United States health officials are reporting problems in meeting the government's goal of ending the HIV epidemic by the year 2030.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, reports there are about 38,000 new cases of HIV each year across the country.
HIV is the name for the human immunodeficiency virus. It can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, commonly known as AIDS.
The CDC says that white Americans at risk of getting HIV are seven times more likely than blacks or Hispanics to receive a drug shown to be effective at preventing infection. The drug is called PrEP. It has been shown to cut the risk of getting HIV through sex by as much as 99%.
The CDC says less than half of at-risk whites use the PrEP. It usually requires doctors’ orders.
The Trump administration recently announced a plan to provide PrEP free to Americans whose health insurance does not pay for prescription medicines.
The medications, Truvada and Descovy, are made possible in part by a donation from the maker of the drugs, Gilead Sciences. The federal government is paying the manufacturer for several months to distribute the medications.
Without insurance, one month of the drugs costs between $1,600 and $2,000.
CDC officials note that 40% of HIV infections involve people who do not know they have the virus. They urge everyone to get tested and those who test positive to take daily medications to control the virus.
I’m Susan Shand.
VOANews.com reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
epidemic – n. an outbreak of an illness that effects many people
insurance – n. a program by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of payment for damages, sickness or death in exchange for payments by the person named in the policy
distribute – v. to give away or release
positive – adj. showing the presence or qualities of something