For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at (202) 777-2509 or mediarelations@apha.org .

APHA Hails Administration’s Comprehensive Plan to Combat Growing AIDS Epidemic

Washington, D.C., July 13, 2010 – APHA applauds today’s release of the Obama administration’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the nation’s first-ever comprehensive plan to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic facing our country.  This evidence-based strategy establishes a core set of ambitious and long-overdue goals that will equip health authorities with the needed guidance to help prevent and reduce the threat of HIV/AIDS in the United States.

“The National HIV/AIDS Strategy is a lifesaving public health intervention that lays the foundation for improving our response and better coordinating efforts at the federal, state and local levels,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP, (E), executive director of APHA. “If implemented to its fullest extent, the plan has the potential to effectively reverse the growing prevalence rate that burdens more than 56,000 Americans today.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, minority populations are disproportionately affected by the disease. African Americans account for 51 percent of newly diagnosed infections and Hispanics account for 17 percent.

“This strategy must serve as the nation’s call to action to reinvigorate our efforts to aggressively address the burden of HIV/AIDS in all communities with a particular emphasis on those communities who are hit hardest by the growing epidemic,” said Benjamin.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy reflects input from communities across the country. The strategy sets goals toward reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care, and reducing health disparities for the domestic epidemic.

With state and local health departments facing even tighter budgets, the announcement underscores the importance of leveraging current resources to their fullest extent and establishing increased and sustained public health funding critical to effectively implementing lifesaving community-based initiatives included in the plan. APHA is pleased by President Obama’s commitment to fighting AIDS and looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to implement the strategy and secure the resources necessary to protect Americans from HIV/AIDS and other public health threats.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.