Office of National AIDS Policy Blog

  • How Far We've Come: Brad Kiley on AIDS

    This week, the 2012 International AIDS Conference is being held in Washington, D.C.  The Conference provides an opportunity for Administration officials to reflect on the effect that HIV/AIDS has had in their own lives, and how far we’ve come in the fight against the terrible disease. In the below video, Brad Kiley, Director of the Office of Management and Administration, shares how HIV/AIDS has personally impacted his life.

  • AIDS Memorial Quilt in the White House

    The return of the International  AIDS conference to the U.S. marks a moment to celebrate the American leadership and efforts that have transformed the response to the epidemic, to remember the lives lost to this disease, and to recommit to the vision of an AIDS-free generation.
     
    One enduring symbol of the lives that have been lost is the AIDS Memorial Quilt. First started in 1987, the quilt now contains the names of more than 94,000 of individuals who have died of AIDS on more than 47,000 panels.  The quilt was first displayed on the National mall in 1987. During the conference, panels of the quilt will be shown on the mall and in over 50 locations throughout the District of Columbia metropolitan area, including the White House.  
     
    Earlier this week a section of the Quilt was put on display in the East Wing, so that the hundreds of visitors that go through the halls of the building each day can stop and remember the human toll that this disease has taken, and how far we’ve come as a country in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  While much work remains to be done, we all look forward to the day when there are no more panels to add to the quilt. Thanks to our collective efforts, that day is closer than ever.
     
    As President Obama said on World AIDS Day, together we can and we will win this fight.
     
    Grant Colfax is the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy

      

    President Obama Views AIDS Quilt in East Wing of the White House July 18, 2012

    President Barack Obama views a section of the AIDS quilt on display in the Booksellers area of the White House, July 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

     

  • Turning The Tide Together

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from Work in Progress.

    Next week, thousands of scientists, researchers, government leaders, public health officials and advocates from around the world will convene in Washington for the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012). It is the first time the United States will host this important conclave in 20 years.

    Much has changed in that time: new scientific discoveries, more effective treatments, and better and more effective ways to approach education and prevention of HIV/AIDS. People are living longer, healthier lives, and managing the disease. 

    HIV/AIDS education, prevention and medicines are working. But for me, the big question is: are people living with HIV/AIDS successfully working? And are we effectively addressing workplace issues so that they can bring their very best to the workplace? 

    I have always believed that work is more than a source of income. It’s a source of dignity. That’s why, as part of the week’s events, my department is co-hosting with the National Working Positive Coalition an Institute on HIV/AIDS and Employment on Saturday, July 28. We are gathering local, national and international HIV and disability stakeholders for a critical conversation about research and best practices that impact people living (and working) with HIV/AIDS.       

  • Trade and Access to Medicines: Working to Make the Two Go Hand in Hand

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from ustr.gov.

    As the nineteenth International AIDS Conference kicks off in Washington, DC, experts and activists from around the world are bringing together their best ideas to fight this disease. As part of this conversation, some are taking a careful look at trade policy issues and so is the Obama Administration.

    Stakeholders on all sides of this issue recognize the need to balance trade’s long-standing role in the promotion of pharmaceutical innovation through intellectual property rights with the imperative to ensure access to life-saving medicines for people around the world.

    The Obama Administration is committed to developing policies that do both. We believe that we can increase access to medicines and support innovation for the development of new and improved drugs for HIV/AIDS and other diseases. And with input from the public, global health and development experts, innovative and generic drug companies, and Federal agencies that serve these sectors, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is working in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a major Asia-Pacific trade agreement now under negotiation – to get this balance right.

    We all know that innovation is essential to create new tools in the fight for global health, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, FDA, NIH and U.S. generic and innovator companies with voluntary licensing programs are demonstrating that innovation and access can thrive together with the right policies.

  • Toward AIDS 2012: Fighting Discrimination Against People with HIV/AIDS

    The Department of Justice is proud to play a lead role in eradicating discrimination against those living with HIV or AIDS. The Civil Rights Division has significant enforcement authority over the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973—Federal laws that protect individuals with HIV/AIDS from discrimination in employment, state and local government services, places of public accommodation, and housing.

    Since President Obama announced the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in July 2010, the Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, has taken unprecedented steps to enforce civil rights laws that protect the rights of persons living with HIV or AIDS and to educate the public on these issues:

    • In furtherance of its leadership role, the Division is working with community-based groups in order to educate individuals with HIV/AIDS about their rights under the law. In addition to speaking at numerous conferences and outreach events, we have met with AIDS Service Organizations in 20 cities throughout the country to educate direct service providers on the rights of their clients and to build important ground-level relationships. 
    • To increase our educational efforts and to make our work as transparent and as accessible as possible, last year we launched a website dedicated to our work fighting discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS:  ada.gov/AIDS. In addition, last month we posted a comprehensive Questions and Answerspublication explaining the rights that persons with HIV/AIDS have under the ADA, as well as the obligations that the ADA imposes on employers, businesses and non-profit agencies that serve the public, and State and local governments. 

  • AIDS 2012: Listening, Learning and Working Together to Help Turn the Tide

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from blog.aids.gov.

    This week, many in the HIV community are finalizing plans for participation in AIDS 2012 – be it in person, via webcast, or via social media.

    I feel honored to join my federal colleagues to prepare for the U.S. government’s presence at this historic meeting. The current wave of activities reminds me of the preparation for, and participation in, my first International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2010, held in Vienna, Austria. That summer of 2010 was a time of great significance in our efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, both in the U.S. and around the world. President Obama had just released the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy that outlined a bold new vision for our response to the epidemic.

    I vividly recall several important scientific findings announced at AIDS 2010. The CAPRISA 004 study showed the antiretroviral-based vaginal microbicides to be safe and effective in reducing risks of new HIV infections among women by nearly 40 percent.  In addition, NIH announced the results of the iPrEx study, showing that a daily dose of HIV drugs reduced the risk of HIV infection among HIV-negative men who have sex with men by 44%, supporting the concept of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in a targeted population.

    During the conference, I was privileged to participate in an opening day session entitled, “Discussion on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy” and hear from many other leaders in the HIV community. A few of these conversations were recorded in these podcasts: a conversation with Dr. Jack Stein on Drug Control Policy and a conversation with PACHA members Helene Gayle and Phill Wilson.  I also recorded a podcast on HIV travel restrictions.