Head of UNAIDS: “What Took the CDC So Long?”

From AIDS2008.com

I just attended the press conference preceding the opening session of the IAC, which featured many of tonight’s speakers who will give (hopefully) rousing speeches about the state of AIDS, the movement, our successes and where we need to be going. The speakers at the conference gave the 2-minute version of their speech for tonight, and then took questions fromt the reporters in the audience.

Just when I was about to doze off or die of boredom, Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS was giving his final thoughts at the end of the Q&A, and he began to talk about what should be done globally. He said that “It is important for timely information to be released to the public. It’s like the CDC deciding to release this incidence data so late. I don’t understand why it took so long. They could have released it in an MMWR.”

CHAMP has been following the incidence story since last year when CHAMP executed the Prevention Justice Mobilization around the National HIV Prevention Conference. And I remember CHAMP and PJM allies catching a lot of flack for suggesting in the press that the CDC could have released the numbers sooner, and with their own internal process. It’s good to know we weren’t the only ones who thought this seemed to take much longer than was necessary.

In fact, when The Washington Blade broke the story on November 14th, 2007,they said in the lede that the CDC was “mulling over” when to release the data. They only talk about a peer-review process in their response further down in the article.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is mulling over when to release alarming new statistics showing that as many as 50 percent more people are being infected with HIV each year in the United States than originally reported by the government.

According to AIDS advocacy groups familiar with the CDC, middle level officials at the disease prevention agency have quietly confided in colleagues in professional and scientific circles that the number of new HIV infections now appears to be as high as 58,000 to 63,000 cases in the most recent 12-month period.”

If you want to watch the Opening Session live, Kaiser Family Foundation is webcasting it at 8pm EST.

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