There have been many well-documented and successful strategies employed in the United States and throughout the world to curb the devastating expansion of the AIDS epidemic. Nevertheless, the cost in lives and lost productivity remains a staggering problem. In the United States there were 34,188 new HIV infections reported in 2008 and worldwide there are about 2.5 million new infections annually.
HIV/AIDS affects people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds in Florida and is the third leading cause of death among women between the ages of 25 and 44, although it is the sixth leading cause of death in men in that age group. In 2010 it was the fourth leading cause of death among black men and second among black women.
As healthcare workers, we have the ability to encourage practices that are known to reduce the spread of AIDS, including behavioral change, prompt treatment of sexually transmitted disease, encouraging use of clean injection drug equipment, routine HIV testing, patient education and counseling, and consistent condom use. The goal is to eliminate new HIV infections entirely in Florida and throughout the United States and the world. We all play a vital role in accomplishing this goal.