Each year in June, the United States observes National Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing Day. An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are currently living with HIV. Sadly, 1 in 7 of these individuals are unaware that they have HIV, which poses serious health risks. On this day, we reaffirm our Nation’s leading role in advancing prevention, research, treatment, and cures for this virus and pledge to continue working to raise awareness about the importance of testing and early diagnosis in combating HIV.
While infections in the United States have dropped by more than two-thirds since the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, nearly 40,000 Americans are still diagnosed with the virus each year. Of these new infections, roughly 80 percent are transmitted by people who are either undiagnosed or not receiving treatment. These numbers demonstrate how critically important it is that we continue to use American innovation and ingenuity to develop treatments that mitigate the spread of HIV. No other country is better prepared to succeed in these efforts or has helped champion significant medical advancements more than the United States. Availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) are dramatically reducing virus transmission and enabling good health. People who are properly diagnosed and adhere to their ART have a very high likelihood of remaining virally suppressed for years. This means that these individuals will have the opportunity to live healthy and fulfilling lives while also reducing the risk of transmission to others.
To better close the gap between testing and treatment, last year my Administration launched “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” through the Department of Health and Human Services. As part of the second year of this bipartisan, multiyear initiative, my 2021 Budget Request includes $716 million to prevent the spread of HIV infections and to better care for, treat, and protect those people living with this virus. By actively empowering Americans with the tools they need to combat HIV, this initiative aims to drastically reduce transmissions and build healthier and safer communities throughout our Nation.
On National HIV Testing Day, we acknowledge the incredible strides our Nation has made in combating this terrible epidemic. Together, through spreading awareness and advancing science, we recommit to using prevention, testing, and treatment tools to end HIV in the United States and around the world.