May 09, 2011


Learning From Our Global HIV/AIDS Programs

By Jeffrey S. Crowley, M.P.H., Director, Office of National AIDS Policy (Cross-posted from the Office of National AIDS Policy Blog)

Last week, I was in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I attended the annual meeting of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.  Known as PEPFAR, this is the United States global HIV/AIDS program that was established by President Bush.  PEPFAR has been continued and strongly supported by President Obama.  The focus of this Administration has been to move the program from an emergency response to a sustainable, long-term effort that builds the capacity of host countries to take the lead in responding their HIV epidemics.  Indeed, in 2009, President Obama announced his Global Health Initiative (GHI) that acknowledges the enormous success of PEPFAR and seeks to build on this effort by strengthening health systems to tackle other health problems.

It is humbling and exciting to be with this group of committed Americans and host country partners.  The American people should be proud of the fact that we are leading the response to the global pandemic and our work is literally saving the lives of millions of people around the world.  A couple of statistics caught my ear. Through PEPFAR, 385,000 infants have been born HIV-free who otherwise would have been born with the virus. More than 100,000 of these births have been in the last year alone.  The PEPFAR program is currently supporting more than 3.2 million people on anti-retroviral therapy, an amazing achievement for a program that is only 7 years old.  What an enormous achievement!  I could cite facts and figures for days, but the most meaningful way to see the impact of our efforts is to visit the clinics and programs that the US government is supporting.  With CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, I visited a local clinic and a hospital in Tembisa, a community outside of Johannesburg that is home to two million people.  I also visited Helen Thomas Hospital in Johannesburg, a research hospital and one of the largest HIV treating hospitals in South Africa, as well as Nazareth House, a Catholic institution that cares for children orphaned by HIV.  It is hard to describe the feeling of seeing hundreds and hundreds of people living with HIV, many of whom are on HIV treatment, and to hear them thank PEPFAR and the American people for helping to keep them alive.

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National Women's Health Week

By Jennie Anderson, Communications Director


Yesterday was not only Mother's Day, but it also was the start of the 12th annual National Women's Health Week (NWHW). According to Nancy C. Lee, MD, Director of the Office on Women's Health:

The aim of this day is to raise public awareness about the importance of women's health and encourage women and girls to make their health a top priority. Women are the foundation of many families, but too often we place the needs of others before our own. NWHW serves as a reminder to take the time to be physically active, eat well, visit a health care professional, avoid risky behaviors and pay attention to our mental health.

This observance is an important opportunity to talk about HIV among women. We know that women are disproportionately impacted by HIV. Last month I wrote a blog post, Taking Action for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: What can you do? In this post I shared highlights from the White House meeting on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10). 

How will you take action during NWHW? We'd love to hear from you and encourage you to leave a comment on this post.

May 05, 2011


PEPFAR’s Partnership With the Global Fund Improves the Response to HIV/AIDS

By Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (Cross-posted from the State Department Blog)

This week in Johannesburg, South Africa, PEPFAR is convening its annual meeting. U.S. Government global health leaders and staff are working together to identify opportunities to build on the impressive achievements our programs have made so far. Throughout the week here on Dipnote, I am providing updates on our collaboration to further our vision of partnership, efficiency, and innovation for sustained impact through PEPFAR.

As we wrap up this year's meeting in Johannesburg, today we have focused on what we can do to advance the vision of shared responsibility at the country level. As I have described, we are working to reach the point where our partner countries have ownership of the full continuum of response. This encompasses the work going on at every level -- including various levels of public facilities, as well contributions of faith-based organizations, the private sector and others to the health system. It also includes our PEPFAR resources and expertise.

And it definitely includes resources provided through grants provided through the mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Through our contribution to the Global Fund, the United States is able to support the delivery of significant and concrete health results; expand the geographic reach of and enhance bilateral efforts; catalyze international investment in AIDS, TB, and malaria; build capacity, country ownership, and sustainability; and demonstrate political commitment to international cooperation.

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May 04, 2011


It is a Civil Right to Live Free from Discrimination on the Basis of HIV/AIDS Status

By David W. Knight, Trial Attorney, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Department of Justice

When the Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, Jr., signed the Justice Department’s operational plan (PDF 354 KB) for implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, he underscored the Department’s leadership role in eradicating discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS. The Civil Rights Division has significant enforcement authority over the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - Federal laws that protect individuals with HIV/AIDS from discrimination on the basis of their HIV/AIDS status. In furtherance of its leadership role, the Division is partnering with community-based groups in order to educate individuals with HIV/AIDS about their rights under the law. 

Last month the Department partnered with the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA Exit Disclaimer), which is funded by the Elton John Foundation, to conduct a national HIV health literacy technical assistance program. The Department joined ACRIA for intensive, two-day trainings in Memphis, Tennessee and Augusta, Georgia. In January, the Department participated in a similar training in Birmingham, Alabama. Each session provided an opportunity for the Department to reach local public health professionals, case managers, and advocates, and, in the process, to share information about illegal discrimination and build critical relationships in the communities visited.

Over the past several months, the Department has also performed direct outreach to AIDS service organizations and advocacy groups in Jackson, Mississippi; Columbus, Ohio; San Francisco, California; and Detroit, Michigan. Meetings with these organizations will continue through the year. Those interested in learning more about federal disability rights statutes, and the rights of individuals with HIV/AIDS, can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301, 800-514-0383 (TTY), or access the ADA website.

Continue reading "It is a Civil Right to Live Free from Discrimination on the Basis of HIV/AIDS Status" »

May 03, 2011


Living With HIV Video: A Way to Educate Patients and Provide Support

By Deborah Parham Hopson, PhD, MSPH, RN, RADM, USPHS, Associate Administrator for HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Deborah Parham Hopson, PhD

Dr. Deborah Parham Hopson, HRSA

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is the largest Federal program devoted to a single disease. Every year more than half a million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States receive treatment. That is the foundation from which our Program is built. The involvement of the HIV/AIDS community continues to be central to our success over the last twenty-plus years of our Program’s history.

As HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) staff began working on our web pages to chronicle the history of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, we knew the story of the individuals that we serve had to be told. There is, of course, no one better to speak about living with HIV or to illustrate the diversity of our Program and the resilience of the individuals we serve than the people themselves.

As such, we created a multimedia video entitled “Living With HIV”. In it the individuals served through our Program discuss their experiences in their own words. The video features people from communities across the country talking about living with HIV disease, its associated stigma, and in many ways the extended life expectancy made possible because of antiretroviral medications.

We know in public health that people are more apt to react to prevention and outreach messaging when they can see themselves and the roles they play. The combination of photography, videography, and voiceover to create a truly multimedia product seemed the perfect avenue to achieve this and, of course, the perfect way to hear from each other.

Continue reading "Living With HIV Video: A Way to Educate Patients and Provide Support" »


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