In July, the President released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, the most comprehensive effort to-date to set national priorities for responding to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic with quantitative metrics for measuring our progress. At that time, he also released a Federal Implementation Plan identifying specific action steps for 2010 and 2011 and a Presidential memorandum to ensure ongoing actions are taken to fully implement the Strategy. The Presidential memorandum gave lead agencies (The Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, along with the Social Security Administration) 150 days to deliver operational plans responsive to the implementation of the Strategy. Additionally, he tasked the Departments of Defense and State and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with developing reports providing recommendations and action steps to support implementation of the Strategy. This week is the deadline for agencies to submit their plans and reports to the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Given the high level of interest in this process and the strong momentum that we have sustained in developing the Strategy, I wanted to share the next steps of this process:
In December, ONAP and OMB will review the submissions by the agencies. In early January, we plan to re-convene the Federal Interagency Working Group which consists of high level HIV leaders from across the Federal government to collectively review the plans and continue to consider one of the Strategy’s key goals: improving coordination and collaboration across the Federal government.
In the New Year the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) will also meet and reviewing these plans will be on their agenda. In addition, ONAP will develop a synthesis document for public release early in 2011 that pulls together key activities outlined in the individual agency plans.
My team in ONAP and our colleagues in OMB greatly appreciate the effort by all of the Federal agencies to be responsive to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The Obama Administration is committed to providing strong Federal leadership to reinvigorate the national response to HIV/AIDS in order to reduce the number of new infections, increase access to care, and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Our actions, however, are just one part of a broader effort that will be necessary to meet the Strategy’s ambitious goals. Our hope is that State and local government commit to developing their own implementation plans, and advocates, businesses, faith communities and others take other actions to further the goals of the Strategy.
This is a good week for all of us. We are doing the hard work that will lead us toward the realization of the vision of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in which the United States is 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.
Jeffrey S. Crowley is the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy