A new report by the Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academies, that lists 20 areas that the government and private organizations should focus on to improve health care in the United States does not specifically mention HIV/AIDS among the priorities. Caring for patients with chronic diseases was included on the list, but it was not clear if or how HIV/AIDS fits into this category. The study was prepared for the Department of Health and Human Services. Institute officials did not return telephone calls from Advocate.com for comment on why HIV/AIDS was not included among the nation's top health care priorities. An estimated 900,000 Americans are living with HIV, with another 40,000 becoming infected each year.
The report's priority areas, which were not ranked, are: asthma; patients with long-term chronic symptoms; children with special health and care needs; diabetes; end-of-life care for those with advanced organ failure; cancer screening; improving care and preventive care for frailty associated with old age; high blood pressure; immunizations against preventable communicable diseases; coronary heart disease; major depression; medication management; nosocomial infections (infections that are transmitted within hospital settings); obesity; pain control for patients with advanced cancer; improving care for pregnancy and childbirth; health literacy and self-management; severe and persistent mental illness; stroke; and tobacco dependence.
The National Academies is an independent organization chartered by Congress to provide advice to the government on scientific matters.