Tracking the HIV Epidemic: Current Issues, Future Challenges

Fleming, Patricia L.; Wortley, Pascale M.; Karon, John M.; DeCock, Kevin M.; Janssen, Robert S.
July 2000
American Journal of Public Health;Jul2000, Vol. 90 Issue 7, p1037
Academic Journal
The emergence of a new infectious disease, AIDS, in the early 1980s resulted in the development of a national AIDS surveillance system. AIDS surveillance data provided an understanding of transmission risks and characterized communities affected by the epidemic. Later, these data provided the basis for allocating resources for prevention and treatment programs. New treatments have dramatically improved survival. Resulting declines in AIDS incidence and deaths offer hope that HIV disease can be successfully managed. However, to prevent and control HIV/AIDS in the coming decades, the public health community must address new challenges. These include the defining of the role of treatment in reducing infectiousness; the potential for an epidemic of treatment-resistant HIV; side effects of treatment; complacency that leads to relapses to high-risk behaviors; and inadequate surveillance and research capacity at state and local levels to guide the development of health interventions. Meeting these challenges will require reinvesting in the public health capacity of state and local health departments, restructuring HIV/AIDS surveillance programs to collect the data needed to guide the response to the epidemic, and providing timely answers to emerging epidemiologic questions. (Am d Public Health. 2000; 90:1037-1041)


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