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U.S. Dangerously Complacent on AIDS?

U.S. Dangerously Complacent on AIDS?

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Twenty-five years after giving the nation straight talk about HIV and AIDS, former U.S. surgeon general C. Everett Koop said the disease is becoming a forgotten epidemic.

"Simply put, HIV is no longer on the public's radar screen, and the result is deadly serious," Koop said at the National Press Club on Wednesday, according to The Washington Post. He cited staggering figures, including that 15,000 people die annually of AIDS complications and that about one in every five people with HIV are not aware they have the virus.

Koop, 95, added that the "irrational fear" people had about the virus when it was first discovered in the 1980s is now being replaced with "a growing sense of complacency that is as dangerous."

Koop was appointed surgeon general in 1981 and first spoke about AIDS on a national platform in 1986. He conducted what was then the largest mass mailing in U.S. history when his office sent out an eight-page document informing 107 million households about AIDS in 1988.

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