White House unveils five-year action plan on AIDS

Washington, Dec 2 (IANS) In support of the World AIDS Day, the White House released an action plan for combating AIDS in the US over the next five years.

As part of the Federal Action Plan for 2016-2020, 170 action items will be assigned to agencies such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address the AIDS epidemic, Xinhua cited the White House as saying on Tuesday.

These action items aimed to improve widespread HIV testing and linkage to care, improve broad support and attain universal viral suppression for people living with HIV as well as reduce discrimination against people living with the disease, the statement said.

In addition, the action plan will help improve full access to comprehensive pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services, an HIV prevention method in which people who do not have the disease take a daily antiretroviral pill to reduce their risk of becoming infected.

According to a new report released last week by the CDC, more than one million US adults who are at substantial risk for HIV could potentially benefit from PrEP, but nationwide, only one in three primary care doctors and nurses is aware of this preventive measure.

The White House statement said the US has made “significant progress” over the last five years in the fight against the illness, through the country’s first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS strategy, which was released in 2010 and updated in July this year.

Currently, over 1.2 million Americans were living with HIV and about 50,000 people newly infected each year.

“Despite our scientific advances in HIV treatment for individual and public health benefits, and prevention options like pre-exposure prophylaxis, too many lack access to life-saving and life-enhancing services,” the statement wrote.

“Moving forward, President Barack Obama and the Administration will continue to build on scientific and technological advances to expand access to prevention options and care.”

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