As we observe World AIDS Day on December 1, we remember those we’ve lost to the disease, reflect on the progress we’ve made in treating patients, and resolve to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic. SAMHSA’s role in ending HIV is vitally important because the people we are charged with caring for – those with a mental or substance use disorder – are disproportionately affected by HIV.The good news is we have seen great success in treating HIV infection over the past 20 years. In fact, a 20-year old who is diagnosed today with HIV can have a near normal life expectancy if they take antiretroviral medication every day and maintain an undetectable level of virus in their blood.
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The 2017 Voice Awards focusing on military and veteran communities struck a chord with me. As a retired captain in the Navy Reserve and the spouse of a U.S. Marine, I know what life in this community is like. I understand the realities, complexities, joys and hardships. But most importantly, I know how resilient this community is. We truly find strength in each other.
At this year’s Voice Awards, I had the opportunity to honor an exemplary group of community champions and entertainment professionals. Through their work and personal stories of resilience, the Voice Awards honorees inspire hope through their efforts to increase understand of behavioral health issues, and make it easier for individuals and families to seek help.