Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. The release of the strategy reaffirms President Obama’s commitment to fighting this domestic epidemic.
From the time that we first heard about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) thirty years ago through today, HIV has become a global pandemic with more than 33 million people living with HIV around the world. In the United States, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and nearly 600,000 Americans have been lost to this disease. Unless we take bold actions, we anticipate a new era of rising infection rates and even greater challenges in serving people with HIV.
President Obama believes that we must re-focus public attention on ending the domestic HIV epidemic. The vision for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is simple:
The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance will have unfettered access to high-quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.
To make this a reality, the Obama Administration is launching a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV in our country. The strategy has three primary goals:
Today, Secretary Sebelius also announced that $30 million of the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention Fund will be dedicated to the implementation of the NHAS. This funding will support the development of combination prevention interventions. It will also support improved surveillance, expanded and targeted testing, and other activities.
Since taking office, the Obama Administration has taken extraordinary steps to engage the public to evaluate what we are doing right and identify new approaches that will strengthen our response to the domestic epidemic. The Office of National AIDS Policy hosted 14 HIV/AIDS Community Discussions with thousands of Americans across the U.S., we reviewed suggestions from the public via the White House website, we organized a series of expert meetings on several HIV-specific topics, and we worked with Federal and community partners who organized their own meetings to support the development of a national strategy.
To develop the Strategy, we convened a panel of Federal officials from across government to assist in reviewing the public recommendations, assessing the scientific evidence for or against various recommendations, and making their own recommendations for the Strategy.
The Strategy provides a roadmap for moving the Nation forward in addressing the domestic HIV epidemic. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all activities to address HIV/AIDS in the United States, but is intended to be a concise plan that will identify a set of priorities and strategic action steps tied to measurable outcomes.
The release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is just beginning. The job of implementing this strategy does not fall to the Federal government alone. Success will require the commitment of all parts of society, including State and local governments, businesses, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others. We are appreciative of the high level of engagement we have received from so many stakeholders to date.
Jeffrey Crowley is the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy