Office of National AIDS Policy Blog

  • Continuing Our Commitment to Prioritizing HIV/AIDS

    Today, the Obama Administration is taking new action to prioritize support for Federal HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs.  We are sending to the Congress an amendment to the President’s FY 2011 budget request to increase HIV/AIDS funding by $65 million.  This is comprised of a requested $35 million increase for HIV prevention in order to continue exciting new HIV prevention activities described below to support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and a $30 million increase for State AIDS drug assistance programs to respond to the ongoing crisis States are facing in operating these essential programs.  These resources come on top of proposed increases for HIV prevention and care at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that were included in the original budget submission.  Ultimately, the Congress will enact a budget that will establish Federal funding levels for the fiscal year that begins on October 1st.

    Last month, the Obama Administration released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  This was the product of a robust dialogue with the HIV community and other members of the public and identifies a small set of priority action steps for moving the Nation forward in responding to the domestic HIV epidemic.  On the evening of July 13th, the President hosted a reception for the HIV community at the White House where he spoke about the Strategy and his commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS.  He said the following,

    Now, I know that this strategy comes at a difficult time for Americans living with HIV/AIDS, because we’ve got cash-strapped States who are being forced to cut back on essentials, including assistance for AIDS drugs.  I know the need is great.  And that’s why we’ve increased Federal assistance each year that I’ve been in office, providing an emergency supplement this year to help people get the drugs they need, even as we pursue a national strategy that focuses on three central goals.

    We recognize that times are tough and there are significant challenges faced by people living with HIV/AIDS and other Americans that must be addressed.  The Federal government cannot tackle these problems alone, but we can do our part. 

    In the current fiscal year, FY2010, Congress appropriated funding of $835 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).  In July, due to the serious shortfalls in State ADAPs resulting largely from State cutbacks, HHS Secretary Sebelius took an emergency step by re-allocating $25 million for ADAPs for a total of $860 million.  Our FY 2011 budget request had included increased ADAP funding, but today’s proposed $30 million increase would continue funding in FY 2011 for the emergency supplemental funds announced last month.  If the Congress follows our recommendation, Federal funding for ADAPs would rise to $885 million next year—a $50 million increase from the level appropriated by Congress for this year.  This action, alone, will not resolve the challenges faced by ADAPs.  We need States to continue to prioritize their funding for ADAPs even in these difficult times, and we need our pharmaceutical company partners, businesses, foundations, and community-based organizations to do their part as well.

    On the issue of HIV prevention, Secretary Sebelius announced new investments in HIV prevention when we released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  To ensure that these initiatives continue, we are requesting $35 million in additional funds for next year.  In FY 2010, these resources are supporting:

    • Comprehensive HIV prevention ($11.6 million):  This will fund the implementation and evaluation of effective combinations of behavioral and biomedical prevention interventions in the highest prevalence jurisdictions.  These jurisdictions will compete to scale-up effective comprehensive approaches in subsequent years. The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for this initiative is available on Grants.gov. Be sure to type “CDC-RFA-PS10-10181” as the Funding Opportunity Number to download the FOA.
    • Increased testing and linkage to care ($4.4 million):  Building on CDC’s new Expanded Testing Initiative, these funds will ensure that resources are provided to support targeted testing and linkage services for high prevalence communities, including Black, Latino, injection drug using (IDU), and gay male communities. 
    • Expanded HIV surveillance ($5.5 million):  This will support work with jurisdictions to ensure that all jurisdictions report CD4 cell counts and viral loads to the public health surveillance system, enable jurisdictions to estimate community viral load, and take other steps to improve the surveillance system.
    • Consultation, evaluation, technical support and annual MSM survey ($6.5 million):  These resources will support evaluation and monitoring, assisting with developing and implementing new activities and conducting an annual internet survey for men who have sex with men (MSM) to collect behavioral, HIV testing, and other information.
    • HIV, viral hepatitis, STD prevention and sexual health promotion with Tribal Communities ($1 million):  CDC will partner with the Indian Health Service (IHS) to work with Tribal communities on prevention and health promotion.

