|Statement of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Director, National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases National Institutes of Health on
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day
February 7th, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day, serves
as a reminder of the disproportionate effect of HIV/AIDS on Blacks and provides
an opportunity to renew our commitment to work together to end this modern plague.
Fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS and reducing the toll among Blacks will require
a multi-faceted approach to promote education and awareness and to improve prevention,
testing and treatment options.
HIV/AIDS has had an especially devastating impact on Black communities. By the
end of 2004, an estimated 201,000 Blacks had died from AIDS since the beginning
of the epidemic, 38 percent of all AIDS-related deaths in the United States.
Blacks make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, yet they accounted for half
of all AIDS cases diagnosed in 2004. In 2004, the rate of AIDS diagnoses for
black women was 23 times the rate for white women; the rate of AIDS diagnoses
for black men was eight times the rate for white men.
This disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS makes it imperative to increase awareness
and mobilize Black communities to get involved in the struggle against this disease.
Researchers supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health, are working with colleagues
worldwide to develop improved treatment and prevention strategies for HIV/AIDS.
NIAID research has led to important discoveries in understanding HIV and its
effect on the immune system. These advances in turn have revealed new targets
for treatments, vaccines and other interventions. Dedicated scientists are working
to discover the next generation of anti-HIV therapies, as well as developing
more effective combinations of existing drugs. At the same time, NIAID continues
to bolster our commitment to developing a safe and effective vaccine against
HIV. Although no vaccine currently exists to prevent HIV infection, approximately
40 vaccine candidates are now in clinical trials around the world. Scientists
also are investigating other strategies to prevent HIV infection, such as topical
microbicides, which are compounds that may allow women to protect themselves
against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
To ensure that research advances benefit all members of society, increased involvement
of Blacks and people of all other ethnicities is critical, as researchers, community
educators and advocates. In particular, to ensure that treatments and vaccines
will work for everyone, representation of all racial and ethnic groups is needed
in clinical trials. Tens of thousands of HIV-negative volunteers will be needed
as new vaccines, therapies, microbicides and other interventions enter the pipeline
for clinical testing.
The AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest challenges to our society today. It
is a fight that we cannot afford to lose. I thank all those who have worked hard
in the struggle and commend those who have led the way in developing tools of
treatment and prevention, sharing and disseminating information about HIV/AIDS,
serving as role models and volunteering in HIV/AIDS clinical trials.
But we need to do more. Simply put, to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States,
we need to mobilize efforts in all our communities to combat HIV/AIDS, and to
coordinate these initiatives with research institutions, pharmaceutical companies,
national organizations and local community and church groups.
On National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day, make a commitment
to get involved. Find out how you can help in the research effort to stop AIDS.
To learn more visit www.aidsinfo.nih.gov or
Media inquiries can be directed to the NIAID News Office at 301-402-1663, email@example.com.
Dr. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.