Maria M. Dasana
Thirty years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the United States. Since then, more than half a million Americans have died of AIDS, and 1.1 million people are currently living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the United States. HIV/AIDS is one of the epidemics that continue to devastate the human race, a communicable as well as chronic infectious disease that can be transmitted from one individual, or species, to another. The UNAIDS/WHO (United Nations AIDS/World Health Organization) in 2006 estimated number of persons living with HIV worldwide in 2007 was 33.2 million (HIV/AIDS surveillance, 2013).
On July 13, 2010, the Obama administration released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States (NHAS), the most comprehensive federal response to the domestic HIV epidemic to date. The NHAS's goals are grouped into three areas: reduce the number of new HIV infections, improve access to care and health outcomes, and reduce HIV-related health disparities (AIDS Policy National HIV/AIDS Strategy, 2010). The NHAS is being credited as a major advance in HIV policy because of its in-depth focus, its detailed implementation plan, and its enhanced monitoring process. Nevertheless, the NHAS faces several challenges namely, securing new federal resources and effectively implementing the strategy's objectives within target populations. If these challenges are not addressed, the NHAS goals will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish in the next five years.
The NHAS has set a goal of reducing new HIV infections by 25% within the next five years (AIDS Policy National HIV/AIDS Strategy, 2010). A decrease in HIV incidence is dependent on both the prevalence of HIV and the HIV transmission rate. The transmission rate is...