    These activities reflect a new direction that we believe will have a greater impact at lowering the number of new HIV infections in the United States. 

    Today’s announcement demonstrates that we are committed to implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and ensuring that necessary investments in prevention and care services for people living with HIV continue.

    Jeffrey S. Crowley is the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy

  • Bringing the International AIDS Conference to DC in 2012

    I have had the pleasure of participating in the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna this past week.  As you may know, last week, President Obama held a reception at the White House to celebrate the work of the HIV/AIDS community as his Administration launched the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  The positive reaction to the Strategy and the energy of so many advocates, providers, and Federal officials to take the next step to implement the Strategy has been evident throughout the Vienna meeting.  This has been just one part of what has made this conference so exciting and full of hope for me.  In addition to many great oral sessions and poster sessions, the conference has been electrified by several major research breakthroughs with implications for vaccines to prevent HIV as well as microbicides to protect women from becoming infected by their male partners.

    Today also marks the beginning of our collective work to maintain the momentum coming out of Vienna to ensure that at the next conference, in Washington, DC, we all have a solid record of new accomplishments.  From the perspective of the United States government, the DC conference will be an important opportunity to showcase American leadership in working to end AIDS at home and around the world.  I thought you would like to see the message from President Obama welcoming delegates to the Vienna conference to Washington, DC in July 2012.

    Download Video: mp4 (63MB) | mp3 (2MB)

     

    Ending the HIV pandemic is an important challenge of our time and, for the first time in a long time, it feels like something that is within reach.  I hope that we take another step towards this goal in DC two years from now.

    Gregorio Millett is the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of National AIDS Policy and he is representing the United States on the Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC) for the AIDS 2012 Conference.
     

  • Taking the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to Vienna

    Last week, we released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy - a comprehensive plan to fight HIV in the United States. On Sunday, June 18, 2010, The Office of National AIDS Policy in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services sponsored a session at the International AIDS Conference entitled “A Discussion on the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy”. The purpose of the session was to describe the development of the recently released National HIV/AIDS Strategy to an international audience, as well as to introduce the audience to a few of the individuals responsible for the development and the implementation of the Strategy.

    The session began with remarks by Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) and Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Mr. Crowley addressed ONAP’s year-long effort of community engagement and outreach to Federal agencies to solicit recommendations for the Strategy.  Dr. Koh discussed the interagency process in developing the Strategy and the duties of his office to oversee the Strategy’s implementation.

    This was followed by two panel discussions.  The first panel, chaired by Dr. Ronald Valdiserri of HHS, included a range of Federal officials who discussed the implications of the Strategy to their respective agencies and coordination of effort across the Federal level.  The second panel, chaired by Dr Helene Gayle of CARE USA, included community members who shared their perspectives in the development of the Strategy and the role of community-based organizations and advocates in its implementation.  Notably, the community panel included recently appointed members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, as well as members of the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy.  The Coalition, which began in 1997, coalesced around a single idea: that the United States should have a concise, outcomes-based plan of action to address the domestic HIV epidemic.  The main impetus for the Coalition was the publication of a  document by Christopher Collins in 2007 entitled “Improving Outcomes: Blueprint for a National AIDS Plan for the United States.”

    You can watch the full video below or skip to the sections you're most interested in.  

