HIV/AIDS at 30

With the HIV/AIDS epidemic marking its 30th year, over one million Americans are living with HIV today, yet 1 in 5 of those infected doesn’t know his/her status according to the CDC.  Further, one-third are diagnosed at a late stage of infection and go on to develop AIDS within one year. The Huffington Post (6/24, Pearson) reports that almost 40% of Americans age 18 and older have been tested for HIV at some point in their lives, increased from 32.1% in 2000 but still dramatically less than the CDC’s recommendation that everyone between the age of 13 and 64 undergo routine HIV screening. Yet much progress had been made since the epidemic came to light in 1981. A recent New York Times article looks at the progress and research that has occurred in the past 30 years.

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently completed a survey of 2,583 American adults ages 18 and older to analyze public opinion about HIV/AIDS.

According to the survey:

  • There is a decreasing sense of national urgency and visibility of HIV/AIDS.
  • African Americans, particularly young men, expressed higher levels of concern about HIV than Caucasians.
  • After almost a decade of decline, an increased number of Americans reported that they were personally  “very concerned” about becoming infected.
  • More than 50% of Americans support increased funding for HIV/AIDS, with  fewer than one in ten reporting that they feel that the federal government spends too much on HIV/AIDS.

A webcast is also available about the survey findings.

Another resource to track the HIV epidemic is AIDSVu, which was created by researchers at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. This site shows the number of individuals living with HIV, HIV testing sites and National Institutes of Health-funded HIV prevention and vaccine trial sites throughout the US.

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