US & World

U.S. Approach To Curbing HIV/AIDS Set For Change

The administration will soon unveil a new strategy to fight HIV/AIDS that will emphasize cutting infection rates and increasing the rate of treatment for newly diagnosed patients.

Just because the number of people dying from AIDS has been dropping, doesn't mean it's time to rest easy.

Instead, the administration, is poised this week to unveil a revamped public health strategy to cut the yearly number of new HIV infections in the U.S. by one-quarter within five years, the New York Times reports.

By 2015, the government will also seek to improve the rates of treatment for people within three months of diagnosis of infection with the immunity-sapping virus -- to 85 percent from 65 percent, the paper writes, citing a final draft of an administration report the Times obtained.

Come Tuesday, we should all know what's up. That's when President Obama is expected to unveil the details of the administration's national AIDS strategy, some 15 months in the making.

Don't expect lots more spending on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The administration instead will shift funds to high-priority groups, including African-Americans and gay and bisexual men, the Times reports.

But money to fight AIDS is already tough to come by in many states across the country. To trim budgets, many states are cutting back on health programs, including those for prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

As Julie Scofield, executive director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors told Shots in late March, "We've never adequately funded prevention in this country — at any level: federal, state, or local." Budget cuts, she said, only are making matters worse.

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