Over the nearly 30 years since the AIDS epidemic began, HHS has been working closely with its partners to respond to the HIV and AIDS crisis in the United States. Because of these efforts, HHS now has better diagnostic capabilities that enable testing of more people, more quickly. HHS also has more effective treatments that allow people living with HIV to enjoy longer, healthier lives.
However, HIV and AIDS continue to exact a significant toll on Americans of all ages. An estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV today. The face of HIV and AIDS has also changed over the last three decades—from a disease primarily affecting younger men who have sex with men to a disease that disproportionately affects Black and Latino men and women, men who have sex with men in all racial and ethnic groups, and older Americans. HHS must expand its efforts to prevent new infections, ensure access to appropriate care and treatment for those living with HIV and AIDS, and focus on those communities most affected.
HHS is participating with Federal partner agencies and the White House Office of National AIDS Policy on the development of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy. HHS will work to reduce the number of new HIV cases in the United States; increase access to care and optimize health outcomes for people living with HIV; and reduce HIV-related disparities, including disparities related to infection rates and access to treatments.
Implementing this National Strategy will require coordinated effort across the U.S. Government and with partners in the public and private sectors. HHS will support new research at NIH; enhanced surveillance, behavioral research, and prevention activities at CDC; regulatory work at FDA; and support for care, treatment, and wraparound services provided by HRSA and SAMHSA. OCR works to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability, including HIV/AIDS, by enforcing Federal laws prohibiting such discrimination by providers and other entities receiving Federal financial assistance. Other HHS agencies and offices, including AHRQ, ACF, AoA, CMS, IHS, and OPHS will contribute significantly to HHS’s prevention and treatment efforts. HHS also will work closely with other Federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor.
- Learning More About What Works to Prevent HIV Transmission
HHS-supported research has resulted in new AIDS drugs and HIV diagnostics, as well as new program strategies for addressing the HIV and AIDS epidemic. However, more work is needed to identify vaccine candidates and better treatments. HHS also needs to enhance surveillance and support significant behavioral research to identify effective interventions to prevent the spread of HIV in high-risk and other affected groups.
- Promoting HIV Testing and Making People Aware of Their Status
Individuals who know their status can be linked to care and treatment resources earlier in their course of disease, which will improve their likelihood of living healthier, longer lives. When HIV-positive individuals know their status, they are also less likely to engage in risky behaviors that will transmit HIV to others. HHS will increase support for efforts to increase routine testing of adults and pregnant women so that more people know their status.
- Linking People Living with HIV to Prevention, Care, and Treatment
In addition to increasing testing, HHS must improve linkages to care and treatment for those who test positive for HIV. HHS will work to improve coordination and referral systems that link people living with HIV and AIDS to medical care, prevention information to reduce onward transmission, and relevant wraparound services, such as counseling and treatment for mental and substance use disorders.