    Presentation: Developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States (00:00 - 11:32)
    Jeffrey Crowley, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy

    Presentation: Implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (11:32 - 26:06)
    Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services

    Panel Discussion: Federal agency involvement in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (27:45 - 1:05:55)

    Moderator: Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, Assistant Secretary for Health and Infectious Diseases, Department of Health and Human Services

    Panelists:

    • Dr. Deborah Parham-Hopson, Associate Administrator for HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
    • Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, Director of the Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    • Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    Panel Discussion: Community involvement in the development and implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (1:07:15 - 1:58:26)

    Moderator:  Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE USA

    Panelists:

    • Chris Collins, Vice President and Director of Public Policy at the Foundation for AIDS Research
    • David Munar, Vice President of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago
    • Naina Khanna, Director of Policy & Community Organizing, Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease (WORLD), and Coordinator of the U.S. Positive Women's Network (PWN)
    • Dawn Averitt-Bridge, Founder and Chair of The Well Project
    • A. Cornelius Baker, National Policy Advisor for the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition; Project Director for the NIH/NIAID National HIV Vaccine Research Education Initiative for the Academy for Educational Development (AED) Center on AIDS & Community Health
    • Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute

    Gregorio Millett is a Senior Policy Advisor, Office of National AIDS Policy

  • Expanding Access to Evidence-Based Services for Injection Drug Users

    Cross posted from the ONDCP blog Of Substance.

    We have known from the very beginning of the HIV epidemic that sharing needles and other drug-related paraphernalia is associated with transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases including hepatitis B and C.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that injection drug use accounts for 12% of new HIV infections each year in the United States. Globally, it is estimated that 5-10% of new infections result from injection drug use.
     
    On December 16, 2009, President Obama signed into law an end to the longstanding ban on most Federal funding for needle exchange programs.  The  removal of this ban will aid local communities in their efforts to fund needle exchange programs. As a result, the Departments of State and Health and Human Services (HHS) have recently issued policy guidance for U.S.  programs and global partners in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program interested in implementing syringe services programs (SSPs).
     
    The Office of National Drug Control Policy has recently released its National Drug Control Strategy and the Office of National AIDS Policy released  its National HIV/AIDS Strategy this past Tuesday. Both strategies are aligned on the important role of syringe services programs (SSPs)  as part of more comprehensive approaches to preventing transmission of infectious disease and linking people to needed services.  The policy guidance issued by HHS and State requires that SSPs be implemented as part of a comprehensive program for injection drug users that includes linkage and referral to substance abuse prevention and treatment services, mental health services, and other support services.  HHS Guidelines stipulate that programs must comply with local laws and regulations and cannot operate in locations where the programs are opposed by public health and law enforcement officials.
     
    Over the years, many trusted experts and scientific institutions have endorsed the effectiveness of SSPs  in contributing to the reduction of  HIV transmission, including the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Medical Association.  SSPs are also cost-effective:  It is estimated that lifetime costs for treating HIV infection is in excess of $350,000 compared to less than $2 cost of providing a sterile needle.
     
    Despite their success, only about 7% of injection drug users in the U.S. have access to SSPs and HIV epidemics in some PEPFAR partner countries are largely driven by injection drug use.  These guidelines are an important step forward in preventing HIV infection and expanding access to needed HIV services for injection drug users.  ONDCP and ONAP look forward to continuing to collaborate on ensuring the widespread dissemination and application of these guidelines and to improving public health.
     
    R. Gil Kerlikowske is the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Jeffrey S. Crowley is the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP).

  • National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Reducing New Infections, Improving Care, Ending Health Disparities

    Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (124MB) | mp3 (12MB)

    Yesterday, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV in our country.

    In his remarks at a reception with HIV/AIDS policy experts and activists, the President acknowledged that as a Nation, we have come a long way in the battle against the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, but that we still have much work left to do: 

  • Announcing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

    Download Video: mp4 (463MB) | mp3 (45MB)

    Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States.  The release of the strategy reaffirms President Obama’s commitment to fighting this domestic epidemic.

    From the time that we first heard about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) thirty years ago through today, HIV has become a global pandemic with more than 33 million people living with HIV around the world.  In the United States, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and nearly 600,000 Americans have been lost to this disease.  Unless we take bold actions, we anticipate a new era of rising infection rates and even greater challenges in serving people with HIV.