Media Statement from CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D., in Observance of World AIDS Day 2020
The HIV community has remained resilient in the face of great challenges. So it comes as no surprise that the community has also been steadfast in confronting new hurdles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these difficult times, World AIDS Day presents an important moment to pause, and acknowledge the innovation of the community that has been crucial to fighting disruptions to HIV care, treatment, and prevention efforts that are underway around the world.
Expanding telehealth, for example, has ensured that HIV self-testing, prevention services, and care and treatment have been able to continue. Abroad, CDC’s PEPFAR programs have developed and deployed client-centered practices to deliver lifesaving care and treatment. At the end of September, CDC supported resilient approaches to deliver life-saving HIV treatment to more than 10.6 million people in global settings.
Our commitment remains firm to ending the HIV epidemic in America – and a recent analysis by CDC’s HIV experts further demonstrates the power of diagnosing HIV and beginning treatment early in achieving this goal. The data showed that the rate of HIV-related deaths in the United States fell by nearly half since 2010. Reductions were seen among men and women, all ages, and racial and ethnic groups. Importantly, racial and ethnic differences in HIV-related death rates also declined. These are hopeful signs of progress.
Much of the reduction in deaths was likely due to diagnosing HIV earlier and helping people with HIV to get and stay on lifesaving treatment.
But our job is far from done – there is still an urgent need to get more people with HIV diagnosed early and into sustained HIV care and treatment; to accelerate efforts to eliminate racial disparities; and foster expanded access to effective HIV prevention, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.
The tools of HIV testing, treatment, prevention, and outbreak response – along with continued commitment from the community – will end the HIV epidemic in America.