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January 2011

January 31, 2011

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Institute of Medicine Issues Second Report on HIV Screening and Access to Care

By Chantelle Britton, Policy Advisor, Office of National AIDS Policy (Cross-posted from the Office of National AIDS Policy Blog)

Today, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the second report in a series that evaluates HIV testing policies and access to care. This report, which is entitled “HIV Screening and Access to Care: Exploring the Impact of Policies on Access to and Provision of HIV Care”, examines how Federal and State laws and policies and private health insurance policies affect entry into clinical care and the provision of continuous and sustained care for people with HIV. The report found that the lack of integration in State and Federal programs that assist people with HIV creates or exacerbates barriers to adequate HIV treatment. In addition, the report concludes that patients often experience medical and social difficulties as a result of their HIV status that, in turn, interfere with their HIV treatment.

In 2009, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) commissioned the IOM to convene a 15-member Committee on HIV Screening and Access to Care, which was tasked with planning and conducting a series of three workshops and activities that evaluate barriers to expanded HIV testing and treatment programs. The outcome of these efforts is the issuance of three reports that examine certain questions related to HIV testing policy and access to care. The Committee’s first report focused on the extent to which Federal and State laws and policies, private health insurance policies and practices, and other factors inhibit or promote expanded HIV testing. 

The final forthcoming report in the series will focus on the current capacity of the health care system to administer a great number of HIV tests and to accommodate new HIV diagnoses.

Last July, the President released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States that includes three primary goals of (1) reducing new HIV infections; (2) increasing access to care; and (3) reducing HIV-related health disparities. Of note, the goal of increasing access to care is tied to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which will significantly expand access to care for people with HIV. This report highlights the opportunities within the Affordable Care Act to expand access, but also addresses the potential challenges we face with respect to ensuring services are coordinated and integrated to improve the quality of care for people with HIV.  As we work toward implementing the goals of the Strategy and the Affordable Care Act, we expect that the issues raised in the report will aid in our implementation efforts.

To obtain a copy of today’s report or the first report released from the Committee, please visit the IOM website at www.IOM.edu Exit Disclaimer.

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Federal Leads Explore Intersection of HIV/AIDS and Housing Insecurity or Homelessness

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

NHAS Meeting, 1/24/11

Participants in the Federal leads meeting included (top row, L-R): David Vos of HUD; Dr. Maggie Czarnogorski of VA; and Dr. Howard Koh of HHS and (bottom row, L-R): Dr. Ron Valdiserri of HHS; Capt. M. Shriver of the DOJ; and David Rust of SSA.

Last Monday, January 24, 2011, representatives from the six Federal agencies designated by the President as lead agencies with responsibility for implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) reconvened as part of our ongoing efforts to work toward the Strategy’s goals and achieve a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic in the United States. During this meeting, we focused on the issues of HIV/AIDS and homelessness and housing insecurity. We began dialogue about how the agencies could enhance collaborative efforts to address the NHAS’ charge to us to improve housing security for people living with HIV/AIDS as a means to improve health outcomes for them.  The Federal Implementation Plan directs the nation to “Support people living with HIV and co-occurring health conditions and those who have challenges meeting their basic needs, such as housing.”

Participants included representatives from the Departments of Labor, Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration. In addition, we were joined by several colleagues from the Department of Health and Human Services who deal with homeless issues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration (both the Community Health Centers program and the Ryan White program), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Continue reading "Federal Leads Explore Intersection of HIV/AIDS and Housing Insecurity or Homelessness" »

January 27, 2011

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Reaction to the Death of Ugandan LGBT Activist David Kato

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

David Kato

The United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) mourns the tragic loss of David Kato. As noted in the powerful statements issued by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, David was at the forefront of the fight for human rights for all Ugandans, including members of Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Stigma and discrimination against any population at risk for HIV undermine the fight against the disease. Courageous leaders help societies move forward with an effective public health response by promoting respect for the human rights of all people. David was such a leader for Uganda, and losing him is a tragedy. PEPFAR will honor David's life by continuing to provide essential HIV prevention, care and treatment to the people of Uganda -- especially to vulnerable, marginalized, and most at-risk populations. Through intensive work with both the government and civil society organizations, PEPFAR is working to ensure that all people in Uganda, including the LGBT community, benefit from a public health- and human rights-based response to HIV.

January 25, 2011

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2011 NHPC: Connecting HIV Prevention Professionals through Social Media

By Bob Kohmescher, 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference Coordinator, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

2011 HIV Prevention Conference

The 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) Exit Disclaimer will be held in Atlanta, August 14-17. The conference will contribute to achieving the three major goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and these goals are reflected in the conference theme “The Urgency of Now: Reduce incidence. Improve access. Promote equity.” We want you to share your significant work in HIV prevention. We encourage you to submit an abstract Exit Disclaimer to the conference (deadline, February 4, 2011).

As we plan for the conference, we are looking at the next generation of HIV prevention leaders for inspiration on new methods of reaching at-risk populations and youth where they receive messages. Exploring the possibilities of social media allows prevention partners to learn from these innovative young public health professionals and help learn how to bridge a gap in prevention education and communication. This is particularly important as we look for the best ways to achieve the goals of the National Strategy.

Social media prevention campaigns are fast becoming a powerful channel to reach young consumers of health information, namely in the way of peer-to-peer online education. For example, through the Talk HIV Exit Disclaimer phase of the Act Against AIDS Exit Disclaimer campaign, CDC is leveraging social media to encourage open and honest conversations about HIV/AIDS and drive discussion both online and offline. 

During this past year, we have seen how social media has also played an integral role in helping new and experienced HIV prevention professionals engage in pivotal discussions on HIV prevention, share the latest resources, and network with colleagues at conferences. During the 2011 NHPC Exit Disclaimer, we hope to engage attendees to join in the discussions throughout the conference and share their experiences with their colleagues and the next generation of HIV prevention leaders. We encourage all professionals to take their years of experience in working with HIV, whether just a few years or 30, and share it with their colleagues and a new set of public health professionals working to find new ways to educate people about the disease.

This year’s NHPC Exit Disclaimer will highlight the work of these young innovators in HIV research, prevention, and/or policy Exit Disclaimer to encourage their continued contribution to the field of HIV prevention. To be considered for this recognition, new researchers should be under 30 years old and are required to submit a completed Sponsored Participant Application Exit Disclaimer by the abstract submission deadline of February 4, 2011.

You can follow the conference on Twitter at www.twitter.com/2011NHPC Exit Disclaimer for important conference reminders and news. Search Twitter using hashtag #2011NHPC to follow the conversations about the conference and include the hashtag in all of your conference-related tweets.

AIDS.gov note: Speaking of conferences, the International AIDS Society recently released its report on the 2010 International AIDS Conference Exit Disclaimer in Vienna. Check out page 22 to read about how they used (and evaluated) social media at the conference.

January 21, 2011

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PACHA to Convene Next Week

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) meets on January 27 and 28 in Washington, DC. During next week’s meeting, PACHA will receive an update on the operational plans submitted to the White House by the Federal Departments and Agencies identified as leads in the Strategy.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy tasks PACHA with monitoring the effective implementation of  the Strategy.

You are invited to follow PACHA’s activities via its website. If you will be in the Washington, DC, area, you may register to attend the meeting on January 27. For more information, read the meeting notice.

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