Wednesday marked World AIDS Day and President Biden unveiled a new national strategy to fight and end the epidemic by 2030.
The president held a press conference and said an estimated 36 million people, including 700,000 in the U.S., have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Biden pledged to address the deadly virus by establishing a national HIV/AIDS strategy, with a goal to end the epidemic by 2030.
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that while there was an overall decrease in the number of reported HIV cases from 2010 to 2019, that decrease was driven mostly by white, gay men. Black and Hispanic gay men did not experience a similar rate of decline.
Biden said his new strategy will take the latest advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment and ensure they are available to everyone, regardless of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or other factors.
The president attempted to address the racial barriers that impact diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS and said racism is, “a public health threat,” that must be fully recognized as the world looks to end the epidemic.
Biden’s national HIV/AIDS strategy is a multi-pronged approach that involves increasing awareness of the virus, educating communities on the available treatment options and, importantly, diversifying and increasing the capacity of health care systems and providers.
Notably, the plan includes goals on addressing HIV-related stigma and discrimination, by strengthening enforcement of civil rights laws, promoting the reform of state HIV criminalization laws and assisting states in protecting people with HIV from violence, retaliation, and discrimination.
It also intends to train health care professionals on stigma, discrimination and unrecognized bias towards populations who have HIV, including LGBTQI+ people, immigrants, those who use drugs and others involved in sex work.
The plan specifically highlights communities and populations where the need for assistance is greatest, like for Black, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native and other people of color.
The president said he has asked Congress for $670 million to fund his initiative.
“We can do this. We can eliminate HIV transmission. We can get the epidemic under control here in the United States and in countries around the world,” said Biden.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA