National Strategy


“The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur every person regardless of age, race, ethnicity, their sexual orientation, or their social/economic status will have unfettered access to high-quality, life-extending care, free from stigma or discrimination.”  (White House Office of National AIDS Policy, National HIV/AIDS Strategy).

After nearly 30 years of combating HIV/AIDS, the United States finally has a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy to mount a coordinated plan of action designed to achieve greater progress against the epidemic.  The strategy, released by the White House in July of 2010, defines strategic approaches in three key goals established by President Obama: reduce new HIV infections; improve access to high-quality care and optimize health outcomes for people living with HIV; and decrease HIV-associated health disparities.

It is no coincidence that the primary goals of the NHAS parallel those of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.  The foundation has been a leader in the effort to develop the national strategy since its inception.  Beginning in 2007, the foundation co-founded and supported the original Campaign for a National AIDS Strategy that began to articulate the need for a unified, government-led plan, the core goals such a plan should strive to achieve, and the process for developing and implementing it.  The campaign began with a “Call to Action”, which garnered widespread endorsement of and involvement by hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals representing AIDS advocacy, affected communities, research, philanthropy, and business.  This resulted in a commitment by all 2008 Presidential candidates, including Mr. Obama, to develop a national plan if elected.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation continued to influence and monitor the development of the NHAS by the Obama Administration.  We helped organize a set of community and expert consultations that provided input on core priorities in HIV prevention, treatment, care and research that would best achieve the goals of the strategy, as well as on mechanisms for ensuring greater coordination among and accountability of federal agencies responsible for funding and managing HIV/AIDS programs.

The NHAS embraces a set of principles reflective of this input:

• Rely on evidence-based programming
• Set ambitious goals
• Establish a timeline
• Require annual reporting on progress towards established targets
• Specific agencies accountable for activities
• Address groups at elevated risk for HIV
• Address structural issues, such as housing
• Promote coordinated efforts across the government
• Involve other sectors (business, community based organizations, professional organizations, others)

As the strategy is new, time will tell if it will achieve its stated goals.  Much will depend on how all of us engage in its implementation and monitoring.  San Francisco AIDS Foundation will continue to be actively involved in this effort, including its translation to state and local HIV/AIDS responses.

To read the entire National HIV/AIDS Strategy, visit:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap/nhas

To learn more about the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy, visit:
http://nationalaidsstrategy.org/ 

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