The National Institutes of Health recently commemorated National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to draw attention to the AIDS health crisis in the United States. To address this issue, NIH has developed prevention and treatment tools to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African-Americans, women, and teenage girls.
Mitchell: African-Americans have the highest HIV/AIDS rate among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. The virus also continues to affect women and teenage girls disproportionately. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasizes the importance of awareness.
Fauci: We have a program that we have, what's called a DC NIH Partnership, in which we're partnering with the Department of Health of the District of Columbia, to test the feasibility of seeking out testing and treating and getting into care those who are HIV infected, we're doing it with a sister city, the South Bronx in New York City.
Mitchell: Inner city areas have a higher prevalence of infection and the chances for an individual coming into contact with someone who is HIV/AIDS positive is far greater than in other communities.
Fauci: One of the important issues that has arisen over the past months to a year now is the importance of treating people early in the course of infection. So we need to implement programs in which we can access and test as many people as we possibly can test on a voluntary basis.
Mitchell: Dr. Fauci says that if treated early, infected individuals are more likely to lead healthy lives than individuals who receive treatment later. Additionally, early treatment can lower the viral load in an infected individual, thus decreasing the chance of transmitting infection to others. The key is prevention, treatment and care.
Fauci: If you’re infected you could be getting under therapy. You could be counseled. And if you’re not infected, we can counsel you about how to avoid infection. So testing is the message.
Mitchell: For more information about HIV/AIDS visit, www.niaid.nih.gov. This is Jilliene Mitchell, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Jilliene Mitchell
Sound Bite: Dr. Anthony Fauci
Additional Info: 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 Day February 7, 2010
Additional Info: Statement of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, March 10, 2010