Policy Feed

May 09, 2011

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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.

Continue reading "Learning From Our Global HIV/AIDS Programs" »

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National Women's Health Week

By Jennie Anderson, AIDS.gov Communications Director

CAPTION

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 04, 2011

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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 02, 2011

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Podcast on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)

By Miguel Gomez, AIDS.gov Director

We recently spoke with Deborah Parham Hopson, Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to receive an update on the Ryan White Program. The following podcast is a brief excerpt from that conversation focusing on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) that we thought you would find of interest.

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HHS Region VIII Agencies Convene to Discuss National HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation

By CAPT Zachary Taylor, M.D., M.S., Regional Health Administrator – Region VIII, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Zachary Taylor

With efforts to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) unfolding across the country, we thought it would be valuable to gather our Federal colleagues in this region to identify ways to coordinate and collaborate in our HIV/AIDS-related activities. After all, the NHAS calls for a more coordinated national response to the epidemic. To realize the goals of the NHAS, this coordination must take place not just at the Federal level, but also at the regional, state and community levels.

As the senior Federal public health official in the region for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), my responsibilities encompass four major areas: prevention, preparedness, health equity, and agency-wide coordination. In this capacity, I work closely with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), which has taken a lead role in forging collaborations across HHS and with other Federal departments to implement the NHAS. Borrowing from that example, we planned a joint meeting of regional staff from HHS and other Federal departments for a discussion about implementing the NHAS in this region. The HHS Region VIII encompasses Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

The level of enthusiasm from our partners was impressive. Joining in this conversation were regional representatives of numerous HHS agencies including the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA), Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration on Children and Families (ACF), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Office of Population Affairs (OPA), Office of Minority Health (OMH), and Office on Women’s Health (OWH). In addition, representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice (DOJ), Labor (DOL), and Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Social Security Administration (SSA) joined the discussion (this list includes all of the agencies tasked by the White House with lead responsibility for implementing the Strategy as well as several other welcome additions). The broad organizational diversity of the partners, along with their collective depth of experience and perspective made for a very rich discussion.

Continue reading "HHS Region VIII Agencies Convene to Discuss National HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation" »

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