The US Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) has set three primary goals for the US National HIV/AIDS Strategy 1) reduce HIV incidence 2) increase access to care and optimize health outcomes and 3) reduce HIV-related health disparities. To reach these goals, the Administration has sought input from a broad range of perspectives and stakeholders through the Presidential Advisory Council, national HIV/AIDS community discussions, and an online call to action for community input.
On October 2, 2009, one of the 14 national HIV/AIDS community discussions was hosted in Minneapolis at the Zurah Shrine Center. The event started with a brief introduction by Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy and Senior Advisor on Disability Policy at the White House followed by a statement from Senator Al Franken. The discussion was then turned over to community participants including local experts, advocates, care providers, and individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. Speakers affiliated with PHS included Hale Thompson, research assistant; Andrea Jenkins, AGHO Advisory Board member; Alex Iantaffi, postdoctoral fellow; Sharon Lund, former research assistant; and Fatima Jama, research partner. Many people spoke of the diverse needs regarding prevention and care throughout Minnesota and the nation.
There are three more community events scheduled this year including Ft. Lauderdale, FL on November 20; New York, NY on December 4; and Caguas, Puerto Rico on December 14. After that the ONAP will synthesize the input from community discussions, the online Call to Action, and expert meetings to create a more focused HIV/AIDS policy draft. There will again be an opportunity for community input once the draft is available.
Two related efforts by the White House include reauthorization of the Ryan White Act on October 30, 2009, and new guidelines were released for the global work of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, on September 14, 2009. These guidelines open the door to linking AIDS efforts to family planning.
View the video of the Minnesota community event and learn more about the work of the ONAP.
PHOTO: Alex Iantaffi
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