AHF to Dr. Fauci and the CDC: "Show Us the AIDS Numbers"
U.S.' Largest AIDS Organization Demands Immediate Release of New AIDS Data Referred to By NIAID's Director Dr. Anthony Fauci at U.N. AIDS Meeting Showing Higher Rate of Infection, Calls for Massive Increase in HIV Testing Nationwide
June 11, 2008
New York -- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is calling for the immediate release of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest HIV incidence numbers, after Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) referred to them while in attendance at the United Nations' 2008 High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York this week. The US' largest AIDS organization and operator of free AIDS treatment clinics in the U.S., Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, also called for massive scale-up of HIV testing throughout the nation.
Reuters India reported today in Better Counting Raises HIV Rate in the U.S. by 25 Percent (Daniel Bases, 6/11/08): "Researchers have been undercounting new cases of HIV infection in the United States, meaning the rate is probably 25 percent higher at 50,000 people per year, the nation's top AIDS doctor said on Tuesday."
Despite this alarming rise and the urging of AIDS advocacy groups to release the data, the CDC has yet to reveal the 2005 HIV incidence rate. In a community letter dated November 26, 2007 and sent to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and others, the CDC revealed its plan to release the 2005 HIV incidence estimates "in the coming months" and stated that the information was being submitted to "an academic journal for peer review to ensure that the methods, emerging data, and conclusions are carefully reviewed for scientific accuracy and rigor before they are published."
"Where is this information to which Dr. Fauci is referring? And, why is such crucial information about the nation's AIDS epidemic being withheld and released only in dribs and drabs -- not even by the agency charged with handling it -- the CDC -- but by NIAID?" said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "AHF demands an immediate release of the new CDC data -- something we have been calling for since as far back as November -- so that urgently-needed steps may be taken to address the nation's growing epidemic. How many new infections have there been in the eight months since the CDC's promise to release the latest figures? The release of the data and a scale-up of HIV testing nationwide must be an urgent priority."
According to Reuters India: "Fauci, attending the United Nations' 2008 High Level Meeting on AIDS, told reporters the previous methods had shown the rate of new infections in the United States had hit a plateau at around 40,000 per year for the past 14 years Instead of using an extrapolated mathematical model to come up with the rate of new infections, he said, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was now relying on better counting of more groups, households and regions. The number went up to about 50,000. That doesn't mean that the actual rate of new infections increased. It means that we are now no longer missing counting the ones that we missed early," Fauci said. "It was always 50,000 a year.'"
This article was provided by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.