February 17 2005 12:00 AM ET
Prevention leaders call for response to reports of multidrug-resistant HIV
In response to a reported case of a multiple-drug-resistant strain of HIV recently identified in New York City, members of the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services are urging continued community, government, and public health emphasis on primary HIV prevention activities to stop the spread of the virus. UCHAPS also is calling for the coordinated delivery of health-promotion messages to communities at increased risk of acquiring or transmitting the disease. "It's important that the community continues to embrace HIV prevention," said Steven Walker, the UCHAPS community cochairman, in a press release. "This newly reported case highlights the need for more community-level interventions that seek to address and change community norms regarding HIV risk behaviors. We know that we can't address HIV prevention in a vacuum, separate and apart from the other issues that compose the complexities of life."
The cofactors that can lead to sexual risk-taking are complex and include a broad range of issues, including racism, homophobia, stigma, poverty, and violence, each of which must be addressed in a coordinated effort and integrated into a comprehensive health-promotion program, UCHAPS says. The organization is calling on state and local governments, health agencies, and prevention programs to conduct a clear and targeted public health response, including increased resources for primary prevention, increased public awareness, and continued collaboration with public health and medical providers.
UCHAPS is a coalition of HIV prevention leaders in six cities--New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco--that collectively represent one third of the HIV cases in the United States. For more information about UCHAPS or its response to the discovery of multidrug-resistant HIV, go online to www.uchaps.org.