UN AIDS Chief: Impact on Black Americans Shocking

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

AIDS may hit developing countries the hardest, but the International AIDS Conference is shining a spotlight on a stubborn epidemic in the U.S., too.

United Nations AIDS chief Michel Sidibe calls the impact on black Americans shocking. Of the nearly 1.2 million Americans with HIV, nearly half are black men and women. And black gay and bisexual men are at highest risk.

Access to treatment is only one hurdle. Sticking with medication daily for life is another.

U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the government is trying novel partnerships with community groups and others to help.

First up is a pilot program with the MAC AIDS Foundation that will send text-message reminders about medication to young people living in the South.

Researchers, doctors and patients are urging the world's governments not to cut back on the fight against the epidemic when it is at a turning point.

There is no cure or vaccine yet, but scientists say they have the tools to finally stem the spread of this intractable virus.

They will do that largely by using treatment not just to save patients but to also make them less infectious.

More than 20,000 scientists, people living with HIV and policy-makers are meeting this week to figure out how to turn some scientific advances into practical protections, valuable additions to those tried and-true condoms.


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