During the commemoration of World AIDS Day on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021, President Joe Biden declared that the U.S. would need to confront inequity in medicine to bring an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He went on to make his plans and a new strategy to combat them known.
Biden made it known that everyone in the United States deserved to know their status and receive high-quality HIV treatment when required. He pointed out that various groups, including the gay, bisexual Black, and Latino people were more prone to stigmatization due to structural and ethical inequalities.
African Americans and Latinos which make up 13% and 18.5% of the U.S. population accounted for 40% and almost 25% of the new cases respectively. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that gay and bisexual men, although they make up just 2% of the population account for 66% of new infections. According to research, the Black women infection rate is 11 times that of White women and four times that of Latina women. Despite these figures, racial and structural inequalities still exist in the testing, education, and treatment of HIV patients.
The President’s strategy referred to racism as a “public health threat” and would reduce the disproportion by focusing on the needs of infected patients, supporting racial justice, and combating stigma. He also said state laws that contradicted science and further increased discrimination, disparities and discouraged HIV testing needed to be eliminated.
He also stated that alongside battling the contribution of racism to the contraction and treatment of HIV, the strategy would also ensure harm reduction programs, push for reform of laws, and address the needs of the aged living with the virus.
President Donald Trump, in 2019, proposed a campaign to eliminate AIDS in the U.S by 2030. Effective work in the battle against HIV has been stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Research carried out by the CDC shows that there was a large decline in HIV testing and treatment at the beginning of the pandemic.
The USA has contributed over $17 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS and the Biden-led administration recently announced that the United States would be hosting the Fund’s replenishment conference in 2022.