Prevent New HIV Infections and Promote Optimal Health among Persons Living with HIV/AIDS
Since the AIDS pandemic began more than 30 years ago, HHS has been working closely with governmental and non-governmental partners to respond to HIV/AIDS in the United States. Now, because of these efforts, HHS has helped to develop diagnostic capabilities to test more people, more quickly, and has helped to develop more effective treatments that enable people living with HIV to enjoy longer, healthier lives. However, HIV and AIDS continue to affect Americans of all ages. An estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV today, and approximately 16 percent of these individuals do not know that they are infected. HHS is expanding its efforts to prevent new infections, ensuring access to appropriate care and treatment for those living with HIV and AIDS, and focusing on communities most affected. HHS participated with federal partner agencies and the White House Office of National AIDS Policy to develop a National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States and HHS is working to achieve the goals in the strategy. In July 2013, in response to Executive Order 13649, HHS joined the Office of National AIDS Policy to launch the HIV Care Continuum Initiative, which will expedite the achievement of goals in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Reduce New HIV Infections
In order to reduce new HIV infections, HHS is working to intensify HIV prevention efforts in communities where HIV is most heavily concentrated, expand targeted efforts to prevent HIV infection using a combination of effective and evidence-based approaches, and educate all Americans about the threat of HIV and how to prevent it. Achieving this goal will require increased efforts to diagnose Americans who are infected with HIV yet unaware of their status.
Increase Access to Care and Improve Health Outcomes
HHS works to ensure that persons who are newly diagnosed are immediately linked to high-quality and continuous care, increase the number and diversity of providers who are able to deliver high-quality HIV care, and support people living with HIV/AIDS who have other health conditions or require additional services or support, such as housing. Through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, individuals who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources are provided with services for coping with HIV disease. HHS also will continue to actively engage with a broad variety of partners in implementing the Affordable Care Act so that people living with HIV/AIDS can benefit from the expansion of Medicaid, increased funding for prevention, the many consumer protections of the law, and the creation of Health Insurance Marketplaces. Equally critical is the need to develop new and improved therapies and drug regimens – particularly for persons living with HIV/AIDS who are co-infected with viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, or other causes of increased mortality. For patients with HIV/AIDS, HHS is working to protect patients’ privacy and enforce non-discrimination through public education efforts that will promote equitable access to care, including appropriate behavioral health care, and health outcomes.
Reduce HIV-Related Disparities and Health Inequities
To support a national effort to reduce health-related disparities and inequities in HIV care, HHS is working to reduce HIV-related mortality in communities at high risk for HIV infection; adopt community-level approaches to reduce HIV infection in high-risk communities; and reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. For patients with HIV/AIDS, HHS is working to protect patients’ privacy, streamline services and data collection, ensure accountability, and enforce nondiscrimination against people living with HIV.