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Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 1, 2005
Contact: CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Statement by Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC Director
World AIDS Day, December 1, 2005

Nearly 25 years into the AIDS epidemic, our nation continues to face complex challenges in the fight against HIV. The number of people living with HIV in the United States has reached an all-time high at more than one million and worldwide about 40 million people are living with HIV. One-quarter of those Americans do not even realize they are infected, and an estimated 40,000 new infections continue to occur every year in the U.S. In addition, HIV continues to disproportionately affect African Americans and men who have sex with men.

But on this World AIDS Day there are also reasons for optimism. The latest CDC research demonstrate the dramatic success of efforts to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission in the U.S., as pediatric AIDS cases reached an all time low in 2004, with only 48 cases reported. Additionally, research on new HIV diagnoses from 33 states suggest that comprehensive HIV prevention efforts for injection drug users are working. In addition, more people worldwide are being tested and receiving lifesaving treatments thanks to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Many state and local communities across the U.S. are reporting encouraging signs of growing acceptance of HIV testing, expanded use of proven HIV prevention interventions, and innovative new approaches to reaching populations now at greatest risk. Building upon this progress will be critical.

On World AIDS Day, let us recommit ourselves to protecting the health of everyone from this terrible disease. Our efforts to support a comprehensive approach to combating HIV are guided by two essential goals: decreasing the number of new HIV infections, and increasing the number of HIV infected individuals who learn their status and are linked to care and ongoing prevention services. To this end, CDC is partnering with national, state, and local organizations throughout the U.S. to achieve these goals.

But, clearly, more remains to be done, and all of us – government, communities, academia, and advocates – have a critical role to play. Today, and every day, we must all commit to making a future without AIDS something we will all live to see.

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This page last updated November 22, 2005

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