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President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy Is a Step in the Right Direction
Today, the Obama administration announced a comprehensive, five-year plan of action to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) applauds this commonsense plan that aims to reduce by 25 percent the number of people who become infected with HIV in the next five years; increase access to care as part of an effort to improve health outcomes for those living with HIV; and reduce HIV-related health disparities by intensifying HIV prevention efforts.
“Nearly 60,000 people are needlessly infected with HIV each year; meaning thousands are suffering and dying, and we we've got an urgent ongoing human tragedy on our hands. President Obama's bold plan is part of the solution,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “This plan recommits our nation to combating the HIV epidemic, and it does so with a welcome emphasis on women's health by recognizing the important role reproductive health and family planning providers like Planned Parenthood can play.”
President Obama’s HIV/AIDS strategy refocuses HIV prevention efforts by calling on all levels of government to allocate public funding to communities and populations where the epidemic is most prevalent, without a massive increase in spending. The strategy calls on state and local health departments to target prevention efforts to high-risk populations, especially African-Americans, Latinos, substance abusers, and gay and bisexual men. There will also be a focus on effective, evidence-based approaches and education outreach so that all Americans learn how to best protect themselves.
The new strategy, introduced by Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the White House, will not only focus on reducing the number of new HIV infections but will also address social factors such as housing and poverty and will work to end the stigma and discrimination faced by those living with HIV/AIDS.
In particular, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy recognizes the importance of integrating HIV/AIDS care with other important health care services such as family planning, and it calls for better inclusion of reproductive health care providers in efforts to reduce incidence and expand access to care.
Planned Parenthood health centers across the country combat HIV/AIDS by providing a wide range of health care services and resources for patients to help them fight against the disease. In 2008, Planned Parenthood provided nearly 450,000 HIV tests to patients at little or no cost. According to the Guttmacher Institute, one in three women who received HIV testing or underwent testing, treatment or counseling for other STIs did so at publicly funded family planning centers like Planned Parenthood.
For more information about HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, please visit www.plannedparenthood.org or call 1-800-PLAN to find a Planned Parenthood health center near you.