Medical progress now ensures that HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence, but only for those who can access good medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost three out of four Americans with HIV are not receiving enough medicine or regular health care “to stay healthy or prevent themselves from transmitting the virus to others.” Out of the 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV, 850,000 aren’t receiving regular treatment to keep the virus at a low enough level to prevent transmission or hurt their own health and 240,000 Americans don’t even know they’re infected with HIV.
For some, medical treatment is hard to come by. A Williams Institute study found that 5 percent of dentists in Los Angeles refused services to those with HIV/AIDs, a rate that is “lower than that of other health care providers. Over the past decade, “55% of obstetricians, 46% of skilled nursing facilities, and 25% of plastic surgeons” in L.A. “had policies that specifically discriminated against people living with HIV or AIDS.” Successful treatment rates “were lowest in blacks and women,” according to CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.