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AHF to President Barack Obama: AIDS Is a Crisis in America

US' Largest AIDS Group Calls on Government to Spend $200M for 10 Million HIV Tests


WASHINGTON, Nov 04, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE)- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) ( http://www.aidshealth.org), the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS organization in the US which currently provides medical care and services to more than 85,000 individuals in 22 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, today commended President-elect Barack Obama on his historic victory in the 2008 US presidential election.

"We congratulate Senator Obama on his truly landmark achievement tonight. Among the many challenges facing our new president, AIDS remains a significant and growing crisis in America. We urge President-elect Obama and his administration to prioritize this public health crisis by taking simple, straightforward steps to address the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic upon taking office in January," said AHF President Michael Weinstein. "In order to do so, AIDS Healthcare Foundation believes that President-elect Obama and the U.S. government must appropriate $200 million to test 10 million people for HIV over the next three years. Massive scale-up of HIV testing is the only way to bring down the growing HIV/AIDS crisis in America."

There are approximately 1.2 million people in the US living with HIV/AIDS today. More than 300,000 of these individuals have never had an HIV test and therefore do not know their HIV status. In August, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released stark new data showing an alarming 40% increase in HIV infections in the US annually (56,000 new cases each year up from a previous estimate of 40,000 cases annually). These numbers are a scathing indictment of how profoundly U.S. and CDC HIV prevention efforts have failed over the years.

"Without an accurate picture of the epidemic, which has been vastly underestimated for the past ten years, we have missed countless opportunities to intervene with effective public health strategies," added AHF's Weinstein. "Identifying all those who are infected and linking them to treatment, is the only way to break the chain of new infections and begin to address the nation's runaway epidemic."

NOTE:

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: AHF President Michael Weinstein will be available to comment on AHF's call for $200 million in funding for expanded HIV testing and the neglect of domestic AIDS. Contact him via +1.323.810.1238 (mobile) or via email michaelw@aidshealth.org.

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the nation's largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare, research, prevention and education provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 65,000 individuals in 20 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org

SOURCE: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, Communications Director
(323) 860-5225 work, (323) 791-5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Lori Yeghiayan, Associate Director of Communications
(323) 860-5227 work, (323) 377-4312 mobile
lori.yeghiayan@aidshealth.org


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