we hope the number of new infections will decrease as the Strategy is implemented. While we are seeing evidence that the CDC is following the Strategy, we hope the same can be said out in the field."
While the National HIV/AIDS Strategy calls for age appropriate HIV prevention education, more must be done for our youth and in our schools. Ignoring the issue at the federal, state and local level is wrong and irresponsible.
"We have the tools to prevent HIV, and we have the leadership from the Obama Administration. We also need Congress' commitment to provide continued funding to turn the tide on HIV in the U.S.," added Ruppal. "With a record number of people living with HIV in the U.S., we know it will take some time, but with the proper policies and funding, we can envision an AIDS-free generation."