Office of National AIDS Policy Blog

  • Seattle Meeting Focuses on Ideas to Strengthen the HIV Workforce

    On October 4, 2011, the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) hosted the second in a series of five Implementation Dialogues in Seattle Washington at Swedish Medical Center. The theme for this meeting was “Building Capacity Within the HIV Workforce so that it Delivers What We Need Today and Tomorrow”. The meeting was an opportunity to focus attention on the multi-faceted challenges we face with the HIV workforce, spark conversations around this issue, and encourage action and collaboration at the State and local levels. The meeting began with a Federal update, followed by a presentation on HIV workforce issues, a panel discussion, and a discussion between the panel and the audience, which included policy makers, academic experts, clinicians, providers, community advocates, patients, and other health professionals.

    ONAP Director Jeffrey S. Crowley opened the meeting with remarks about the challenges we face with the HIV workforce and opportunities made available in the Affordable Care Act to bolster the workforce of clinicians and other health care providers. Dr. Todd Strumwasser, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Swedish Medical Center, provided opening remarks and emphasized that this meeting was a way to reaffirm our collective commitment to focus more attention on the domestic epidemic in our communities and around the country.  Dr. David Spach, the Principal Investigator for the Northwest AIDS Education and Training Center at the University of Washington, gave an informative presentation on the key factors contributing to HIV workforce shortages in the nation. Dr. Spach focused on several key issues regarding the workforce supply, including the lack of exposure to an HIV curriculum during a medical student’s academic or residency training; the complexity of providing HIV care; the financial disincentives faced by medical students and medical residents; the competition between global HIV health work and domestic HIV health work; and the reluctance of some individuals to work with people living with HIV.  Dr. Spach’s provided several recommendations that could be adopted to expand the HIV workforce, including the importance of active recruiting during a clinician’s medical school training or during their residency; increasing the amount of pilot programs for recruitment; supporting mentorships and building relationships between current HIV clinicians and future clinicians; providing innovative financial incentives for clinicians; and developing more programs that increase provider diversity.

  • Birmingham Kicks Off First of Five Fall Implementation Dialogues on the NHAS

    The first of a series of five Implementation Dialogues was held on September 27 in Birmingham, Alabama, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Robinson Stephens Preforming Arts Center.  The meeting focused on “Incorporating Prevention and Care Research Into HIV Programs” brought together speakers and panelists from across federal, state and local government, as well as experts from the HIV/AIDS community and research areas.   Jeffrey S. Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) welcomed the more than 150 guests, and thanked them for their work in support of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  UAB President Carol Garrison, and Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also spoke.  Dr. Koh encouraged participants to make the National HIV/AIDS Strategy real in the southeast and around the country.  He recalled the early days of the AIDS epidemic thirty years ago, and the extreme fear and stigma surrounding the treatment of the first patients, and the challenge of providing care with no plan or coordinated approach in place.  He noted that while there is still a great deal of stigma and health disparities around HIV/AIDS, there is now a plan of action in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which he said has, “catalyzed the country”.

  • Mobilizing Public and Private Sector Investments to Support Critical HIV Services

    The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and the Office of National AIDS Policy held a joint meeting on Friday, September 9th on “Mobilizing Public and Private Sector Investments to Support the Goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” in which 25 members from the private sector and philanthropic community gathered to discuss ways to enhance existing support and investments targeted at HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, as well as to strategize on ways to bring new people to the table to foster new investments and commitments.

    Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) Director, Jeffrey Crowley welcomed guests and reiterated the President’s message that the Federal government cannot do this essential work alone.  At this “all-hands-on-deck” moment, we must work together in new ways to make lasting progress on persistent social problems.  Marta Urquilla, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, explained how the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), which invested in AIDS United as part of its inaugural portfolio in 2010, reflects a new way of doing business for the federal government.  The SIF invests in intermediaries to identify promising community solutions that are achieving results and support the growth, validation and scale of those innovations. A vehicle for public-private investment, the SIF leverages 3 private dollars for every 1 Federal dollar, and drives capital to communities in need, including those that are historically under-resourced.

