Office of National AIDS Policy Blog
- Posted byon April 18, 2013 at 8:57 AM EST
On Monday, I attended the launch of EMPOWERED, Alicia Keys’ new campaign with Greater than AIDS to reach and inform women about HIV/AIDS, at an event hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. This is the second event that Alicia Keys and I have attended at Kaiser within the last year, both focused on ending AIDS.
The women were thrilled to meet Alicia Keys, and Alicia, who was deeply moved by their stories, committed to add her powerful international voice to helping to end the epidemic here in the U.S. Alicia and I intended to lift up the women. But really, it was their strength, courage, resilience, good spirit, and humor that lifted us up.
The HIV crisis touches every corner of the globe. And it’s personally touched so many of us, including here at home. We all have tragic stories about how HIV/AIDS has affected our family and friends, and these stories propel us all to continue to fight to end this disease.
Monday's event addressed one of the tragic realities of HIV in our country. The HIV epidemic continues in the United States, with about 50,000 new HIV infections each year. And while about one-quarter of new HIV infections are among women, three-quarters of new infections among women occur among black and Latina women.
FY 2014 Budget reflects the Administration’s Commitment to Implementing the National HIV/AIDS StrategyPosted byon April 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM EST
Last week, the President sent Congress his budget for fiscal year 2014. The 2014 Budget highlights this Administration’s ongoing commitment to implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The Budget also aligns with the President’s commitment to achieving the goals of the Strategy by investing in evidence-based interventions, focusing efforts in populations most affected by HIV, and supporting vital research. The Budget is a comprehensive plan that reduces the deficit and puts the Nation on a sound fiscal course. By making strategic and science-based investments in Federal efforts to address the HIV epidemic, it will help the Nation meet the goals of the Strategy.
For details on the President’s budget and HIV/AIDS, please visit the Office of Management and Budget's website.
Grant Colfax, MD is the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.
- Posted byon April 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM EST
At AIDS 2012, the international AIDS conference, youth advocates announced the inauguration of National Youth HIV + AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) to be marked on April 10, 2013.
In establishing this observance, Advocates for Youth and the eleven other founding partners are recognizing the key role of youth in our collective response to HIV. The organizers note that “the creation of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is a step toward addressing the needs of young people in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”
- Posted byon March 29, 2013 at 11:23 AM EST
Successful implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (the Strategy) requires ongoing collaboration among Federal, state, and local governments and key non-governmental stakeholders. As part of our ongoing efforts to support Strategy implementation, ONAP is convening community discussions across the United States. Discussions are focusing on the following key areas:
- State and local efforts to concentrate resources in communities where HIV is most common and to scale-up evidence-based interventions
- Interventions to improve outcomes along the “care cascade” (i.e. moving people from an HIV diagnosis to care, treatment, and viral suppression)
- The importance of the Affordable Care Act implementation for HIV care and prevention
To date we have visited three cities: Miami, Florida (December 18, 2012); Los Angeles, California (February 14, 2013); and Chapel Hill, North Carolina (February 21, 2013). At each meeting, state and local public health officials, representatives from community-based organizations, advocates, and other key stakeholders convene. ONAP and other Federal partners provide information about the current state of the epidemic nationally and ongoing Federal efforts to implement the Strategy. Key stakeholders provide their perspectives on implementation efforts at the State, local, and community levels. ONAP staff also visit local clinics, community-based organizations, and academic centers to hear what these organizations are doing prevent and treat HIV. The goal is to share information, identify strategic priorities, and determine next steps for moving forward.
Progress to Date: President’s Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health DisparitiesPosted byon March 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST
Violence is common in the lives of women and girls living with, and at risk for, HIV/AIDS, and the Obama Administration is working to address these intersecting issues. In March 2012, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum creating the “Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities Working Group”.
Sunday marks Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and we are providing an update on the Working Group’s progress. As co-chairs, we are personally committed to this work, having first-hand community and clinical experience in seeing and treating the devastating effects violence has on the lives of women and their families.
The Presidential Memorandum directed select Federal agencies to improve data collection, research, and intervention strategies related to the intersection of these issues and to improve cooperation between agencies and with external partners.
During the past year, the Working Group looked at interagency coordination and the development of actionable, evidence-based recommendations. To assess current Federal efforts, members developed an inventory of programs for each agency that works in the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and health disparities.
Identifying and analyzing research was also a priority and led to two research review sessions with members of the Working Group, academic and public health experts, and other key stakeholders. In addition, the Working Group hosted two community webinars and had an online submission process to obtain individual stories, experiences, and public comments.
Prevention and Treatment of HIV Infection in Infants Born to Infected Mothers: Need for a Fresh LookPosted byon March 8, 2013 at 2:43 PM EST
On Monday, March 4, 2013, at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta, Dr. Deborah Persaud of the Johns Hopkins University presented an intriguing case study of a child who by all measures seems to be cured of HIV infection. This single case has sparked significant conversation, debate, and optimism. There are important questions that have naturally arisen from this case and we hope to examine some of the aspects of the research agenda that now need to be pursued. While this is an exciting case, we want to stress that it remains very important for people living with HIV/AIDS to continue their medications and to see their healthcare providers on a regular basis.
Certain of the facts are clear. An infant was born at a hospital in Mississippi to a woman unaware she was infected with HIV until she was already in labor. Having been born somewhat prematurely, the child was transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where the baby came under the experienced and skilled care of pediatrician Dr. Hannah Gay. Knowing that the mother was not previously treated for HIV infection (which put the infant at a high risk of becoming infected), Dr. Gay proceeded under the assumption that the infant had become infected. She started the infant on a three-drug cocktail of antiretroviral medications for HIV treatment, as opposed to the standard two-drug regimen for prophylaxis (prevention) of infection. Blood samples from the infant were repeatedly drawn, and lab results confirmed that the baby indeed had a detectable level of virus. Over the course of several weeks of treatment with antiretroviral drugs, the amount of virus in the child’s blood declined to undetectable levels. The child was discharged from the hospital on antiretroviral therapy that continued for up to 18 months, at which point the mother and child interrupted their medical care. Fast forward several months: the child reappeared in care after a significant lapse in antiretroviral therapy. Surprisingly, the child had no detectable circulating virus, no detectable anti-HIV antibodies, and was clinically healthy. Dr. Gay then reached out to Dr. Persaud and Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga of the University of Massachusetts to perform laboratory studies to help understand what had happened with this toddler.
Several aspects of how this case was dealt with stand out. First, the potential importance of this case was recognized immediately and some of the best laboratories in the world were brought in to help validate the laboratory data. Investigators with long-standing working relationships, some established a decade or more ago, collaborated on state-of-the-art analyses of specimens. The results from all the laboratory studies confirmed that there was no ongoing HIV replication in this child; all that apparently remained was miniscule snippets of viral material.
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