Biden says HIV/AIDS strategy needs to face inequality
President Joe Biden announced his new HIV/AIDS strategy on Wednesday to end the more than 40-year epidemic, calling for renewed attention to vulnerable Americans-including gay and bisexual black and Latino men, and his government Claims that they are often stigmatized even if they are disproportionately affected.
The new strategy to declare racism a “public health threat” was released on the annual World AIDS Day anniversary. It is intended to serve as a framework for how the government formulates policies, research, plans, and plans for the next three years.
But Biden acknowledged that the country still needs to work to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS, and pointed out that LGBT and ethnic minorities “bear the brunt” of causing more than 36 million deaths worldwide, including 700,000 Americans.
Biden said: “I want to make sure that everyone in the United States knows their HIV status, that every person living with HIV gets the high-quality care and treatment they deserve, and ends the harmful stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.”
The new strategy asserts that, for generations, “structural inequality has led to serious, far-reaching, and unacceptable differences in racial and ethnic health.”
Today’s HIV treatment can not only bring the life expectancy of HIV-infected people close to normal, but also reduce the possibility of these patients infecting other people. There are also drugs that can help protect healthy people who are at risk of infecting sexual partners. This strategy is called “pre-exposure prevention” or PreP.
From 2015 to 2019, the rate of new HIV infections in the United States dropped by approximately 8%. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black and Latino communities—especially gay and bisexual men in these groups—continue to be disproportionately affected.
African Americans account for approximately 13% of the U.S. population, but account for more than 40% of new infections. The Latino population accounts for nearly 25% of new infections, but approximately 18.5% of the U.S. population.
Historically, gay and bisexual men are the most severely affected groups. According to the CDC, although they only account for 2% of the population, they account for approximately 66% of new HIV infections. In 2019, 26% of new HIV infections were black gay and bisexual men, 23% were Latino gay and bisexual men, and 45% were gay and bisexual men under 35.
There are also differences between women. The HIV infection rate of black women is 11 times that of white women and 4 times that of Latino women.
To narrow the gap, the strategy calls for paying attention to the needs of the affected population, supporting racial justice, combating HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and providing leadership and employment opportunities for people living with or infected with HIV.
In addition to addressing the impact of racism on Americans fighting the virus or at risk of contracting the virus, the new strategy also places greater emphasis on harm reduction and injection service programs, and encourages reforms to state laws that criminalize the behavior of people living with HIV Crime and increased attention to the growing number of aging HIV-infected people.
Biden expressed his disbelief that some state laws criminalize HIV-positive spitting in public, although it has long been proven that the virus cannot be spread through saliva.According to the CDC, 35 state laws criminalize all forms of HIV exposure
Biden said: “We must follow science, which means eliminating laws that perpetuate discrimination, exacerbate differences, prevent HIV testing and keep us away from our goals.”
Before the coronavirus outbreak, health officials were celebrating how new drugs and other developments were gradually tame HIV, prompting then President Donald Trump to announce in 2019 a campaign to “eliminate” the AIDS epidemic in the United States by 2030.
However, researchers are concerned that COVID-19 may hinder progress in the fight against HIV. The limited data collected by the CDC indicates that HIV testing and other related services have fallen sharply in the first few months of the pandemic.
The CDC looked at data from a laboratory that handled about a quarter of HIV testing across the country, and compared the data from March 13 to September 30 last year with the same period in the previous year. The agency found that compared with normal conditions, HIV screening tests have been reduced by 670,000 times, and HIV diagnoses have been reduced by approximately 4,900 times. The number of PrEP prescriptions nationwide has also fallen by 21%.
The Biden administration recently announced that it will host a supplementary meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS next year. The United States has donated approximately US$17 billion to the fund, accounting for approximately one-third of all donor contributions.
To commemorate World AIDS Day, a huge red ribbon was displayed on the north porch of the White House, symbolizing support for people living with HIV. Since 2007, the two-story ribbon display has become the annual tradition of the White House.
When Trump set the goal of eradicating the AIDS epidemic by 2030, he was praised by some public officials, including the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
But when Biden commemorated his first World AIDS Day as president, he pointed out that his administration rebuilt the White House’s National AIDS Policy Office, which was cancelled during Trump’s tenure. Trump also faced criticism from some AIDS activists during his tenure, who said he had done too little to address racism and the stigma faced by some of the people most at risk of contracting HIV.
Biden praised former Republican President George W. Bush for launching the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003, a global health initiative believed to have saved more than 20 million lives.
He added that Bush’s promotion of PEPFAR “undeniably proves the benefits that American leadership and innovation can achieve in the world when we promise.”