Historic Drop in AIDS Deaths
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 1998
WHITE HOUSE AIDS CZAR
WARNS AGAINST COMPLACENCY
WASHINGTON - Commenting on a new report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, White House AIDS czar Sandra Thurman urged Americans not to become complacent with the AIDS epidemic.
"While this decline in AIDS deaths is certainly good news, we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent about this deadly disease. We have every reason to be thankful for new treatments that are helping so many forestall the onset of AIDS-related illnesses, but we also fear that people will get the wrong message that there's nothing more to worry about," said Thurman.
"The sad truth is that these new treatments have no effect on new infections," cautioned Thurman. "Also, these new treatments are extremely difficult to take, and don't work for everybody. We are a long way off from having either a cure or a vaccine so we need to invest more of our energies in prevention and education," continued Thurman.
Some 40,000 to 60,000 Americans become infected with HIV each year, with over half of these occurring in young persons under 25 years of age. "Children are still very much at risk for AIDS, as are many poor and marginalized adults: these are the new faces of AIDS," stated Thurman. "What today's report also tells us is that HIV-related illnesses are still the number one cause of death for young African-Americans between 25 and 44 years of age. Complacency here will cost us many precious lives," warned Thurman.