For the last half-century, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been one of the most prominent health risks confronting people in our country and around the world. Yet, through American innovation and medical ingenuity, we are making significant strides in helping improve the health of people living with HIV and slowing the progression of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). On National HIV Testing Day, we reflect on the advances we have made in combatting this terrible epidemic, while also recognizing the importance of continuing the important work needed to address gaps in diagnosing, caring for, and preventing HIV.
Earlier this year during my State of the Union Address, I announced my Administration’s plan to end within 10 years the HIV epidemic in our Nation, which has claimed the lives of approximately 700,000 Americans since 1981. Following this announcement, we launched “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). My FY 2020 Budget requested $291 million to better diagnose, treat, care for, and protect those individuals living with HIV. And my Administration recently secured a large private donation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication, which will help reduce the risk of HIV infection for 200,000 patients per year for up to 11 years. This historic deal will provide critical PrEP medication to uninsured individuals who might otherwise be unable to access or afford it.
We have made great strides in recent years, as new HIV diagnoses have declined significantly from their peak in the 1980s. Nevertheless, 40,000 Americans still are being diagnosed each year. And more than 1.1 million Americans currently live with HIV and many more are at risk of infection.
We can drive these numbers down. Roughly 80 percent of new HIV infections are inadvertently transmitted through people who either do not know they have HIV or who received a diagnosis but were not receiving care. Through my Administration’s initiative, we will enhance access to testing and treatment, reducing the number of new HIV infections in the United States by 75 percent over the next 5 years, and by at least 90 percent over the next decade. Through these efforts, we can avert an estimated 250,000 HIV infections over the next 10 years.
On National HIV Testing Day, we rededicate ourselves to ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. I also encourage all Americans to learn more about ways in which they can protect their health and the health of their loved ones by learning their HIV status and by seeking out the care they may need.