June 3, 2011
NMAC Statement on the 30th Anniversary of AIDS On June 5, 1981, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first recognized AIDS. The following is a statement from National Minority AIDS Council Deputy Executive Director Daniel C. Montoya:
Washington, DC — “Thirty years into the AIDS epidemic, Americans continue to be infected at a rate of one every nine and a half minutes. HIV infections are on the rise among gay and bisexual men, as well as Asians and Pacific Islanders. Meanwhile, heterosexual women, especially women of color, are bearing an increasingly heavy burden of the epidemic. Three decades after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recognized AIDS, the epidemic continues to ravage our communities.
“And yet despite this startling reality, HIV/AIDS appears to have fallen off much of the public’s radar. Certainly, we have come a long way in combating the disease. But the epidemic persists. While prevention efforts have cut annual infections from 130,000 in the 1980s, to approximately 56,000 today, this infection rate has not budged in over a decade. And while improvements in treatment have helped bring down the death rate 77 percent from its peak, HIV/AIDS continues to kill an average of 18,000 people in the U.S. every year.
“This anniversary is a critical opportunity to recommit ourselves to ending this epidemic. We can and must do better. Health care reform and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy have provided a much needed boost to the movement, supplying the tools to reduce infections, increase access to care and mitigate health disparities. But fears over the deficit have called these programs into question, despite the fact that preventing all annual infections for just one year would save $20 billion in lifetime medical costs. Thirty years into the epidemic, we simply cannot afford the status quo.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy (202) 483-6622 ext. 333