NEWS

President Biden Announces Plan to End HIV Epidemic by 2030

Joe Biden announcing HIV plan.

Anna Moneymaker / Staff / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Last week, President Biden announced a plan to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.
  • The plan involves distributing funds to programs that increase access to HIV medical care and medication and create housing stability for low-income people with HIV.
  • While the plan shows some promise, experts say that there needs to be more emphasis on supporting vulnerable men of color.

Last week, President Joe Biden commemorated World AIDS Day by announcing his administration’s commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus) epidemic. The disease has claimed the lives of more than 36 million people globally and 700,000 people in the United States.

The president intends to double down on efforts that averted access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment. 

The new HIV/AIDs strategy includes:

  • Incorporating the latest data on HIV trends, incidence, and prevalence
  • Addressing the social determinants of health that impact an individual’s HIV risk and outcomes 
  • Advocating to reform laws that criminalize HIV
  • Catalyzing collaboration with the private sector 

In an effort to increase access and support, the Biden Administration awarded $2.21 billion in funding to support Ryan White HIV/AIDS programming, which provides HIV primary medical care, medication, and other essential services to low-income people with HIV.

The President has also requested $670 million from the fiscal year 2022 budget to support the HIV initiative coupled with $250 million in American Rescue Plan funding to support the President’s Emergency Plan for AID Relief.

Coupled with that funding, President Biden proposed an additional $450 million to provide stable housing that will enable people to stay in medical care and adhere to medical treatment. 

Housing support is one of the plan’s most notable features, Alwyn Cohall, MD, professor of public health and pediatrics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told Verywell. Research shows that the lack of stable and adequate housing leads to significant barriers in accessing and adhering to HIV medical care and medications.

“This is a core step in stabilizing the lives of vulnerable populations and can help with adherence to health care and medications which will help reduce community burden of infection,” Cohall said.

What This Means For You

To learn more about HIV, you can check out Verywell's HIV health divide giving you important information on treatment, coping, and inequities.

The Plan's Limitations  

While the plan shows promise, experts worry that ending the HIV epidemic by 2030 is an unrealistic goal.

“HIV is now an endemic disease that will not be eliminated with current investments,” Sten Vermund, PhD, MD, infectious disease epidemiologist and dean of the Yale School of Public Health, told Verywell.

He said that while the plan is aspirational, the government is not investing the needed resources into effective programs. 

For example, Vermund noted that there is still a need for robust HIV programming that addresses education, housing, jobs, and wellness. “Globally, we have not deployed testing, linkage, and adherence to antiretroviral-based care for persons living with HIV, and community mobilization efficiently enough to result in the intended prevention effects,” Vermund said.

Coupled with more robust programming, Vermund said that efforts need to be concentrated on supporting men of color.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black people accounted for 13% of the U.S. population but 42% of new HIV diagnoses, and Black men who have made sexual contact with men had the highest rate of HIV diagnosis across races and genders. A recent CDC report found that HIV cases are falling, but only for White gay and bisexual men.

“I would like to see a more explicit emphasis on persons at highest risk, such as men of color who have sex with men,” Vermund said. “There is an urgent need for positive messaging and education for sexual health in adults and adolescents, including programs for control of sexually transmitted infections.” 

Cohall added that the plan needs to prioritize incarcerated individuals. In 2015, it was estimated that the prevalence of HIV was approximately 1.3% among incarcerated individuals, which is 0.3 to 0.4% higher than the HIV prevalence among the general U.S. population. This underscores the need for universal screening upon entry into jails and prisons and provision of treatment during incarceration.

“Further, for those testing negative, they should be educated about PrEP and provided with medication before release and linkage to care for follow-up once released,” Cohall explained. 

Next Steps for President Biden’s HIV Plan

In early 2022, the U.S. will release a five-year strategy outlining the steps for achieving these solutions. The plan will continue to accelerate HIV primary prevention efforts and improve care and treatment among vulnerable populations, according to President Biden.

“We have made tangible gains over the last ten years but there is much more work to be done,” Cohall said.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The White House. Fact Sheet: The Biden-Harris Administration Marks World AIDS Day 2021 With Renewed Commitments to Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic by 2030.

  2. Aidala AA, Wilson MG, Shubert V, et al. Housing Status, Medical Care, and Health Outcomes Among People Living With HIV/AIDS: A Systematic Review. Am J Public Health. 2016;106(1):e1-e23. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302905

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV and African American People.

  4. U.S. Department of Justice. HIV in Prisons, 2015 - Statistical Tables.

By Kayla Hui, MPH
Kayla Hui, MPH is the health and wellness ecommerce writer at Verywell Health.She earned her master's degree in public health from the Boston University School of Public Health and BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.