Chronic disease often calls up bad images for people because it means living with the disease for a long time. But… there was a time when cancer wasn’t chronic disease because people got sick and died pretty quickly. The same goes for HIV. When it was first discovered in the early 80s people quickly transitioned to AIDS and died shortly after diagnosis. Now science and medicine have advanced so far, that HIV and AIDS are both more like chronic diseases. They’ve even come close to what could be considered a vaccine – a discovery so important researchers released it before the rest of the study was finished. The CDC celebrated World HIV day this week by releasing a new issue of Vital Signs.
We’re also keeping up with the times and changing how we handle HIV & AIDS. The folks who work in HIV/AIDS prevention are moving into our Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease. This makes so much sense – a lot of the messaging is the same. People need to learn to control the symptoms, reduce the stressors (like tobacco use or high blood pressure), exercise, eat well and get regular health screenings. We’ll continue with our surveillance efforts in our Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control.