amfAR Commemorates First Anniversary of National HIV/AIDS Strategy
Important reforms are being implemented, but expanded efforts are needed to secure access to services and protect Medicaid and health reform
For Immediate Release
Cub Barrett, Program Communications Manager
NEW YORK, July 13, 2011—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Wednesday commemorated the first anniversary of President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy and called for continued implementation of reforms proposed as part of the strategy.
The strategy, unveiled last July 13, sets goals for reducing HIV incidence; increasing access to care; and reducing health-related disparities in the domestic epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.1 Americans are living with HIV or AIDS, and an estimated 56,000 become newly infected with HIV each year.
“Last year, the White House developed a strategy that sets clear targets to effectively combat the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost, a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. “The government has just begun implementation of the strategy, but it’s clear that the Administration is serious about making it work—and making a real impact.”
Overseen by the Office of National AIDS Policy, the strategy is an effort that emerged from the HIV/AIDS advocacy community, which recognized that the U.S. needed a more accountable, coordinated, and outcomes-oriented response to the epidemic at home. Federal AIDS programming had too often been a patchwork of uncoordinated programs, said amfAR Vice President and Director of Public Policy Chris Collins, but the White House strategy has already altered the landscape in important ways.
“The Administration has taken a variety of steps to implement the strategy through policy reforms, revised funding allocations, and proposals for additional funding in several areas,” Collins said. “There is still much work to be done, including defending health reform and ending waiting lines for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Cuts to Medicaid as part of a budget deal would seriously undermine achievement of strategy goals. But we’re hopeful that, working together, and with smart new investments, we can continue to move in the right direction and effect lasting change.”
Founded in 1985, amfAR has long been a vocal proponent of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy, identifying it as a top goal when the public policy office opened in Washington, D.C., in 1991. Collins has been a forceful advocate for a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS response both before and after joining amfAR in 2009.
Additionally, amfAR helped lead efforts to develop a community sign-on letter signed by more than 140 organizations and released Wednesday, that lays out principles for the strategy’s success as implementation moves into its second year.
Several major HIV/AIDS research breakthroughs in the past year have expanded our prevention options, Collins said. One study showed that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective among men who have sex with men who take the drug as directed, and another demonstrated that earlier initiation of antiretrovirals (ARVs) to treat HIV/AIDS greatly reduces chances that HIV will be passed on to an HIV-negative partner.
“We have the tools to make major inroads against HIV/AIDS here and abroad,” Collins said. “With a more strategic, coordinated, and appropriately funded response, we can begin to end the epidemic.”
View the National HIV/AIDS Strategy at whitehouse.gov: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap/nhas
More about amfAR’s advocacy for a National HIV/AIDS Strategy: http://www.amfar.org/hill/article.aspx?id=8808
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $325 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.