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Obama to Outline AIDS Strategy

Obama to Outline AIDS Strategy

At the White House on Tuesday, President Obama plans to announce the first National AIDS Strategy -- the product of 15 months of conversations with thousands of people across the country.

The strategy does not propose a major increase in federal AIDS funding. However, the Administration will be redirecting money to fight the disease in areas with the greatest need and among high-risk groups, including African-Americans and gay and bisexual men, according a final draft of the report obtained by The New York Times. The United States spends more than $19 billion on domestic AIDS programs each year.

Strategy objectives include reducing annual HIV incidence by 25% within five years. The Aadministration wants to cut the rate of transmission, currently five of every 100 people with HIV transmit the virus annually, by 30%. If the rate goes unchanged, within a decade, the number of new infections would increase to more than 75,000 per year and the number of people living with HIV would grow to more than 1.5 million, according to the report. Currently, about 56,000 people become infected each year, and more than 1.1 million Americans are estimated to have HIV.

An estimated 21% of HIV-positive people do not know they are infected; the plan seeks to cut that figure to 10% by 2015. The United States also should "increase the proportion of newly diagnosed patients linked to clinical care within three months of their HIV diagnosis to 85%" from the current rate of about 65%, the report says.

Even with the new health care law, federal AIDS programs such as Ryan White will still be needed to address gaps in AIDS care, the report suggests. States with the lowest number of HIV cases often receive the most money per case. Instead, the report says, federal assistance should be directed to states with the highest burden of disease.

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