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Planned Parenthood Urges Action in the Domestic Fight Against HIV/AIDS
Calls for Comprehensive Prevention Strategy and Increased Investment in Preventive Care
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) expressed concern over the findings of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report showing that the number of new HIV infections is 40 percent higher than previously estimated.
“This epidemic is much worse than we ever thought,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “The CDC’s startling numbers highlight our need to focus more resources on our public health safety net and on prevention services. Planned Parenthood clinics across the country are on the front lines in the battle against HIV/AIDS. From HIV and other STI testing to community-based prevention services to teaching comprehensive sex education, we work every day to help combat HIV/AIDS. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we develop a national prevention strategy to reduce HIV/AIDS in this country.”
The CDC now estimates that in 2006, 56,300 people became infected with HIV, significantly higher than the previous estimate of 40,000 people. The report also highlights that HIV infection has its greatest impact among gay and bisexual men of all races (53 percent of all new infections) and among African-American men and women.
In a separate report released prior to the recent CDC study, the Black AIDS Institute noted that the African-American community “continue[s] to bear a disproportionate share of the AIDS epidemic” and that more than 500,000 African Americans are living with HIV.
Planned Parenthood health centers across the country provide a wide range of information and resources for patients in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide offer HIV testing, and in 2006 provided more than 300,000 HIV tests to patients, often times at little or no cost.
The CDC findings demonstrate the need for a well-funded comprehensive strategy to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS that would include efforts to address and reduce health care disparities that affect at-risk communities. A comprehensive prevention strategy would involve tracking the epidemic and developing prevention programs that include testing services, education, and efforts aimed at high-risk populations.
“We know what works in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Richards. “Prevention programs work; sex education works; condoms work. As a health care provider, these are services that Planned Parenthood has been providing in order to combat this public health crisis. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we devote resources toward the development of a national prevention strategy that includes investing in effective prevention programs that work.”
For more information about HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, please visit http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ or call 1-800-PLAN to find a Planned Parenthood health center near you.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 880 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.