As President Obama recognized in his remarks about the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (PDF, 12MB) (NHAS) on July 13, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) played a critical role in the development of the Strategy. PACHA will also have several important responsibilities for implementing the Strategy, as outlined in the NHAS Implementation Plan (PDF 723 KB). PACHA is comprised of 25 members from diverse backgrounds who work together to provide information and recommendations to the HHS Secretary on policies and programs that promote effective HIV-prevention and treatment methods and expand HIV/AIDS-related research. Christopher Bates, from the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy at HHS, serves as PACHA’s Executive Director, while Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE USA , serves as the Council’s Chairperson.
PACHA is responsible for establishing mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the NHAS based on the milestones outlined in the Implementation Plan. Further, at least one of the PACHA meetings each year will focus on reviewing the progress of Federal agencies and other stakeholders toward meeting their NHAS goals.
In addition to providing recommendations on how to effectively implement and monitor the NHAS, the Implementation Plan also tasks PACHA with developing recommendations for ways to “promote and normalize safe and voluntary disclosure of HIV status in various contexts and circumstances.” These disclosure recommendations are among several steps outlined in the Implementation Plan to meet the Strategy’s goal of reducing HIV-related health disparities by helping to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.
PACHA members have already begun their important work to implement the Strategy. During the Access to Care Subcommittee meeting on Monday, August 9, subcommittee members reviewed the NHAS Implementation Plan and discussed Federal coordination efforts and the role of the private sector. The Incidence Subcommittee will also begin discussing the implementation of the Strategy at its meeting on Monday, August 16.