Recently, I had the chance to speak with Mr. Douglas Brooks, MSW, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, about the update to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy he and his team have been developing. Below are his remarks.
“Nearly five years ago, President Obama released our country’s first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy. It has reinvigorated our collective domestic response to HIV. It changed the way Americans talk about HIV, and plan and deliver services at the local level to both prevent new infections and support those living with HIV to seek treatment and stay in care.
Since its release, stakeholders from every sector have used the Strategy as a roadmap, making important strides toward meeting its goals of
▪ reducing new HIV infections,
▪ improving access to care and health outcomes for people living with HIV, and
▪ reducing HIV-related disparities.
Much has been accomplished and our response is more coordinated than ever before.
These efforts have been augmented by several important scientific and policy advances that have come about since the Strategy’s release. These include advances such as treatment as prevention, PrEP, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which have been awe inspiring.
To build on the Strategy’s accomplishments and integrate these advances into our ongoing efforts, the White House has been working closely with our partners to develop a five-year update for the Strategy.
[Many] voices have been a vital part of this process. We have gathered input from diverse perspectives to inform the Strategy update. We’ve had many conversations with individuals and groups in communities all over the country – from Boston to Birmingham, from Oakland to Atlanta, and many places in between. We also put out a call for folks to submit their ideas online through a feedback forum, and we received hundreds of thoughtful and forward-looking suggestions.
Soon, we will release the National HIV/AIDS Strategy Update, which will set priorities to guide our work through 2020. Following its release, the many federal agencies and offices responsible for implementing the Strategy will develop a Federal Action Plan to guide our efforts.
But this is a national plan, not just a Federal one. Everyone is needed to put this Strategy into action and end the HIV epidemic.
So, while we are developing the Action Plan, we will invite people living with HIV and those engaged in the important work of HIV prevention and treatment every day in communities across the nation to identify those actions that you can take to ensure that, together, we achieve the Strategy’s goals.”
Watch this video where Douglas Brooks talks about the release of the update to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: