Goals of reducing AIDS by 25 percent called achievable

An editorial published recently in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome says the U.S. National AIDS Strategy can achieve its stated goal of reducing the incidence of AIDS in the United States by 25 percent in the next five years.

Dr. David R. Holtgrave of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, used the article to evaluate the current and future impacts of the NAS. He sees potential in the strategy, but also believes that the document will need to be amended to fit unforeseen consequences and unconsidered options.

“If we can pull together to marshal the leadership, resources, and commitment to making the goals real, then the strategy will have indeed changed the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. Lives (and coincidentally, financial resources) will be saved,” Holtgrave wrote in JAIN.

Holtgrave issued a warning that the programs laid out in the NAS need to be fully funded and immediately implemented if they are to achieve their targeted health and economic benefits.

In addition to cutting the incidence of AIDS in the United States, the NAS attempts to reduce the rate at which HIV is transmitted by 30 percent and increase the number of patients who know they are HIV-positive to 90 percent.

Holtgrave believes these are all achievable goals, but success is not assured.

“To meet the 2015 targets, decisive action must be taken urgently,” Holtgrave wrote.