Biden unveils strategy to end HIV, AIDS pandemic as public health threat

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:33 AM CST
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(CNN) - Thursday is World Aids Day.

The Biden administration announced a new strategy to end the HIV and AIDS pandemic as a public health threat by 2030.

The five-year plan will focus on collaboration in fighting the disease, addressing equity issues with the stigma and discrimination around HIV and strengthening public health initiatives.

Advances in treatments have led to fewer deaths from AIDS since the beginning of that epidemic, but this disease is still around.

“For a lot of people, HIV is almost an invisible condition, but what we know is that we still have over 30,000 new infections in the U.S. every single year,” Dr. Carlos Malvestutto, infectious disease expert at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said.

Malvestutto treats HIV and AIDS patients and says awareness remains critical as many people are living with HIV and don’t know it.

“You can trace 40% of new infections to people who are actually unaware of their own diagnosis,” Malvestutto said.

The doctor said there are now tools to help prevent HIV infection in those who are at risk and treatments are now available, which allow people who have the disease to live normal lives.

“Even though we don’t have a cure yet, as long as somebody is keeping up with their treatment, then they can manage it perfectly well,” Malvestutto added.

Malvestutto said we need to normalize testing and make sure all people can get HIV care.

“If we don’t ensure access, equal access to everyone with HIV, then we will not be able to end the pandemic,” the infectious disease expert said.

HIV can affect anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, gender, or age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said talking openly about HIV, getting tested and knowing your status can help in the fight against AIDS.