President Obama announced that he is launching the first national strategy to combat HIV/AIDS. NCTE commends the administration for dealing with a disease that disproportionately affects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and ethnic/racial minorities. The White House’s vision for its national strategy is,
The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination. (emphasis added)
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy recognizes that transgender individuals are at high risk for HIV infection and that efforts addressing our community have been minimal at best. There is an emphasis on working with community based organizations for HIV prevention and improving access to care and treatment for transgender individuals. Additionally, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy recognized that transgender individuals need culturally competent care. NCTE is pleased to note that the strategy mandated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study which HIV prevention and treatment methods work best with transgender people and publish factsheets by 2011.
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy is focused on reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, reducing HIV-related disparities. Specific goals include:
- Decrease the rate of new infections by 25% within 5 years.
- Increase patients’ access to care so that 85% of those infected with HIV will receive care within 3 months of being diagnosed, instead with 65% who do so now.
- Increase the rate of people who know that they are infected to 90%, instead of the 79% who do know now.
NCTE congratulates the Obama Administration for being dedicated to preventing HIV/AIDS and improving access to culturally competent care and treatment to those who are living with HIV/AIDS.