The incidence and transmission rate reduction goals of the two-year old National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) will not be achieved unless there is a timely expansion of testing and prevention services for people living with HIV/AIDS. This, according to a recently-published paper called "Costs, Consequences and Feasibility of Strategies for Achieving the Goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in the United States: A Closing Window for Success?" which appeared on May 19 in the AIDS and Behavior journal. In their paper, authors David R. Holtgrave, H. Irene Hall, Laura Wehrmeyer and Cathy Maulsby explore three key policy questions:
- Is it still epidemiologically feasible to attain the incidence and transmission rate reduction goals of the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) by 2015?
- If so, what costs will be incurred in necessary program expansion, and will the investment be cost-effective?
- Would substantial expansion of prevention services for persons living with HIV (PLWH) augment the other strategies outlined in the NHAS in terms of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness?
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NHAS was introduced by President Obama in July of 2010 as our nation's first ever comprehensive plan to combat HIV/AIDS. The Strategy set a number of ambitious goals to be reached by 2015, including:
- Lowering the number of new infections by 25%
- Increasing the proportion of newly diagnosed patients linked to clinical care within three months of their HIV diagnosis from 65% to 85%
- Increasing the proportion of HIV diagnosed gay and bisexual men, Blacks, and Latinos by 20%