I was honored to attend this year’s United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) and present at the closing session. In addition to speaking at that event, I was able to meet one-on-one with a number of conference participants. I had the pleasure to talk with executive directors, advocates, health department staff, people living with HIV/AIDS, and those providing direct services. We discussed the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), as well as the concerns and challenges that AIDS services providers and those living with HIV and AIDS face.
The NHAS goals will require an unprecedented level of coordination among Federal agencies, state and local governments, and nongovernmental organizations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plays a central role in coordinating the implementation of the NHAS at the Federal level. We are charged with:
- Improving coordination of domestic HIV/AIDS programs;
- Improving coordination within HHS;
- Bringing together “lead agencies” in the Federal government to work together to achieve the goals of the NHAS; and
- Following up on recommendations from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) on the NHAS.
Federal agencies are moving forward with the NHAS and must submit their operational plans for NHAS implementation to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and the Office of Management and Budget by December 9, 2010.
As Federal agencies develop their implementation plans for the Strategy, I encourage everyone in the HIV community to begin developing your own plans. HHS will continue to support transparency and collaboration by providing information about our NHAS roles and responsibilities. In addition we will be sharing regular updates and blog posts on AIDS.gov. We have much hope for achieving our common vision of a nation where HIV is rare and everyone receives the care they need and deserve.