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ATLANTA The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, has issued the following statement regarding World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2006: More than 25 years into the AIDS epidemic, we've made important progress against the disease but serious challenges remain. Advances in treatment continue to extend and improve the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS, yet not everyone has access to quality care. HIV prevention efforts have saved countless lives in the United States and around the world, but many people at risk must still be reached.Â Â And though we've achieved extraordinary declines in mother-to-child HIV transmission in the United States to fewer than 240 cases per year, even that number could be significantly reduced. Over a million people are living with HIV in the United States, with African Americans and gay and bisexual men of all races remaining most severely affected.Â Far too many Americans with HIV are not diagnosed until years after they were infected, when it may be too late to fully benefit from available treatments. And one-quarter of people with HIV -- at least 250,000 Americans -- still do not realize they are infected.Â Â
If we are to defeat HIV/AIDS, we must ensure that people know whether or not they are infected, so those who are HIV positive can receive life-extending treatment and take steps to protect their partners.Â To help accomplish this goal, CDC recently issued new recommendations to make HIV screening a routine part of medical care for all patients between the ages of 13 and 64.Â These recommendations are an essential part of the nation's comprehensive program of HIV prevention and care, and we believe they will help reach many of the quarter-million Americans who are unaware of their infection. On World AIDS Day, the Department of Health and Human Services launches www.AIDS.gov/, the new Internet gateway to federal HIV/AIDS information. It will guide users to information on prevention, testing, treatment, and research programs, and to federal HIV/AIDS policies and resources. Success against HIV will require many different solutions and a lifelong commitment from everyone -- from those infected, from those at risk, and from society as a whole.Â As we pause today to remember those lost to AIDS, let us also honor them with a renewed commitment to completely stopping the spread of HIV in the United States and around the world.