Today, Director Kerlikowske participated in a preconference hosted by the International AIDS Society to help kick off the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. Director Kerlikowske underscored the Obama Administration’s commitment to preventing drug use and its consequences, particularly the transmission of HIV. Injection drug use is a leading cause of HIV in the United States.
Director Kerlikowske made clear that the Administration and ONDCP recognize and acknowledge the connection between drug use and the spread of HIV/AIDS. The National Drug Control Strategy, the federal government’s primary blueprint for drug policy in the United States, includes an action item from the Administration to help reduce drug use and the attendant spread of HIV. The Strategy explores all avenues for curbing the drug problem in America, including areas not emphasized in past drug policies: treatment, prevention, and recovery.
The Administration’s policy recognizes drug addiction not as a moral failing but as a chronic disease of the brain, a disease that can be treated and managed. The policy encourages and applauds those who have overcome the disease of addiction, and it supports former users who are now living healthy, productive lives in recovery.
In recent years ONDCP has worked collaboratively with the Office of National AIDS Policy and the Department of Health and Human Services to develop the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which calls for the coupling of HIV screening with traditional substance abuse treatment programs. The Nation’s first-ever comprehensive HIV/AIDS roadmap, the Strategy urges more medical facilities to employ rapid HIV screenings and, thus, give more people the opportunity to be tested in a variety of settings.
Working together with our partners in and out of government, we are committed to “turning the tide together” while building a healthier, safer America. For more information on this year’s International AIDS Conference, please visit the event page on AIDS.gov.