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November 29, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

December 1 is World AIDS Day—a time to reflect on the impact of HIV, the lessons learned, the lives saved, and lives lost. This day is a call to action to continue to build upon our efforts to prevent HIV. Today, in observance of World AIDS Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an HIV-themed Vital Signs report and launched a new, national HIV awareness campaign, Testing Makes Us StrongerLink to non-governmental site.

Vital Signs Report

CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention is pleased to share with you the newest edition of CDC Vital Signs. This month’s report includes a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, HIV Prevention Through Care and Treatment, and an accompanying fact sheet, New Hope for Stopping HIV—Testing and Medical Care Save Lives. These materials highlight the reality that HIV testing, linking people with HIV to care and treatment, appropriate use of medications to reduce the amount of virus in the body, viral suppression, and prevention counseling can, and does lead to better outcomes in HIV prevention.

Data in today’s Vital Signs report and fact sheet include:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 people with HIV (or 240,000 people) don’t know they are infected.
  • People who don’t know are at higher risk of serious medical problems and early death.
  • Only 41% of people with HIV get ongoing HIV medical care.
  • Only 28% of people with HIV have viral suppression.
  • Viral suppression improves health, extends life, and can help to prevent people from transmitting the virus to others.

CDC Vital Signs is specifically designed to bring focus to important data and information concerning a single important health topic each month, and provide a call to address it. This edition of Vital Signs specifically highlights the areas in HIV prevention where we are showing success and where we have opportunities for improvement. It clearly calls us to action. We look forward to working together to share this important information that we believe can make a difference and serve as an important part of our comprehensive approach to HIV prevention.

To help spread the word about the Vital Signs report, please link to CDC’s Vital Signs Web site at: www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns or you can syndicate Vital Signs each month directly into your Web site by using CDC’s content syndication service.

Testing Makes Us Stronger

Also for World AIDS Day, CDC is officially launching Testing Makes Us Stronger™, a campaign under the umbrella campaign Act Against AIDS™, to encourage HIV prevention through testing, care, and treatment. It is designed to encourage HIV testing among black gay and bisexual men—one of the populations most affected by HIV in the United States. Through images of a diverse range of black men, Testing Makes Us Stronger aims to demonstrate that knowing one's HIV status is important and empowering information. The campaign’s images and messages will be featured in targeted online and print media, as well as local outdoor, transit, and print media in select cities experiencing high levels of HIV infection among black gay and bisexual men. These materials will also be available for use by partners who wish to use them in their own local efforts. To access the materials, go to www.HIVtest.org/strongerLink to non-governmental site.

In closing, on this upcoming World AIDS Day, let us reflect on the accomplishments made in the past year and refocus on the future and how we can work together to reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS on the people of the United States.

Sincerely,

/Kevin A. Fenton/
Kevin A. Fenton, MD, PhD, FFPH
Director
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/nchhstp

/Jonathan H. Mermin/
Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH
Director
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/hiv

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