ACP Statement of Support of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States
July 19, 2010
J. Fred Ralston, Jr., MD, FACP
President, American College of Physicians
Internist, Fayetteville, Tenn.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) supports the White House’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our country. ACP’s policy supports the goals, priorities and strategic action outlined in the proposal in an effort to realize our country’s full potential for controlling the HIV epidemic.
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s three main goals are to:
1) Reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV;
2) Increase access to care and optimize health outcomes for people living with HIV; and
3) Reduce HIV-related health disparities.
ACP applauds the White House’s leadership in developing a plan to respond to the growing HIV epidemic in the United States. We understand the public health and clinical imperatives for earlier identification of persons with HIV infection, as well as the urgent need to expand access of HIV care and treatment for infected individuals. ACP supports the need for access to comprehensive prevention and education for those living with and those at risk for HIV infection. We also support the need to maintain a competent and adequate HIV clinical workforce in order to take care of infected patients and offer prevention services.
ACP developed a HIV screening guideline, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that recommends routine HIV screening for all patients older than 13 years of age. According to the guideline, the need for repeat testing should be based on individualized assessment. Higher risk patients should be retested more frequently than patients who are at average risk. Additionally, ACP is partnering with the CDC on the “HIV Screening. Standard Care” patient education initiative that encourages HIV testing as a routine part of medical care.
HIV affects more than one million people in the United States. Every year, about 20,000 new infections are caused by individuals who are unaware that they are infected with HIV. Early identification of undiagnosed cases of HIV has substantial health benefits; it extends the length of life of the person with HIV and reduces transmission. Treatment for HIV is now one of the most effective medical interventions available today and yet, in the US, 50 percent of people with HIV do not have a reliable source of HIV care. We have the knowledge, technology, and medicine needed to slow the spread of HIV infection and improve the health of people living with HIV. ACP looks forward to working with the White House to bring public policies in line with our scientific achievements and combat the nation’s HIV epidemic.
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 130,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.