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AUSTIN, Texas -- The Medical Institute for Sexual Health today enthusiastically applauded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention new guidelines on HIV/AIDS prevention. The organization released this statement by Joe S. McIlhaney, MD, president and founder:
"Over the last 20 years, 800,000 Americans have been infected with HIV and almost half a million Americans have died of AIDS. Up to a quarter of infected persons are unaware of their infections. Given the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment, and the risks of unintentionally infecting their partners or newborns, it is important for all infected persons to know their status.
"During this same 20-year period, 9,000 children less than 13 years of age have been infected and 5,000 of these have died. Many of these acquired their infections shortly before, during, or shortly after birth (i.e., from breastfeeding). As recently as 2001, 175 infants acquired HIV infection from their mothers. Almost none of these would have been infected had their mothers been adequately screened and treated.
"Twenty years ago, AIDS was a new, complicated and fatal disease. Effective early treatment was not available. Perinatal transmission (transmission from an infected mother to her fetus/newborn) was not preventable. And few data were available about effective prevention. In response, the CDC, public health authorities, and physicians established what they hoped would be effective prevention guidelines. Many people benefited from these efforts. Unfortunately, estimates of new infections have been stagnant for almost a decade, at 40,000 infections per year (CDC). It should be obvious to all that a continuation of these early policies would only produce the same results.
"We've entered a new era. Effective early treatment is available. Perinatal transmission (transmission from an infected mother to her fetus/newborn) can be prevented. And data are available about effective prevention. The CDC is to be applauded for being dissatisfied with the status quo and for today announcing dramatic new science-based HIV prevention recommendations. These recommendations include:
* Making HIV testing a routine part of medical care.
* Creating new models for diagnosing HIV infections outside medical
* Working with people diagnosed with HIV and their partners.
* Incorporating HIV testing in the routine battery of prenatal tests."
The Medical Institute was founded in 1995 to confront the worldwide epidemics of nonmarital pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection with incisive health care data.
Source: The Medical Institute for Sexual Health