Although there is “no easy fix” for HIV/AIDS in the U.S., “refocusing our sights on improved outcomes and developing a comprehensive strategic plan to achieve them” would be a good start, Chris Collins, author of a new Open Society Institute report on HIV/AIDS in the U.S., writes in a Chicago Defender opinion piece.
According to Collins, a national AIDS plan would “set targets” for a reduced number of new HIV cases and would increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment and care.
It also would “require the government to report annually on progress” toward specified targets and “force the public health establishment to clearly define the barriers to better outcomes,” Collins writes.
According to Collins, although a national AIDS plan “must serve all Americans, it will need to focus its attention on the epidemic in black communities” because blacks in the U.S. “have not seen equal benefits” from HIV/AIDS treatments.
The “stark racial disparities” surrounding HIV/AIDS in the country are “a continuing national shame,” Collins writes, adding that HIV prevention and treatment outcomes will not improve until government programs “better serve the needs of black Americans.”
Although HIV/AIDS “has become a devastating and chronic health affliction in our country, a disaster we could have avoided,” the U.S. still has the “means to address the disease with greater ingenuity and effectiveness and with steadily improved results,” Collins concludes (Collins, Chicago Defender, 10/25).
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.