HIV and AIDS in the U.S.
Photo: The Meredith Family
While we have made great strides in the movement to eradicate HIV/AIDS, approximately 100 to 200 babies are still being born with HIV each year in the United States. In addition, the number of HIV-positive women of child-bearing age continues to grow at an alarming rate.
To address the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic, EGPAF is taking steps to ensure that women, children, and families with HIV/AIDS in the United States receive the prevention, care, and treatment services they need to thrive.
National HIV/AIDS Strategy
Photo: Tanya Torres
In 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States. As a group, women account for 23 percent of annual new HIV infections and 25 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS.
The growing domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic signals an urgent need to improve HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and medical treatment services across the country in order to reduce the number of people living with HIV/AIDS.
EGPAF is in support of the Obama Administration's national HIV/AIDS strategy, and looks forward to playing a role as the implementation of the strategy moves forward.
The Ryan White Care Act
Next to the Medicaid program, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act is the largest federal investment in the care and treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS in the United States. Today, the CARE Act provides services to hundreds of thousands of low-income, HIV-positive individuals.
Since the CARE Act was first enacted in 1990, EGPAF has worked to ensure that HIV/AIDS programs providing medical care, support services, case management, and outreach to women, children, and families affected by HIV and AIDS are strengthened and improved.
The Ryan White CARE program is keeping families healthier, saving money by reducing hospitalizations, and linking women and children to opportunities to participate in cutting-edge clinical research. In particular, Title IV (Part D) programs have been instrumental in reducing the number of babies born with HIV annually in the U.S. — from more than 2,000 per year two decades ago to fewer than 200 per year today.
The Ryan White CARE Act must be renewed in order to ensure continued funding for programs that provide important services to women, children, and families affected by HIV/AIDS. EGPAF is currently working with stakeholders and Congress to urge policymakers to support those most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS — including women and children — by reauthorizing and fully funding the Ryan White CARE Act.
HIV Testing of Pregnant Women and Newborns
Without medical intervention, an HIV-positive woman has about a one-in-four chance of giving birth to an HIV-positive baby. Due to HIV testing and preventative drug therapies, mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the United States has been dramatically reduced.
HIV testing is a key element to ensuring that babies are born free of HIV. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends universal, routine, opt-out testing of pregnant women; however, these guidelines are not always implemented.
EGPAF supports more robust implementation of CDC guidelines as the most effective way of increasing HIV testing rates for pregnant women and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Testing is the first step to providing mothers with the medical care and treatment they need to protect their own health and the health of their babies.