By: Erika Kolb
This past summer, the International AIDS Conference was held in the United States for the first time since 1987. It was the same year of the last US held conference that a provision was instated that prevented anyone from traveling or immigrating into the United States if they had HIV or AIDS unless they received a waiver. In 2009, President Obama’s administration put out a rule removing that ban. This removal allowed for the conference to be held here.
Because of this conference, HIV/AIDS was in the news through the summer. However, in general we have seen a decrease in coverage about this pandemic. People are not as informed about the disease as they had been previously. 1.2 Americans are living with HIV. Of that population, it is thought that 20% are unaware that they are infected. Each year, approximately 50,000 Americans are newly infected. For that matter, while those in urban areas are still most affected by the disease, the South represents a large portion of the cases of HIV in the United States.
President Obama and his administration have made efforts towards helping this pandemic. The President has reauthorized the Ryan White Care Act, an act which seeks to help those living with HIV/AIDS in addition to lifting the ban discussed earlier. But there is more to be done. Better healthcare for the incarcerated with HIV, needle exchanges across the country, and better sex education all can be useful in reducing the number of new cases this country sees. Just because HIV/AIDS is not constantly in the news, does not mean it is something that as a country we should forget about. It is a world problem, and everyone should be doing their part to help.