Dream of an AIDS-Free Generation More Real Than Ever
Washington, DC – Tomorrow, December 1, marks the 25th annual World AIDS Day, a day for remembrance, reflection and action. The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) is proud to stand with the domestic and international AIDS community in renewing its commitment to ending this epidemic, which has ravaged the globe for more than three decades. The theme this year, “Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation,” perfectly reflects the moment in which our movement finds itself. Policy and science have aligned like never before, making it possible to realistically envision an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“We are at an historic moment in the fight against this global pandemic,” said NMAC Director of Legislative & Public Affairs Kali Lindsey. “Our movement, which started in response to a disease that no one else seemed willing or able to address, has grown to include a world-wide network of organizations, activists, care providers, businesses, government and international agencies, all working toward the common goal of eradicating HIV. Our decades of advocacy and investment have paid huge dividends. Treatments have improved, life expectancies have increased significantly and cutting edge research is providing very real hope that we will soon find a vaccine and, ultimately, a cure. But our work is far from over.”
“An alarming number of people continue to be infected,” continued Lindsey. “Here in the U.S., someone contracts HIV every ten and a half minutes. Most of these are gay men, especially black gay men, and an increasing number are under the age of 25. Almost one in five people living with HIV are unaware that they are infected, with large percentages of the population having never been tested at all. And while we have powerful new medications that can suppress the virus, improving health outcomes and preventing individuals from transmitting the disease to others, only about a quarter of those diagnosed with HIV are adherent to treatment and have achieved viral suppression.”
“We know what we have to do to end this epidemic,” concluded Lindsey. “Individuals that are aware of their status, on treatment, and who have achieved a suppressed viral load are more than 96 percent less likely to transmit the virus to others. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has released draft recommendations that every person between the ages of 15 and 64 be tested for HIV, regardless of so-called ‘risk category’. And the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will greatly expand access to preventive and care services. But we must remain vigilant that these policies are fully implemented and that Congress’ appetite for deficit reduction does not threaten the progress we have made over the last 31 years. NMAC is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the vision of an AIDS-free generation becomes reality. On this World AIDS Day, we urge everyone to join us.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 483-6622, ex. 333