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Improved treatments and better life expectancy may have led some public health officials to become complacent about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Coop recently issued a statement calling for lawmakers to make more HIV testing and other resources available to help curb the spread of the disease.
During his time as Surgeon General, Koop helped draft the nation's policies on HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s. Since that time, the disease has continued to spread a staggering rate, showing little signs of being brought under control.
"As someone who has been speaking out on HIV/AIDS for 30 years, I want to go public once more with the same message I delivered as Surgeon General - HIV is contagious and it can kill you," he said.
He called the nation's lack of attention to HIV the "new front" on which public health officials must fight the disease. Additionally he said that a lack of private and federal insurance coverage of HIV testing is helping to fuel the epidemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 20 percent of the 1.1 million people infected the disease are unaware of their condition.
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