National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Working Across Agency Lines

Dr. Ron Valdiserri

Dr. Ron Valdiserri, HHS

Across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies and offices are studying the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and examining their programs, policies and resources to identify ways to better align them with the goals and priorities articulated in the Strategy. These efforts will be reflected in the HHS NHAS Implementation Plan, which the President has requested by December 9.

Meeting regularly and conferring frequently throughout the development process, agency and office representatives are also exploring ways that we can enhance collaboration with other government and community partners. In his memorandum to executive agencies that accompanied the release of the NHAS, the President noted, “Successful implementation of the Strategy will require new levels of coordination, collaboration, and accountability. This will require the Federal Government to work in new ways across agency lines, as well as in enhanced and innovative partnerships with State, tribal, and local governments.”

An important way in which HHS agencies will seek to meet the goals of the NHAS is through a special cross-agency, multi-jurisdictional project that will focus on 12 geographic areas most heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS. Building on CDC’s recently awarded grants for “Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Planning and Implementation for Metropolitan Statistical Areas Most Affected by HIV/AIDS,” other agencies, including HRSA, IHS, NIH, and SAMHSA, are actively exploring ways that they can build upon this platform and work collaboratively with CDC. While still being developed, their joint activities will result in the following outcomes in each of the 12 jurisdictions:

  • coordinated planning for HIV prevention, care and treatment
  • federally funded HIV/AIDS resources mapped in each jurisdiction
  • assessment of the current distribution of HIV prevention, care and treatment resources
  • development of cross-agency strategies to address gaps in coverage or scale of necessary HIV prevention, care and treatment services
  • coordinated implementation of and capacity building for delivering strategies and interventions addressing HIV prevention, care and treatment
  • opportunities to blend services and, where appropriate, funding steams across federal programs

Multi-agency collaborative efforts of this type are earning praise from the field as well. Laura Hanen, Director of Government Relations at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) Exit Disclaimer, heard of this project at my presentation at the PACHA meeting on 9/30/10. She recently told us, “…[this project] represents an exciting and definitive step in the implementation of the NHAS.”

Next week, representatives from across HHS reconvene to share their agency- or office-specific plans as well as to further refine ideas for innovative collaborations that demonstrate their commitment to cooperating in new and meaningful ways designed to make significant strides toward realizing the NHAS goals.


  1. This approach seems innovative, but I thought we have to think more of program integration rather than coordinated planning for HIV prevention, care and treatment. For example, people living with AIDS still have problem accessing mental health services. Empirical data show that mental health services are not available for about 60% of people with AIDS who seriously needed the service.

  2. This is just the kind of model we need — and it needs to be adequately funded to achieve scale and impact, and take advantage of prevention/treatment synergies. In these high incidence settings it will be essential to do more to reach those who’ve not yet benefited from prevention and treatment services. It also needs to be evaluated so as to establish what works.

  3. I think that agencies working across agency lines is a great concept. I do think that there should be a guideline for HIV positive diagnosis to the about of test that a funded agency does in a time period. I would also like to see the boundaries that are sit that limit where a funded agency in a state can do HIV testing and prevention work. If an agency has a good track record for HIV testing and prevention, I will there should be no boundaries sit.. they can and probably will sit an example for other agencies that are finding new positives as well as provide HIV prevention to areas that are not being reached…

  4. Dear Ron:
    As an HIV+ woman who has lived with HIV in the San Francisco bay area for over 26 years I am painfully aware of the fact that organizations such as WORLD were conceived to address the fact that oftentimes in crossover service provision the voices, style and needs of women are either drowned out or ignored. Providing access to service for women entails much more than just opening the doors and ‘saying we serve women too.’ We need to feel safe to express our selves without the fear of belittlement, judgement and retribution. We truly are not just men with breasts that can be blended in. This will just leave us marginalized once again. I wish us the best in power autonomy and strength.
    Loren Jones/Oakland, Ca.

  5. Michael G. de Jong says:

    I’m an ex-pat living in Europe since ’84, in Holland since ’88. I’ve had the Hiv virus and Hep C since June ’92. When I read about all the problems, fear, people have back in America about “what now” after they recieve the “news”, well, I consider myself VERY lucky to be living here. ALL the medical costs are covered by the Dutch Health System…and I mean ALL the costs. I simply can not understand WHY the medicine is not given or at least covered by some kind of National Health insurance. Hey, what price DO you put on a human life ?

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