The first cases of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) were reported in the United States in 1981. Today, more than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and about 21 percent of them do not know they are infected. It is estimated that more than 33 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) supports efforts for earlier identification of persons with HIV infection and for expanding access of HIV care and treatment for infected individuals. We support the need for access to comprehensive prevention and education for those living with and those at risk for HIV infection. ACP also supports the need to maintain a competent and adequate clinical workforce to take care of infected patients and offer prevention services.
ACP offers online resources for screening, treatment, and prevention of HIV/AIDS for physicians, patients, and policymakers.
- In “Screening for HIV in Health Care Settings”, an ACP guidance statement published in Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP recommends that clinicians adopt routine screening for HIV and encourage patients to be tested, and that clinicians determine the need for repeat screening on an individual basis. In addition, a patient summary and a video news story are available.
- ACP is a partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "HIV Screening. Standard Care." The initiative is designed to help physicians make HIV testing a standard part of the medical care they provide to their patients.
- In “Thirty Years of HIV and AIDS: Future Challenges and Opportunities,” published online by Annals of Internal Medicine on May 31, 2011, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Carl W. Dieffenbach, Director of NIAID’s Division of AIDS, outline the critical elements needed to control – and ultimately end – the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Patient and Physician Education Resources
- For patients, HEALTH TiPs for HIV/AIDS are available in English and Spanish. HEALTH TiPs contain important information that patients need to know to manage their health.
- Patients can also download “Living Life to the Fullest: A Guide for HIV Positive African Americans”, “HIV: A Guide for Latinos” and “HIV/AIDS: Preventing-Testing-Treating".
- In 2010, ACP reminded physicians and the public about the importance of screening for HIV in this video.
Public Policy Efforts
- In July 2010, ACP publicly supported the White House’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our country. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s three main goals are to reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV, increase access to care and optimize health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reduce HIV-related health disparities.
- ACP and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) have jointly published three policy statements on AIDS in 1986, 1988, and 1994. In 2001, the IDSA created the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA). In April 2009, ACP and the HIVMA released “HIV Policy: The Path Forward”. In the paper, ACP and the HIVMA emphasize the public health and clinical imperatives for earlier identification of persons with HIV infection, the urgent need to expand access to state-of-the-art HIV care and treatment for infected individuals, the need for access to comprehensive prevention and education for those living with and those at risk for HIV infection, and the need for stronger national leadership to respond to the HIV epidemic in the United States and in the developing world.