Letter from CAPTC Director
Dana Cropper, MPA, MHA
Today marks the nation’s 35th commemoration of World AIDS Day (WAD). Many of us who remember the very 1st WAD were already working in the field or planning our career in public health. In those early days we never could have imagined the number of lives that would be lost, or adversely affected by HIV/AIDS. Although we were determined to find a cure, we couldn’t quite envision the biomedical advances that would be made to reduce HIV transmission or prevent virus replication for those with HIV.
This year’s WAD theme is “Remember and Commit”. We remember those days when we regularly lost friends and coworkers. I dread saying that we almost got used to it, but we were never comfortable with it. Interestingly, it’s the same today, we may be used to friends living full and healthy lives with HIV, but we still should not be comfortable with it. I don’t want anyone else to get HIV, regardless of how well they will live. My mantra is “no new infections!”
As we reflect on this year’s theme, we should each commit to do our part to educate ourselves and others about the status of HIV infection in the United States. I recently heard a renowned HIV researcher discuss the goals of the CDC’s Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Initiative. Notably, the U.S. may be well positioned to fulfill the goal of reducing new HIV infections by 90% by 2030 (www.cdc.gov, 2023), but only for White Americans. Unfortunately, that goal will most likely go unmet for people of color, especially Black Americans.
So, in remembrance of the past, we must commit to equitable care and services, increased education and messaging, along with the accessibility and uptake of PrEP, PEP, and TasP for all communities.
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