Progress Shouldn't Mean Complacence

Progress Shouldn't Mean Complacence

06.22.11 | By Kate Connors

This week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released the results of a survey seeking to capture the public's opinions about HIV/AIDS.

As Catalyst readers surely know, this year marks 30 years since the first medical journal mention of the disease that would come to be known as AIDS. And though we at PhRMA discuss the remarkable progress made in medical therapies, allowing HIV/AIDS patients to live much longer, the Kaiser survey shares insight into how people learn about AIDS, their opinions regarding testing, and more.
What I found most notable is the idea that as improved therapies are developed to control the disease, the perceived urgency diminishes. In 1987, the Gallup Poll found that 68 percent of Americans cited HIV/AIDS as the most urgent health problem facing the country.
According to Kaiser Family Foundation's survey, that number has dropped to just 7 percent, and "almost all Americans now believe it is possible for people with HIV to lead healthy, productive lives."
While it is a testament to how far we've come in battling HIV/AIDS, we cannot forget that for the more than 3 million people worldwide living with the disease, it is an extremely urgent health concern. And it's why the emphasis on prevention must remain strong - perhaps stronger than ever.
It's also why America's biopharmaceutical research companies are not backing away from research in this field, with 100 medicines currently being studied.
Because despite the findings that "the American public is more likely than not to see the epidemic as increasingly under control," our researchers know that they still have some work ahead of them.

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