Biden Administration’s New HIV/AIDS Strategy: Racism Is ‘Serious Public Health Threat’

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: U.S. President Joe Biden hugs Marguerite Wheeler-Lara, the m
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President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday released its 2022–2025 HIV/AIDS Strategy, which includes the claim racism is “a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans.”

The summary of the strategy continues:

Racism is not only the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity, but also the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where they play, and where they gather as a community. Over generations, these structural inequities have resulted in racial and ethnic health disparities that are severe, far-reaching, and unacceptable. Across the country, federal, state, and local leaders are declaring racism to be a public health crisis, an important step in the movement toward equity. This recognition comes with the need for a more equitable HIV response that focuses on populations with the greatest need.

The strategy aims to support efforts to achieve “racial justice,” according to the Associated Press:

Besides addressing racism’s impact on Americans battling the virus or at risk of contracting it, the new strategy also puts greater emphasis on harm reduction and syringe service programs, encourages reform of state laws that criminalize behavior of people with HIV for potentially exposing others and adds focus on the needs of the growing population of people with HIV who are aging.

More than 36 million people worldwide, including 700,000 in the U.S., have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic more than 40 years ago. Nearly 38 million people are living with HIV, including 1.2 million in the U.S.

The vast majority of individuals who have HIV/AIDS are men who have sex with men.

The Biden administration announced it would host a Global Fund to Fight AIDS conference next year. The United States has already contributed $17 billion to the fund, according to AP.

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