STATEMENT OF ANTHONY S. FAUCI, M.D. DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH ON NATIONAL ASIAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY MAY 19, 2010
May 13, 2010 - On the sixth annual National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we join with these communities in support of HIV/AIDS prevention and
treatment. An estimated 15,100 Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2006,1 the most recent year for which data are available.
To date, more than 3,000 people with AIDS in these communities have died.2 The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, joins Asians and
Pacific Islanders in mourning those who have succumbed to this terrible disease.
To make progress in the battle against HIV/AIDS, we need to overcome the barriers to early HIV testing and treatment. At the end of 2006, nearly 30 percent of Asians and Pacific
Islanders with HIV did not know they were infected-more than any other U.S. racial or ethnic group.3 A delay in getting tested and starting treatment for HIV infection can
jeopardize one's health and increase the risk of spreading the virus, as untreated individuals with high levels of HIV are more likely to infect others than treated
individuals. For these reasons, NIAID strongly endorses testing for HIV during routine medical care for adolescents, adults and pregnant women, as the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.
In some Asian and Pacific Islander communities, the stigma of being infected with HIV may discourage individuals from learning their HIV status. I applaud those who
are fighting this stigma by fostering compassion for and acceptance of people with HIV.
More than three-fourths of Asians and Pacific Islanders living with HIV/AIDS acquired the virus through sexual contact.4 This underscores the imperative to practice
safer sex http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001949.htm and
the importance of developing biomedical tools to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. In this regard, NIAID supports research into the development of
microbicides-creams, gels, foams or rings applied topically to the vagina or rectum to prevent HIV transmission; the testing of pre-exposure
prophylaxis (PrEP), an experimental strategy of using an antiretroviral drug regimen to protect individuals from HIV infection; and
the discovery of a safe and effective HIV vaccine to prevent infection. In addition, NIAID will launch a study this summer to
test the feasibility of a program for reducing the risk of HIV transmission in a community by lowering the amount of
HIV in the bodily fluids of infected individuals through standards-based medical treatment.
On this commemorative day, I thank those who care for Asians and Pacific Islanders with HIV/AIDS, and I applaud the organizations and individuals who work to prevent the spread of HIV in these communities. I also thank those who work to overcome the stigma of HIV infection. Finally, I encourage Asians and Pacific Islanders - and, indeed, all Americans - to undergo HIV testing as part of routine medical care. Dr. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Each year, the NIH Office of AIDS Research ( http://www.oar.nih.gov/ ) produces a Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related
Research that identifies strategic priorities for all areas of HIV/AIDS research. The plan is developed in collaboration with experts from the NIH institutes and
centers, other government agencies, non-governmental organizations and HIV/AIDS community representatives. The Fiscal Year 2011 Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related
Research ( http://www.oar.nih.gov/strategicplan/fy2011/index.asp )
contains a chapter specifically devoted to research addressing HIV/AIDS in special populations, including racial and ethnic minorities.
For more information about HIV/AIDS, please visit www.AIDS.gov and NIAID's HIV/AIDS portal ( http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/HIVAIDS/ ). To volunteer for an HIV/AIDS clinical trial, go to ClinicalTrials.gov ( http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results&term=HIV&recr=Open ).
For more information about HIV/AIDS, please visit www.aids.gov and NIAID's HIV/AIDS portal ( http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/HIVAIDS/ ).
To volunteer for an HIV/AIDS clinical trial, go to http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=HIV&recr=Open .
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such
as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also
supports research on basic immunology, transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2008. HIV prevalence estimates - United States, 2006. MMWR 57(39):1074.
2. CDC. 2009. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2007. Vol. 19, Table 8.
3. Campsmith et al. 2010. Undiagnosed HIV prevalence among adults and adolescents in the United States at the end of 2006. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 53(5):621.
4. CDC. 2009. Table 10.
Source: NIH News: National Institutes of Health