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CDC Statement on World AIDS Day

December 1, 2015

Today is World AIDS Day, a day when people around the world take collective action against HIV. This year's theme, "The Time to Act Is Now," is especially relevant with today's release of the White House National HIV/AIDS Strategy Action Plan. This plan details steps to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States: Updated to 2020 (NHAS) released this past summer. The Action Plan provides steps to advance the vision of becoming a nation where HIV infections are rare.

One of the measures called for is the scale-up of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication that is effective at preventing HIV infection. The use of PrEP with other proven prevention tools offers heightened potential to reduce the number of new infections. However, recently released data indicate that we still have a lot of work to do to increase the use of PrEP. According to a new edition of CDC's Vital Signs, released last week, more than one million adults who are at substantial risk for HIV could potentially benefit from PrEP. But nationwide, only one in three primary care doctors and nurses is aware of PrEP.

There are several strategies that are effective at scaling up PrEP use. For example, New York State has increased the use of PrEP among patients covered by Medicaid. As described in a recent MMWR, New York State made PrEP-related materials available through the state health department's website, conducted trainings, and held public forums to educate both potential prescribers and those at risk.


CDC is expanding the use of PrEP through a variety of activities, including new PrEP and Data-to-Care health department demonstration projects. In addition, CDC supports other prevention programs, such as:

  • Providing $339 million annually in funding to health departments to develop and implement HIV prevention programs, including testing, linkage to and retention in care, prevention with positives, and other effective interventions.
  • Awarding $43 million annually to community-based organizations to improve HIV outcomes across the continuum of care, including linking people diagnosed with HIV to care, helping them get and stay in treatment, and providing them with prevention counseling and other support services.
  • Piloting HIV testing programs in urban and rural pharmacies.
  • Raising awareness about HIV prevention through Act Against AIDS campaigns such as Start Talking. Stop HIV.

These efforts support action on the ground to prevent HIV infections and to ensure people with HIV are linked to care as soon as possible and remain in treatment. We look forward to continuing conversations about achieving high impact prevention next week, when more than 3,000 scientists, public health officials, community workers, clinicians, and persons living with HIV will gather for the 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta.

As we reflect on the toll of HIV on World AIDS Day, let us take heart from the many advancements we have seen in the fight against AIDS and gain renewed energy for the future actions we can take together to reduce HIV and AIDS in the United States and throughout the world.

Jonathan H. Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., is director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eugene McCray, M.D., is the director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.


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