The Biden administration has released a new HIV/AIDS strategy that defines racism as “a public health threat.” The world must recognize the growing epidemic and work to end it together.
The strategy released Wednesday on World AIDS Day is meant to serve as a framework for how the American administration plans its policies, research programs and planning over the next three years.
The new strategy affirms that for generations, “structural inequities have resulted in racial and ethnic health disparities.” The problem of these extreme differences can’t be ignored any longer–we must work together to find a solution!
The strategy takes a multifaceted approach to reduce disparities. It includes calls for focusing on the needs of disproportionately affected populations, supporting racial justice and combating HIV-related stigma and discrimination while also providing leadership opportunities through employment or community service programs that can help people achieve their goals in life regardless if they have been impacted by this virus before.
In addition, the new strategy emphasizes harm reduction and syringe services, which attempt to reduce the risk of transmission by providing clean needles in exchange for substance use. The document includes encouragement that state laws regulating behaviour can be reformatted or altered so they do not criminalize behaviour related to HIV/AIDS exposure-a problem affecting many people living today who are ageing while infected at young ages.
The epidemic began 40 years ago, and as of today, more than 36 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide, including 700,000 Americans. In the United States, there are 1.2 million people living with HIV, with about 38 million worldwide.
Earlier this month, President Biden delivered remarks at the World AIDS Day observance and his administration announced they’ll host a replenishment conference for The Global Fund in 2019. About $17 billion of American funds have gone towards fighting this disease, which amounts to about one third as many donations made by other nations.