July 13, 2010
Statement from HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) Chair Michael Saag, MD, FIDSA
The HIV Medicine Association applauds the Obama administration's release of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy that signals a strengthened national commitment to real and sustained success in the battle against HIV/AIDS. As clinicians and researchers on the frontline of this pandemic, we welcome this new comprehensive roadmap and look forward to working with diverse stakeholders at all levels of government and within the private sector to implement it. The success of the initiative will depend on an effective implementation plan supported by the resources necessary for monitoring and evaluation and to meet the strategy's stated targets. With resources and a robust implementation plan, we can realize the strategy's call for a nation in which new HIV infections are dramatically reduced, and those who are infected have prompt access to the comprehensive quality care and treatment they need, without fear of stigma or discrimination.
Ensuring that people with HIV disease are diagnosed early and linked to lifesaving medical care is central to the president's strategy. A renewed focus on patient care is urgently needed to meet the increased demand for HIV care, which will grow under this effort. Funding for clinics that provide HIV care to low-income or uninsured patients, and support for an adequate and diverse HIV medical workforce, are urgently needed to ensure the care system has the capacity to fulfill these important goals. We are excited about the launching of this long-awaited initiative, and look forward to partnering on its implementation to make the strategy's vision a reality.
As providers of lifesaving, comprehensive medical care to people infected with HIV across the country, the Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition welcomes the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which provides an important HIV policy roadmap for our nation. We applaud the administration's commitment to develop this coordinated approach and hope this impressive level of commitment will be sustained in the implementation phase.
Reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care, improving health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related disparities?the strategy's core goals?will require everyone's help to achieve, and we look forward to working with federal partners and other stakeholders to advance these goals, which we hope will be supported by the necessary funding and additional resources to meet the increasing demand for HIV care. As providers of quality HIV care to low-income or uninsured patients at clinics funded through Part C of the Ryan White program, we experience firsthand the challenges of delivering this complex but lifesaving treatment to more and more patients while funding fails to keep pace. Federal funding for these clinics has grown just 9 percent since 2001, while the number of patients who rely on these clinics has increased 59 percent.
The unveiling of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy marks an important and eagerly awaited step. For the sake of our patients, we hope adequate resources are dedicated to help achieve this important new initiative's goals, and welcome opportunities to support a robust implementation plan that ultimately will determine its success.
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