Below are two statements from CDC officials in observance of World AIDS Day, December 1st
December 1, 2009
Statements from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“Confronting the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the
Statement by Dr. Kevin Fenton, director, NCHHSTP, CDC:
On this World AIDS Day, we are reminded that the fight against HIV is far from over, in the
The impact of HIV in the
Although HIV clearly remains a serious public health threat in the
The heavy burden of HIV in the
“Important Role of Health Care Providers in Preventing the Spread of HIV”
Statement by Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, NCHHSTP, CDC:
As we work on World AIDS Day and beyond to reach people affected by HIV, we must acknowledge and work to expand the critical role of health care providers in stemming the toll of HIV and AIDS in the
And although the epidemic has changed over time, the role of health care providers remains just as important today, not only for treating those with HIV, but also for helping to stop new infections. Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals can play a critical role in HIV prevention, especially by ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to learn their HIV status.
CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV when accessing health care, regardless of the patients’ perceived risk of infection. Early HIV testing is key to prevention, so that people who are HIV-infected can take the necessary steps to protect their partners, as well as connect to treatment when it will be most effective.
Yet far too many people in this country are diagnosed too late. More than one-third of individuals diagnosed with HIV are diagnosed within one year of developing AIDS, indicating that these people were likely infected for many years without knowing it and potentially transmitting the virus to others during this time. Additionally, a late diagnosis means that it may be too late for someone who is infected to fully benefit from treatment. Thus, every effort by providers to administer an HIV test could have a direct impact on a patient’s life, and in the lives of others that the patient could take steps to protect.
In addition to testing, it is critical that health care providers speak with all of their patients – both those who are HIV-infected and uninfected – openly and honestly about HIV, reducing risk behaviors, and staying healthy. Patients listen to their doctors, yet far too many report never speaking with them about HIV. Simple conversations could save lives.
But you don’t have to be a doctor to help prevent HIV. All of us can take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this deadly disease. Know if you are at risk, how HIV is spread, and take action to protect yourself. Get tested – whether at your doctor’s office or somewhere else. Talk to your family and friends about HIV, and help reduce the stigma that keeps too many people from seeking the testing, prevention, treatment, and support services needed to live a healthy life.
Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention