SOURCE: HMA Associates, Inc.

March 14, 2007 15:21 ET

CDC Announces Heightened National Response to the HIV/AIDS Crisis Among African Americans

ATLANTA, GA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 14, 2007 -- Noting that African Americans, who make up less than 13 percent of the nation's population, account for nearly half the people diagnosed and living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a Heightened National Response to HIV/AIDS among African Americans. The announcement was made at a meeting of more than 100 African American leaders held in Atlanta on March 7-8.

"As the impact of HIV/AIDS on African Americans has grown over time, so have the CDC's efforts to address it," said Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention. "We are highly committed to reducing the disparities that exist among African Americans, but we realize we cannot do it alone."

The CDC's heightened response is a crucial component of national efforts to reduce the toll of HIV/AIDS on African Americans. It is the result of an 18-month long effort that included consultation with a range of African American leaders to develop a heightened response to the epidemic and make the best use of available resources. The CDC's 3-year plan focuses on four key areas:

--  Expand the reach of prevention services
--  Increase opportunities for diagnosing and treating HIV/AIDS
--  Develop new, effective prevention interventions
--  Mobilize broader community action
"We are already seeing growing leadership and momentum in the African American community around the topic of HIV/AIDS prevention," Dr. Fenton said.

Previous CDC collaborations to fight HIV/AIDS have been highly successful. They have resulted in dramatic decreases in mother-to-child transmission and the number of HIV/AIDS cases due to injection drug use. Meanwhile, advances in drug therapy have delayed the onset of AIDS so more people are living longer and healthier after being diagnosed with HIV.

"CDC is committed to meeting the public health needs of African Americans and reducing the burden of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in African American communities," Dr. Fenton said. "It is imperative that we use our collective voices to encourage everyone to be Aware, Communicate, and get Tested -- ACT! against HIV/AIDS."

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