Office of National AIDS Policy Blog

  • ONAP Concludes Series of Community Forums on Updating National HIV/AIDS Strategy

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the AIDS.gov blog. See the original post here.

    Over the past month, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) hosted a series of listening sessions in four cities across the country—Los Angeles, Nashville, Detroit, and Boston—to gather community perspectives that will inform its update of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). At each session, Mr. Douglas M. Brooks, MSW, Director of ONAP, discussed the process underway to review and update the NHAS, which will continue to guide the U.S. government and partners’ response to HIV/AIDS domestically for the next 5 years. He then listened to community input, beginning with ideas shared by a panel of local HIV community leaders assembled for each session. This post shares highlights from each of those sessions.

  • Office of National AIDS Policy to Host National HIV/AIDS Strategy Regional Forums

    Over the next two months, the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) will host four regional forums across the country that will inform the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy for 2016-2020. Central to achieving the Strategy’s goals is sustained and ongoing dialogue with communities around the country, including state and local health officials, community based organizations, medical and social service providers, and people living with HIV. This year, we will renew our commitment to the Strategy’s vision by updating the data, the science, and the policies needed to move forward by improving our national approach to HIV prevention, treatment, and care.

    Released in July 2010, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is our nation’s first comprehensive plan to reduce new HIV infections, improve health outcomes, reduce HIV-related disparities, and achieve a more coordinated national response. Since 2010, major scientific and policy advances have informed our approach to addressing HIV in the United States. To guide our Strategy for the next five years, we want and need to hear from you: those on the ground, providing and receiving life-enhancing services every day, in response to the Strategy’s vision and goals.

  • Stepping out of the Shadows, Together for Women and Girls

    Today, the Office of National AIDS Policy, Office of the Vice President, and the White House Council on Women and Girls commemorate the 10th observance of National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Along with other Federal, national and community organizations and advocates, today we celebrate our accomplishments to date in improving the lives of women and girls affected by HIV, and recognize the work still ahead.

    Our observance highlights the strides we have made in HIV prevention and care for women and girls across the United States. The introduction of antiretroviral drugs means that fewer women die from AIDS and pregnant women have reliable means by which to protect their babies from the virus. In fact, rates of mother-to-child transmission continue to fall, despite more women with HIV giving birth. Under the Affordable Care Act, new health plans are now required to cover HIV screening without cost sharing, for everyone aged 15 to 65, pregnant women, and others who may be at increased risk.

  • The HIV Test at 30: More Essential than Ever

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the AIDS.gov blog. See the original post here.

    Early in the AIDS epidemic, there was so much we didn’t know — what caused the disease, how it was spread or how to treat it. But, once scientists were able to isolate and establish a virus — HIV — as the cause of AIDS, that all began to change.

    For one thing, knowing what to look for allowed scientists to begin developing a test to detect HIV. Thirty years ago today — on March 2, 1985 — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first commercial HIV blood test. This was a major breakthrough. Testing meant that the blood supply could be essentially freed of HIV, and helped scientists and public health officials determine the extent of the epidemic. Testing also gave individuals the power of knowing their status, and enabled them to protect their partners, if infected.

  • Honoring Our Past and Future

    As we commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7, and honor National Black History Month, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the impact of HIV in the African American community.

    Through our professional and personal lenses, we have witnessed the horror of illness, the pain of loss, and the devastating effect that stigma has brought upon too many of our black sisters and brothers as a result of HIV/AIDS. We are aware of the HIV-related disparities that exist for black Americans and the well-documented linkage of those disparities to social determinants of health. An untenable number of our people are tested for HIV too late, learn of their positive HIV status too late, and are linked to care and treatment too late to realize the maximum benefit of the revolutionary, unprecedented progress in understanding how to prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV/AIDS. These truths are especially tragic when, through implementation of the first-ever comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration has directly addressed many of the barriers faced daily by countless people living with — and at risk for — HIV. 

  • National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Reducing HIV Among African American Communities

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' blog. See the original post here.

    Like so many Americans, I have seen the tragedy firsthand of friends lost to HIV/AIDS. I’ve also seen the hope of those living with HIV as we continue to work toward an AIDS-free generation.

    Each February 7, we mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). It’s an opportunity for all of us to honor the memory of those we’ve lost, and to call attention to the fact that HIV continues to disproportionately affect African American men, women, and youth.

    The numbers are startling: African Americans represent only 14 percent of the U.S. population, but account for almost half of all new HIV infections in the United States per year, as well as more than one-third of all people living with HIV in our nation.

    This year’s NBHAAD theme, “I Am My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS,” challenges all of us to work to eliminate these unacceptable health disparities by ramping up our HIV prevention efforts, encouraging individuals to get tested, and helping those who are living with HIV to access the life-saving medical treatment they need.