Looking Ahead to 2012


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Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Howard Koh

As 2011 draws to a close and we look ahead with anticipation to the New Year, I want to honor the members of the HIV/AIDS community for their passion in advancing toward our goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation.

Through our collective commitment to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the Action Plan for Viral Hepatitis, our nation saw progress this year to match this passion. We have moved closer to the Strategy’s goals of reducing new HIV infections, improving access to HIV care, improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. Furthermore, by tackling the silent epidemic of hepatitis, we are helping so many co-infected while addressing another major public health challenge.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) was tasked by the NHAS to improve coordination of HIV/AIDS across the Department of Health and Human Services, and with other Federal agencies and departments. As a result of this new role, my office had the opportunity to work alongside a talented and committed cadre of Federal colleagues who stepped forward to support the Strategy’s goals and outcomes. Together, we have strengthened and coordinated HIV/AIDS activities across agencies and departments; better aligned resources to address the epidemic; promoted the “12 Cities” project as a way to enhance integration of Federal HIV/AIDS programs; moved toward common reporting metrics; and, clarified a path toward achieving better outcomes.  In addition, our engagement during the past year with a broad array of non-Federal partners, including those from state and local governments, academia, the faith community, the business and philanthropic sectors, and the media, has unified and revitalized the national commitment to HIV/AIDS.

This year also marked the 30th year since the first reported cases of AIDS, a milestone that makes us reflect on our remarkable journey since those dark days when HIV infection was poorly understood and almost always fatal.  Remarkably, three decades of scientific progress in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, coupled with the development of new policies, programs, and partnerships, has brought us to a pivotal moment where we can envision an AIDS-free generation.

In the coming year, we will continue to strengthen these efforts along with our Federal and non-Federal partners, by taking advantage of recent scientific discoveries, and implementing policies and programs that support HIV prevention, testing, and treatment efforts. The XIX International AIDS Conference set for July 2012 in Washington, DC, will be an exciting opportunity for us to join in a global effort to assess our progress on HIV/AIDS, evaluate recent scientific developments, and collectively chart a course forward toward an AIDS-free generation.

As I look to the challenges ahead, what motivates me most is the courage of the first patients with HIV/AIDS for whom I cared during my medical training in Boston all those years ago. Those patients, as well as those currently living with HIV/AIDS and advocates worldwide, continue to inspire our critical efforts to combat this devastating epidemic. By working together in the coming year, we can honor the legacy of those who have gone before us and make the HIV/AIDS Strategy’s life-saving goals a reality in the years to come.


  1. This year 2011 has marked the 30 years of the AIDS evolution. We continue to strive in breaking down the barriers. Its taken a long time at the cost of many loved ones. Medicines that were not available for those who suffered are present today. New treatments,early detection and management gives hope for newly diagnosed persons. We’ve learned much about HIV and I hope 2012 continues the upward climb in fighting this disease.

  2. Thank you so much.

  3. Abdulkareem Ahmed Olatunji says:

    considering the history of this epidemic, HIV/AIDS, the scientific revolution in the last 3 decades, increasing knowledge about the disease, the political will, the various evolving means to combat the disease and the increasing level of awareness of the populace, I also foresee an ‘AIDS FREE GENERATION’

  4. thankyou ,for your effort in combating hiv/aids,please next effort should centre on ophans and widows income support, and in africa support more nutrition of hiv patients mostly in hospitals and schools, for most are extremely poor,and fight also descrimination e.g in arab world against hiv/aids immigrants,and also invite individual patients to give their experince to the conference because its abetter counselling strategy,for most of the time government officials are invited and yet they embezzle most of the funds sent for patients, please note most of the information they present on p-aper is not refflected on the ground, they only beatify it. please invite us to attend and present papers

    thanks i remain , bob

  5. happy new year and thanks the support you give aids people,the next challenge of work should concetrate on childsren and the elderly. and also support to nutrition
    thanks keep up the struggle, i request to be considered to present a paper on any up coming event about hiv/ aids in the near future
    especially about africa, im based in daresslaam , east africa
    thanks ,lets give hope to the worlde and end hiv/ aids
    from bob

  6. Consuelo Celestine LPN says:

    I remember caring for my first AIDS patients
    as a nurse in Later part of seventies about
    1977 at Saint Vincents Hospital in village
    NYC,NY A couple of them I treated them as all my
    Clients with tender care and kindness doing the
    most I could to make them comfortable listening
    to them voice there concerns worries when not
    many would listen Praying for them with them

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