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U.S. News

Major Shift in HIV Strategy

July 14, 2010

Advocates are hopeful that the National HIV/AIDS Strategy's focus on coordinating local, state, and federal responses to the epidemic will clarify resources available to patients and streamline treatment and counseling services. President Barack Obama unveiled the much-anticipated plan Tuesday at the White House.

"For the Bay Area and San Francisco, the plan allows a more coordinated effort between communities and federal agencies," said Jason Riggs, deputy director of Stop AIDS Project in San Francisco.

Critics noted that 2,200 Americans were on waiting lists for subsidized AIDS treatment as of early July. Though the administration last week pledged $25 million to help these patients, waiting lists are a disincentive for testing, said Michael Weinstein, president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Joseph4GI (Stockton, CA 95211) Thu., Jul. 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm UTC
President Obama should be commended in his efforts in fighting HIV and AIDS. However, I am worried that the White House will adopt the position that circumcision is effective HIV prevention. Recently, promoters of circumcision have been trying very hard to use trials in Africa to push circumcision as HIV prevention policy, and I hope that the White House has enough sense to consider some important realities.

In America, for example, 80% of men are already circumcised from birth. The rates of infant circumcision are dropping, but at large, the population remains circumcised. These rates are at their highest in the east coast, where cities such as Philadelphia and Washington DC rival HIV hotspots in South Africa. In the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic first hit, the rate of circumcised men in America was at 90%. One needs to question how something that never worked here in our own country is suddenly going to wonders in Africa.

In other countries, the "protection" remains to be seen as well. AIDS is a rising problem in Israel, where the majority of the male population is already circumcised. Last week on July 7th , Malaysian AIDS Council vice-president Datuk Zaman Khan announced that than 70% of the 87,710 HIV/AIDS sufferers in the country are Muslims (in other words CIRCUMCISED).

Reports in Africa are saying that HIV rates are falling, and that this is due to a change in behavior, such as more condom use, and having less sexual partners. Ultimately, whether or not one is at risk for HIV transmission depends entirely on behavior, and not whether or not one has been circumcised. It is my sincerest hope that in his efforts to stem HIV transmission, that our president concentrates on methods that have been conclusively proven to work. In these hard economic times, promoting and subsidizing radical surgical procedure with dubious benefits is a waste of money that could be better spent on condoms, education and awareness.
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