CDC Releases New Estimates of HIV/AIDS
Special Report - December 2, 2008
On December 1 in conjunction with “World AIDS Day,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new estimates of HIV/AIDS infections in the United States. According to that data, over one million Americans, including adolescents, are currently living with HIV/AIDS and an estimated 56,000 people are newly infected every year. “Several U.S. populations bear the greatest burden of HIV,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention Center, in a statement. “The impact is most severe for gay and bisexual men, who account for approximately half of new infections and of those living with HIV.”
According to the CDC, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 53 percent of new HIV infections in 2006, followed by heterosexuals who accounted for 31 percent, injection drug users (IDUs) who accounted for 12 percent, and MSM/IDU’s who accounted for four percent of new HIV infections. “Data suggest that since the mid-1990s HIV infections have been increasing among gay and bisexual men,” noted Dr. Fenton. “While lifesaving advances in AIDS treatment will continue to increase the number of people living with HIV, this will also present more opportunities for transmission.”
“Some minority communities are also disproportionately affected by the disease, with African-Americans becoming infected at seven times the rate of whites, and Hispanics at three times the rate of whites,” said Dr. Feton. For example, according to the CDC, the rate of new HIV/AIDS infections among Blacks in 2006 was 83.7 per 100,000 population, compared to a rate of 29.3 among Hispanics, and 11.5 among Whites in 2006. According to the CDC, “a range of issues contribute to the disproportionate HIV risk for African Americans in the U.S., including poverty, stigma, higher rates of other STDs, and drug use.”
In related news, President George W. Bush received an award for his international efforts to combat HIV/AIDS over the past eight years in recognition of “World AIDS Day.” Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church presented President Bush and the First Lady with the first “International Medal of PEACE” from the Global PEACE Coalition during the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health, which was held December 1 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The Global PEACE Coalition is a “network of churches, businesses and individuals cooperating together to solve humanitarian issues through the PEACE plan” (which is “an effort to mobilize one billion Christians to Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation”).
“No U.S. president or political leader has done more for global health than this Administration, which has raised the bar on America’s role and responsibility for providing critical humanitarian assistance around the world,” Pastor Warren said, noting that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has contributed $18.8 billion since 2003 to fight HIV/AIDS around the world. “Over the past eight years, the President and Mrs. Bush have traveled the globe as they and their staffs have worked tirelessly to bring awareness and solutions to pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, and we are privileged to honor their efforts on World AIDS Day.”
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