  • Addressing the HIV Epidemic among Gay and Bisexual Men

    In 1981, our nation and its public health system were grappling with a new disease that was taking the lives of gay men across the United States. Thirty years later, HIV/AIDS continues to be a crisis among gay and bisexual men. The latest data show men who have sex with men (MSM) remain most affected in this country. Although MSM represent 2% of the population, they account for 64% of all new infections (including 3% among MSM who are injection drug users [IDUs]). CDC estimates that there were more than 30,000 new HIV infections in 2009 among MSM, including MSM-IDU. Though the numbers have gone down dramatically, approximately 7,000 MSM with an AIDS diagnoses still die each year and nearly 300,000 MSM with AIDS have died since the beginning of the epidemic.

    Today, we commemorate the fourth annual National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an observance founded by the National Association of People with AIDS to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among gay and bisexual men. This annual observance is one way we are focusing attention and resources on those populations at highest risk for HIV infection, including gay and bisexual men. This focus is a top priority outlined in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS).

  • National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day: A Perspective from the National Institutes of Health

    On September 18, 2011, we mark the fourth observance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day.  The remarkable success of antiretroviral therapies in prolonging the lives of HIV-infected individuals who have access to and can tolerate these drugs has led to many more HIV-infected people living into middle and old age.  In 2008, an estimated 29 percent of HIV-infected adults in the U.S. were at least 50 years of age, and in 2009, individuals in that age group accounted for 17% of all new HIV diagnoses.  Both of these percentages have been increasing in recent years.  As the benefits of improved therapies for HIV continue to accrue, research into the complex relationship between aging and HIV becomes increasingly critical.

    A major goal of HIV and aging research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is to achieve greater understanding of how premature aging of the immune system may be occurring in people living with HIV, and clarifying the fundamental mechanisms of inflammation.  Understanding the complex interaction between HIV and aging will require considerable effort on multiple fronts. The NIH Institutes and Centers support a broad range of research on HIV and aging.  For example, this past April, three NIH Institutes (National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) announced that they will fund research into the effects of HIV on the brain in aging populations taking antiretroviral therapy.  Within the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) programs, research on HIV and aging is ongoing in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS). These long term follow-up studies of HIV infected women (WIHS) and men (MACS) have defined some of the important differences in HIV risk, pathogenesis and treatment response between the sexes. The International Epidemiologic Database to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) provides domestic and international information about the epidemic including pathogenesis differences between HIV infected adults who are growing older and newly infected older individuals. In addition, studies conducted by the Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR), AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), and the International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials (INSIGHT) are pursuing HIV and aging-related scientific questions.

  • Latest Update: Registering for the NHAS Implementation Dialogues

    NHAS Implementation Dialogues

    In two earlier blog posts we outlined the topic and format for a series of regional dialogues that the White House Office of National AIDS Policy will convene to focus attention on issues related to implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  These events will be a forum for Federal, state and local agency representatives, researchers, clinicians, the HIV community, and leaders from the business, foundation, faith and media sectors to share their diverse expertise, and collaborative experience. 

    Registering for the Events

    The events are free, open to the public, anyone can attend.  To help us better plan each event we ask  that you  register in advance for each of the events that you are interested in attending.  You may register for as many events as you wish to attend.

    Register now.

    Upon submitting your registration, you will receive a detailed confirmation letter via email.

    Dialogue Topics and Locations:  Updated September 12, 2011

    We are planning five dialogues on distinct topics related to implementing the Strategy.

    Incorporating Prevention and Care Research Into HIV Programs

    Date:          Tuesday, September 27, 2011
    Time:          2:00 – 4:30 pm
    Location:      Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center, University of Alabama, B 1200 10th Ave. S. Birmingham, AL

    Building Capacity within the HIV Workforce so that it Delivers What We Need Today and Tomorrow

    Date:          Tuesday, October 4, 2011
    Time:          5:30 – 8:00 pm
    Location:     Swedish Medical Center, Glaser Auditorium, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA

    Sustaining the Community-Based Response to HIV

    Date:        Thursday, October 20, 2011
    Time:        3:00 – 5:30 pm (new time)
    Location:   University of Pennsylvania, Jon M. Huntsman Hall, Dhirubhai Ambani Auditorium, 3730 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

    Fostering Collaboration Between all Public and Private Stakeholders at the State and Local Level

    Date:          Tuesday, October 25, 2011
    Time:         6:00pm-8:30pm
    Location:   Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70801

    Maximizing Impact in Low-Prevalence Jurisdictions

    Des Moines, Iowa (Early November 2011)

    Additional dates, times, locations will be announced soon.  Please continue to check the ONAP and AIDS.gov websites for more information.

    James Albino is Senior Program Manager at the Office of National AIDS Policy