As the Obama Administration comes to a close, I wanted to share a few reflections on the work of the Office of National AIDS Policy.
I am tremendously proud of the progress we have made in this country in our response to HIV. It is because of strong bipartisan support in Congress and multiple Administrations that our country had its first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy in 2010. And it is because of this same broad support that we’ve expanded our investments in HIV prevention, care, and treatment. We have accomplished much over multiple Administrations and expect that trajectory to continue into the next. Sustained effort is required to fully realize the promise of our more recent scientific advances and programmatic innovations. If we let up where we’re making progress, we risk eroding hard-won gains. And if we don’t push forward and address with new vigor the areas where we are not seeing progress, we risk falling further behind.
I want to express sincere gratitude and thanks, on behalf of myself and the current ONAP team, as well as my predecessors and their ONAP teams, to the nationwide community of HIV advocates, service providers, health care professionals, researchers, and people living with HIV. Your thoughtful and persistent engagement with us strengthened our strategies, our policies, and our outcomes. Thank you for hosting us in your communities, and for coming to Washington DC to share your stories and your successes, all of which shaped our national response.
Our gratitude and thanks also extends to our Federal agency partners, who have stepped up their actions, deepened their collaborations, and focused in on achieving the greatest impact of every Federal dollar. We know that innovations at the state, local, and community levels inspired action at the Federal level, and new federal directions inspired actions at the community level, too. This synergy across levels of government and sectors of society is why ONAP has emphasized a truly national response to HIV.
I wanted to let you know that, as part of this Administration’s orderly transition, White House staff have been working to implement a rolling offboarding process. ONAP staff will offboard on January 4; after this date, we will no longer be available at our White House email addresses or phone numbers. The rolling offboarding is for logistical reasons only and is unrelated to this or the next Administration’s decisions about ONAP and the federal response to HIV.
Although this Administration ends, the work must certainly continue. The latest data show that, while we have made progress nationally, there is more work to do to reduce the numbers of people who are newly infected, improve health outcomes among people living with HIV and those at risk, and reduce disparities. We have made a number of great accomplishments and are on a solid path to end this epidemic but it will require ongoing work in the coming years to continue to push forward and meet the challenges that no doubt will arise. I trust that each of you will continue to make the best use of your agency or organization’s capacity and creativity in order to address HIV in the United States.
It truly has been an honor and privilege to serve this Administration and the American people as part of ONAP. Best wishes for the holiday season and a happy new year!