Washington-President Joe Biden announces Wednesday The government’s strategy to combat HIV / AIDS will focus on the growing population of aging HIV patients, along with other changes.
More than half of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States are over 50 years old.
The plan also recognizes racism as a serious health threat and focuses on tackling issues such as homelessness that make it difficult to fight HIV / AIDS, reforming the state’s HIV criminalization law. Encourage.
“This is one area where we can do more quickly,” Biden said at the White House event that recognized World AIDS Day.
He said the goal of ending HIV infection was “within an amazing distance.”
As in the last few years, a huge red ribbon was hung on the north portico entrance of the White House.
Biden remembers how much progress the ribbon has made and said, “I will never forget the price paid along the way.”
After remembering that the late Rev. Jerry Falwell called AIDS “God’s punishment for homosexuals,” Biden said, “Think about how much it has changed.”
Biden told the people who gathered in the East Room for the event, “We all demanded that we conclude a treaty with dignity and impartiality. We were asked. We will end this battle.” rice field.
Since the first known case of AIDS was reported 40 years ago, more than 36 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses, including 700,000 Americans.
Although modern HIV treatments have helped infected people live longer, there is an increasing need to tailor services to older Americans infected with HIV / AIDS. According to the government, this also includes addressing other health and psychosocial needs that often accompany aging.
For example, the plan calls for raising awareness of HIV among providers of aging services, housing for the elderly, substance use treatments and disabilities, and other medical services.
Age-related complications such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, cancer, and other illnesses are more common in people over the age of 50 than in people of the same age who are not infected with HIV.
According to the government, long-term survivors of HIV often experience social isolation, loneliness, lack of social support, and even HIV and age-related stigma.
For all people of all ages who are infected with HIV, the government wants to take a more coordinated and integrated approach across the federal agency. This can help, for example, expose people to the risk of HIV and address issues such as food insecurity and housing instability that interfere with treatment.
In Biden’s 2022 budget request, he called on Congress to increase funding for housing and support services for low-income people living with HIV by $ 20 million.
The government wants to engage the private sector in new ways, such as using social media to combat false information and the stigma of HIV.
Biden also said that many states have enacted legislation that does not reflect an accurate understanding of HIV, such as the inability to transmit through saliva.
“The law that criminalizes HIV-infected spitting is still in the book, which means it’s the United States of America in 2021,” Biden said. “We have to obey science, which means we eliminate laws that perpetuate discrimination, exacerbate inequality, discourage HIV testing, and keep us further away from our goals.”
Maureen Groppe has covered Washington for almost 30 years and is a USA TODAY White House correspondent. Follow her on Twitter @ mgroppe.
Biden’s HIV / AIDS strategy refocuses on older Americans
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