REPORTS

Deciding Moment

Deciding Moment is the latest annual update on the State of AIDS in Black America. We at the Institute hope you, too, find inspiration in revisiting the enormous advances we experienced in 2010.

The year 2011 represents a landmark in the AIDS epidemic. It marks 30 years since initial recognition of the disease, and 15 years since the number of new HIV infections among Blacks in the U.S. surpassed those among whites.

2011 also marks 15 years since regulatory approval of a new class of drugs, protease inhibitors, which made combination antiretroviral therapy possible. Antiretroviral therapy revolutionized medical management of HIV infection, resulting in a sharp reduction in HIV-related illness and death.

But still every year, 56,000 Americans become infected with HIV. Nearly one out of two newly infected people are Black.

Fortunately, 2010 was one of those years that helped those of us who work in the AIDS field to find a new burst of energy and new wells of hope and optimism, because 2010 was one of the most remarkable years in the epidemic's history.

For the first time ever, our country now has in place a comprehensive, results-driven national strategy to fight AIDS here at home. And at long last, the U.S. enacted comprehensive health reform. As a result of this bold step, more than 30 million Americans who currently have no health coverage will have access to quality medical care. This momentous achievement—which brings America into line with other industrialized countries—will especially benefit Black America and people living with HIV.

The report also looks ahead. It offers recommendations for action to preserve and build on last year's successes. And it also takes a peek at 2012, when the International AIDS Conference returns to the U.S. for the first time in more than two decades, offering a unique opportunity to focus attention on the AIDS crisis in Black America.

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