Two years ago today, President Obama released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), the nation’s first-ever comprehensive coordinated HIV/AIDS plan for responding to the domestic epidemic, which articulated clear and measurable targets to be achieved by 2015. On this occasion, it is appropriate to pause and reflect on the noteworthy progress made over the past two years, as well as take stock of the vital work that remains ahead.
Since the Strategy’s release, the Administration has taken numerous actions to support domestic HIV funding, implement critical policy changes, and improve coordination across the federal government and with other key partners. Within the Department of Health and Human Services, we have made significant strides in implementing the more than 175 actions specifically tasked to HHS agencies and offices in the NHAS Federal Implementation Plan plus many additional ones set forth in the HHS NHAS Operational Plan. Much of our ongoing activity has been chronicled in this blog.
The Strategy continues to serve as a roadmap for moving our country forward toward the NHAS goals of reducing new HIV infections, improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. Importantly, the Strategy is also providing a shared framework for assessing, enhancing or revising, and better aligning federal, state, and local responses to HIV as we all work toward its fourth goal, achieving a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic.
Our progress over the first two years and the work that lies ahead for all of us at the federal, state, local and community levels will be the focus of many important conversations during the XIX International AIDS Conference , which begins here in Washington, DC on July 22. To facilitate this important conversation, on the very first day of the conference, HHS is hosting a Satellite Session titled “Achieving the Goals of the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Future Directions .” If you are attending the conference, please join us for this session on Sunday, July 22, from 1:30-3:30 PM in Session Room 9 at the Convention Center. The session will feature federal, state, and community perspectives on implementation of the two-year old Strategy from speakers including Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and other important leaders who are working to end the American HIV/AIDS epidemic. We will share a blog post with highlights from this session in the days following.
In the meantime, on this second anniversary of the NHAS, let’s pause to celebrate our accomplishments and rededicate ourselves to the work that lies ahead as we strive to achieve the Strategy’s vision:
The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare
and when they do occur, every person
regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.