Covering HIV angles and updated HIV and AIDS resources tip sheet

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and other outlets.

National HIV Testing Day, June 27Most of our attention over the past year has been on the COVID-19 pandemic, but AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) remain global threats.

June marks the 40th anniversary of the first cases of what would later be known as AIDS being reported by the CDC. Since then, 32 million people have died around the world.

Public health leaders have made a lot of progress in slowing the spread of HIV, but there are still thousands of Americans infected with the virus annually. Many of them aren’t aware they’re infected. The CDC reported that in 2019, there were 34,800 newly diagnosed HIV infections, down from 37,800 in 2015. About 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S.

If you are looking for a news hook, National HIV Testing Day is June 27. HIV testing is a crucial tool in both prevention and treatment of AIDS, the illness that can develop in the late stages of HIV infection. If HIV is caught early, antiretroviral therapy can slow and stop the spread of the virus before it damages the immune system. But it is expensive and not available to all people everywhere.

In 2019, the Trump administration launched the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, which poured money into regions with the most HIV cases. President Biden is building on that effort with a budget request to invest in HIV prevention and treatment efforts. The federal goal is to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 75% in five years and 90% in 10 years.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Anthony Fauci, MD., head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in May 2021 that the U.S. can still achieve that goal by 2030.

If you are writing about AIDS and HIV, be mindful of word choices and sources. Check out this primer from NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Association that has important recommendations on how not to use stigmatizing words in stories. AHCJ has also updated its tip sheet with resources.

Leave a Reply