For Immediate Release: August 21, 2009
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Thousands Gather at 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference to Confront the HIV Epidemic in the United States
Atlanta (August 21, 2009) – More than 3,000 public health, medical, and AIDS community leaders will convene in Atlanta for the 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference (August 23-26), the only major U.S. conference to focus exclusively on HIV prevention. The meeting is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more than 40 other public and private agencies dedicated to fighting HIV and AIDS in the United States. Conference participants will include U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, Jeffrey Crowley; CDC Director Thomas Frieden; and basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
“This conference is a reminder that HIV prevention can and does save lives,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., conference co-chair and director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “However, the HIV crisis in America is far from over. Too many people remain at risk, and too few people have access to proven HIV prevention programs.”
It is estimated that prevention efforts have averted more than 350,000 HIV infections in the United States to date, and saved more than $125 billion in medical costs alone. Still, more than one million people in the United States are now living with HIV, and CDC’s latest estimates indicate that more than 56,000 Americans—one person every 9 ½ minutes—become infected with HIV each year. Gay and bisexual men of all races, African Americans, and Latinos are most severely affected by HIV.
Conference Sessions to Address Most Pressing Prevention Issues in the United States
More than 700 scientific studies will be presented at the conference, and plenary and other special sessions will focus on the most urgent HIV prevention issues in this country today.
Featured sessions and speakers include:
- Opening address by Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Aug. 23), chairman of The Magic Johnson Foundation, who will address the challenges of living with HIV, as well as common myths about HIV in the black community
- Plenary session (Aug. 24) and HIV/AIDS Community Discussion (Aug. 25) with Jeffrey Crowley, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, who will discuss the Administration’s plans for developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy
- Plenary session (Aug 24) with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CDC Director Thomas Frieden to discuss the current Administration’s commitment to HIV prevention
- Plenary session on promising advances in HIV prevention science (Aug. 25) such as new behavioral interventions and potential biomedical approaches, including those that utilize antiretroviral treatment – both before exposure to the virus and to reduce transmissibility among those already infected
- Plenary session with members of Congress (Aug. 26) to discuss their perspectives on key legislative and policy issues affecting the lives of individuals living with HIV and the communities that are most deeply affected by the epidemic
Conference sessions will also examine societal factors that contribute to HIV risk and disease progression, including stigma, racism, discrimination, homophobia, poverty, homelessness, and limited access to health care.
“To make a significant impact in driving down HIV infection rates in the United States, it is essential that we address the full range of factors that place individuals at risk,” said Beverly Watts Davis, conference co-chair and senior policy advisor on substance abuse policy of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Societal factors such as substance abuse, mental health problems, and discrimination all contribute to the ongoing domestic HIV epidemic and must be incorporated into the nation’s HIV prevention response.”
In addition, since many populations with the highest rates of infection either do not recognize their risk or believe that HIV is no longer a serious health threat, conference sessions will address ways to combat HIV complacency, including efforts such as CDC’s recently-launched Act Against AIDS campaign – a five-year communication campaign to refocus national attention to the HIV epidemic in the United States.
Reaching the Populations at Greatest Risk
The conference will focus particular attention on the prevention needs of the hardest-hit populations – including gay and bisexual men of all races, African Americans, and Latinos. Men who have sex with men represent more than half of all new HIV infections estimated to occur in the United States each year, and are the only risk group in which new infections are increasing. There are continuing racial disparities in the U.S. HIV epidemic, with African Americans most severely and disproportionately affected, as well as ongoing disparities in infection rates among both blacks and Hispanics, compared to whites.
“As a nation, we’re at a critical crossroads in the fight against HIV,” said Richard Wolitski, Ph.D., conference co-chair and a deputy director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “While existing prevention tools have had a significant impact on the epidemic, there remains an urgent need to expand the reach of proven prevention programs and to develop new prevention options. The future course of the U.S. HIV epidemic will depend on how effectively we address this challenge now."
The 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference, convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more than 40 other public, private and government agencies, is taking place in Atlanta, Georgia, August 23-26. This biennial meeting focuses exclusively on the full spectrum of HIV prevention, giving community organizations, public health professionals, clinicians, advocates, and other interested individuals the opportunity to exchange information about effective prevention approaches. For more information, please visit www.2009nhpc.org.
For more information on the Act Against AIDS campaign, visit www.actagainstaids.org .
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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
2009 NATIONAL HIV PREVENTION CONFERENCE
– Co-sponsors and Partner Organizations –
Academy for Educational Development
African American Council on Liver Awareness, Hepatitis C/HIV Outreach
AIDS Action Council
AIDS Alliance for Faith and Health
The AIDS Institute
American Social Health Association
amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
The Balm In Gilead
Black Women's Health Imperative
Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, UCSF
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS
Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Emory Center for AIDS Research
Food and Drug Administration, DHHS
Fulton County (Georgia) Department of Health and Wellness
Grady Hospital Infectious Disease Program
Health Power for Minorities
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Hepatitis Foundation International
Indian Health Service, DHHS
Institute for Youth Development
National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities, Inc.
National Alliance for Hispanic Health
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative
National Association of People Living with AIDS
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of State Boards of Education
National Coalition of STD Directors
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
National Minority AIDS Council
National Minority Quality Forum
Office of Minority Health, DHHS
Office of Population Affairs, DHHS
Office on Women's Health, DHHS
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services
Washington AIDS International