In 2010, President Obama released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) that has truly impacted every HIV policy and program in the United States. It is remarkable how over the ensuing years, the vast majority of persons working on HIV-related issues have referred back to the NHAS priorities when planning their next, local steps for providing HIV-related prevention, housing and care services. Evidence of its broad impact is found at every level of public health, from the White House (where the 2010 NHAS launch occurred), to federal agencies, to state and local health departments, to community-based organizations, to the offices of clinical providers, to housing officials, to the halls of academia, to the friends and family touched by HIV, and to persons living with or at heightened risk of HIV infection.
Leading up to the launch of the updated NHAS on July 30, 2015, we at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health felt it important to host a viewing session of the NHAS launch, followed by an immediate discussion of how the update will impact our local efforts to change the course of the HIV epidemic in Baltimore. At Hopkins, the Center for AIDS Research, the Urban Health Institute, and the Department of Health, Behavior and Society have joined together with key community leaders in HIV programming and policy to engage in this real-time discussion.
Given its public health importance, our feeling is that there’s not a moment to lose in understanding the updated NHAS, finding the aspects of it that are most relevant to the specific epidemic in Baltimore, and taking prompt action. Timely action is critical not only to address the HIV epidemic itself, but also to confront the social inequalities that contribute to and are exacerbated by HIV. In the wake of Baltimore’s recent unrest, addressing health disparities and social inequities are immediate priorities, and doing so will be essential to successfully addressing the HIV epidemic in our city. We have invited partners from the local health department, community-based organizations, other universities, advocacy groups, and individual leaders—including persons living with HIV/AIDS– to participate vigorously in this discussion at Hopkins.
We urge our friends working on HIV/AIDS across the country to consider similar viewing and discussion sessions. Indeed, HIV/AIDS is everyone’s business in the United States, and there is no time like the launch of the updated NHAS on July 30, 2015 to ratchet up the impact of our collective efforts and take bold steps toward halting new HIV infections, ensuring that everyone living with HIV has access to timely, high-quality HIV care (including critical services such as housing), and addressing the social drivers of this epidemic. The more we can come together and learn from one another about how best to implement the updated NHAS, the more certain we are to transform the updated NHAS from an important federal document into a powerful agent of change, bringing our nation to a future free of HIV/AIDS.
For more information on the viewing session, please contact Ms. Reginia Hawkins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch this new video to learn more about the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020