HRC Lauds CDC Goal Of Increased HIV/AIDS Testing

The Human Rights Campaign lauded the Centers for Disease
Control on April 17th, as it unveiled a new initiative designed to increase
HIV/AIDS testing. However, HRC asserted that increased testing needs to
be accompanied by the appropriate counseling and should be a part of a
larger, more comprehensive program.

"With this initiative, the CDC has taken an important step forward in
the fight against HIV/AIDS by working to make more Americans aware of
their HIV status. Individuals who do not know that they are infected
cannot seek proper treatment, and are at risk for spreading the disease
further. This initiative helps to address that problem," said HRC
Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. "We maintain that HIV/AIDS
testing should be accompanied by the appropriate counseling, both before
and after diagnosis, as stigma and fear surrounding the disease can be
terrifying to patients."

At a press conference today, the CDC outlined a new initiative that
seeks to increase the availability of HIV/AIDS testing by recommending
that routine HIV testing be offered at more health care settings than
they currently are and through utilization of a recently approved rapid
HIV/AIDS test.

HRC has long maintained that any meaningful effort to combat the
HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country must include a comprehensive
prevention plan that includes safe-sex education along with testing and
care for those infected.

"We keep seeing incremental steps forward from the administration on
HIV/AIDS, but without a multifaceted plan that battles the disease
comprehensively, we are likely to fall further and further behind in our
efforts to stop its spread," said Stachelberg.

Current CDC estimates indicate that there are roughly 40,000 new HIV
infections in the United States each year, with an estimated 900,000
individuals already living with the disease. Of those, an estimated
200,000 are unaware that they are infected.

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