Biden marks World AIDS Day with plan to eradicate disease
WASHINGTON, – President Joe Biden will mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday with a speech laying out his vision for ending the epidemic in the United States by 2030. The White House said Biden will deliver a speech outlining the plan for “redoubling efforts to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
The target is for a 75 percent reduction in new infections by 2025 and 90 percent by 2030. In the 40 years since US researchers encountered the first cases of what later became known as AIDS, there have been 700,000 US dead and more than 36 million fatalities worldwide.
Today, there are 1.2 million people in the US living with the disease, but “we celebrate the remarkable gains we have made,” the White House said in a briefing paper on the 2030 plan. Between 2015 and 2019, new HIV infections fell eight percent, “a hopeful sign,” the White House said.
The shift Biden is ordering will aim to “aggressively reduce new HIV cases, while increasing access to treatment.” According to a senior Biden administration official, one of the innovations will be to accelerate participation of the private sector in a “national effort.”
Focus will also be put on “addressing social determinants of health that influence an individual’s HIV risk or outcomes.” According to the official, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic could ultimately strengthen the healthcare system in the even lengthier struggle against AIDS.
The response to the coronavirus has spurred advances in self-testing at home and telehealth, as well as boosting the role for pharmacies — all ways to engage the public in a complex healthcare endeavor.
Top US infectious diseases specialists, including Biden’s lead medical advisor Anthony Fauci, brought years of experience from fighting AIDS to the Covid-19 crisis. Now, new lessons gained during the pandemic may be applied to AIDS.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what additional insights and knowledge and expertise researchers have gained through fighting this virus that can now be applied to our search for a vaccine and a cure for HIV,” the senior official said.
The United Nations said Monday that HIV infection rates are not slowing fast enough around the world to reach the goal of eradicating AIDS everywhere by 2030.