Office of National AIDS Policy Blog

  • White House Office Hours: Combatting the Spread of HIV/AIDS Among Women and Girls

    Note: This live session of Office Hours has concluded. View the full question and answer session below or at Storify.com

    There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, including more than 290,000 women.  Black and Hispanic  women account for nearly three-quarters of new HIV infections among women.  In July 2010, President Obama launched the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy to provide a coordinated national response to fight the epidemic.

    Last week, as part of these ongoing efforts, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum establishing an inter-agency working group on the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities.   

    On Wednesday, the co-chairs of the working group, Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women and Dr. Grant Colfax, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, will join us for a special session of office hours on Twitter to take your questions on the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women, and gender-related health disparities and the importance of supporting continued research, mobilizing both the public- and private-sector, and engaging families and communities.

    To learn more about the working group read the presidential memorandum and don’t forget to ask your questions during office hours on Wednesday. 

    Here are the details:

    • Join us for Office Hours on Twitter at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4th
    • Ask your question on Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat
    • Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women and Dr. Grant Colfax, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, will respond to your questions in real-time via Twitter from @WHLive
    • Follow the Q&A through the @WHLive Twitter account
    • If you miss the live event, the full session will be posted on WhiteHouse.gov and Storify.com/WhiteHouse

    We hope you can join us! Follow us on Twitter @WhiteHouseand @WHLive  for the latest updates and more chances to engage.

  • The Next Step in Combatting the Spread of HIV/AIDS Among Women and Girls

    As the Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, it is my honor to join Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy and Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, in announcing the next step in President Obama’s commitment to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst women and girls. Please read on for more details.

    There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, including more than 290,000 women.   Black and Hispanic  women account for nearly three-quarters of new HIV infections among women.  In July 2010, President Obama launched the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy to provide a coordinated national response to fight the epidemic, with the goals of reducing new infections, improving health outcomes, and decreasing HIV-related health disparities.  This past World AIDS Day, the President said that “When black women feel forgotten, even though they account for most of the new cases among women, then we’ve got to do more."  President Obama was joined by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a call to our partners—including government stakeholders at all levels, healthcare professionals, and HIV/AIDS service providers—to unite in an effort to usher in an “AIDS-free generation.” To reach this goal, it is clear we must address HIV among women, particularly among women of color.

    As directed in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Federal agencies are collaborating in new ways.  We are embracing scientific findings to implement evidenced-based prevention methods in order to be more effective at preventing new HIV infections, and we are exploring new approaches to integrate prevention and care. As part of this ongoing collaborative approach, President Obama has issued a presidential memorandum establishing an inter-agency working group on the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities. The President has asked Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Womenand Dr. Grant Colfax, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, to serve as co-chairs.

  • A Transformative Time for HIV Prevention and Care

    It’s a great honor to join an Administration that’s done so much to address the HIV epidemic. I especially want to acknowledge ONAP’s prior director, Jeff Crowley, for his stellar leadership over the past three years.

    This is a transformative time for HIV prevention and care: recent research breakthroughs in testing and treatment mean that a future AIDS-free generation is a real possibility. While there is much to be done, it is remarkable how far we’ve come.

    I’m especially grateful that my first day on the job included a White House commemoration of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This meeting of community members, researchers, and Federal representatives focused on the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women, and gender-related disparities. We reviewed data that show women account for nearly a quarter of new HIV cases in the United States, and that the majority of these cases are among women of color. Especially concerning is that HIV infection rates among black women are over fifteen times higher than in white women; rates among Hispanics/Latinas are five times higher.

    The meeting included the announcement of the formation of two important working groups to make recommendations for moving forward on this important issue. The inter-agency Federal working group will be co-chaired by me and Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, and will comprise of members of multiple Federal agencies to ensure an interdisciplinary and coordinated approach. A second group comprised of a diversity of members from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) will also meet soon. I’d like to thank personally the meeting’s organizers, speakers and participants for an inspirational event.

    The working groups’ recommendations will include informing the multiple current Federal efforts addressing the HIV care and treatment needs of women and girls. Some examples are the CDC’s “Take Charge. Take the Test” initiative to increase HIV testing among women; the NIH-supported WIHS study, the longest ongoing women’s cohort study ever in the United States; and the expansion of HIV testing and linkage to care efforts at Family Planning Clinics. Perhaps most exciting, in 2011 alone, the Affordable Care Act expanded coverage of preventive services to 54 million people, including more than 20 million women.

  • Commemorating National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

    On Wednesday, March 14th at 8:30a.m. EST, please join the White House as we commemorate National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  This multi-agency event will discuss the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women, and gender related health disparities. Speakers and panelists will examine the juncture of these three important issues that impact women’s lives both domestically and globally.

    You can watch the event live at:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/live.You can also join the conversation on Twitter by following @AIDSgov and @PEPFAR and by using #NWGHAAD.

    White House Meeting on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Gender Related Health Disparities

    • Welcome and Event Overview
    • Global Announcement
    • Framing the Data: A Presentation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Research Update: A Brief Update on Ongoing Research by the National Institutes of Health
    • Panel Discussion: Linkage between HIV/AIDS and violence against women; a discussion of these issues and gender related health disparities in the global/domestic context.
    • Domestic Announcement
    • Global and Domestic Synergy
    • Closing Remarks

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

  • Commemorating National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

    On this, the 12th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I remember my sister-in-law’s fight with the disease. Tragically, she did not win that fight – she left behind a devastated husband and five-year old daughter. But it is in her memory, and the memory of all the friends and loved ones we have lost, that we vow to keep working toward the day when HIV/AIDS is history.

    This past December, on World AIDS Day, President Obama spoke about the United States’ commitment to ending HIV/AIDS. In a speech at George Washington University, he told the audience, “Make no mistake, we are going to win this fight.  But the fight is not over … not by a long shot.” 

    Sadly, this is especially true in the African-American community. Black Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for 44 percent of new HIV infections. Among young black gay men alone, infections have increased by nearly 50 percent in just three years, and black women account for the largest share of HIV infections among women. We each must do our part by getting tested regularly, and by educating those in our community about what they can do to help end the epidemic.

    President Obama is committed to doing his part as well. In 2010, he released the nation’s first comprehensive HIV/AIDS plan. Together with Secretary Clinton, he has helped assemble a coalition of governments, healthcare professionals, and service providers. They have set a goal that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago: an AIDS-free generation, in which virtually all children are born HIV-free, and prevention tools help them stay HIV-free throughout their lives.

  • Conversations on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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

    February 7, 2012 marks the 12th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a national community mobilization initiative that focuses on promoting HIV education, testing, involvement, and treatment to African Americans, who are disproportionately at risk for HIV/AIDS. As part of the Federal observance of NBHAAD, I spoke with three people who are helping to lead the response to HIV/AIDS in the African American community. They included:

    Each of the interviewees had an opportunity to discuss how NBHAAD can make communities more effective in responding to HIV/AIDS.