Good and bad news on World AIDS Day

February 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

World AIDS Day 2000 has come and gone, and according to Surgeon General David Satcher, there is both good and bad news to report. Although infection rates may have decreased, HIV/AIDS still represents a severe and ongoing crisis in America, particularly for men in communities of color.

World AIDS Day 2000 has come and gone, and according to Surgeon General David Satcher, there is both good and bad news to report. Although infection rates may have decreased, HIV/AIDS still represents a severe and ongoing crisis in America, particularly for men in communities of color.

"The good news is that HIV infections have fallen dramatically since the 1980s, with new cases falling from 150,000 a year to about 40,000 during the 1990s. I am pleased to report that we have begun to educate, motivate and mobilize Americans against HIV/AIDS," said Satcher, former director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Unfortunately, data suggest the majority of these estimated 40,000 new HIV infections are disproportionately among people of color, especially African Americans and Hispanics, which make up more than 73% of all new HIV infections." Satcher also indicated that HIV infection rates are also steadily rising among women and young people.

Global approach

Because of steady or increasing rates of infection around the world, the National Institutes of Health used World AIDS Day as an opportunity to announce a new plan for global AIDS research. According to Jack Whitescarver, acting director of the NIH Office of AIDS Research, "A strong, coordinated biomedical research effort is critical to address the global pandemic. Through the Global AIDS Research Initiative and Strategic Plan, NIH reaffirms our long-standing commitment to international AIDS research and significantly increases our research efforts to benefit resource- and infrastructure-poor nations."

The strategic plan was developed by the NIH's Office of AIDS Research, and includes research goals for the major international efforts of the NIH's research institutes and centers. "It is our sincere hope that the fruits of this research will help to alleviate the suffering caused by HIV and AIDS throughout the world," said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

New medications

The Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America also took the opportunity on World AIDS Day to announce the findings of a new survey of pharmaceutical companies that revealed that 103 new AIDS medicines are in the pipeline.

"Despite the remarkable progress against AIDS, the disease is far from beaten," said PhRMA President Alan F. Holmer. "Worldwide, an estimated 33 million adults and 1.3 million children are living with HIV or AIDS, and AIDS is the fifth leading killer of people ages 25 to 44 in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies are committed to continuing the fight against AIDS and to finding new ways to thwart this terrible disease." PR