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Proposed National HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation Fund

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H.

June 28, 2011

Dr. Ronald Valdiserri.

Dr. Ronald Valdiserri.

Because the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) is a priority endeavor for the U.S. government, when the President released his Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) budget proposal in February of this year, he proposed a special fund to support the implementation of the Strategy. If approved, the FY12 Budget Proposal authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to transfer one percent of the department's domestic HIV/AIDS spending to promote new, collaborative efforts in support of the goals of the NHAS. If approved in the Congressional appropriations process, this would establish a fund of approximately $60 million dollars that would be administered by the Assistant Secretary for Health whose office would work closely with HHS operating divisions, staff offices, and community partners to determine the most strategic ways to use these resources to move us closer toward achieving the goals of the NHAS.


Re-Purposed, Not New Resources

We need to be clear, up-front, that we aren't talking about new dollars, but "re-purposed" or "re-directed" dollars. Also, it is important to keep in mind that at this point in time, the "Implementation Fund" has been proposed but not yet approved. Congress and other key stakeholders will definitely want to weigh-in with their thoughts about this proposal and priorities for addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.


Consultation on Possible Uses of NHAS Implementation Fund

To begin the process of seeking input, on June 21, 2011, HHS convened some 40 stakeholders (PDF 64KB) from inside and outside of government to discuss principles and priorities that should be considered in the event that these resources become available in FY12. Mr. Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the White House's Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), noted at the start of the meeting that the idea for an NHAS Implementation Fund grew out of requests from the community to ensure that resources are available to implement the Strategy.


Principles for Use of the Strategy Implementation Fund

The stakeholders who gathered last week shared many perspectives on how these re-purposed resources could best be utilized, should they become available. Among the principles they proposed were:

Perhaps one of the keenest principles proposed and echoed by several participants was the following: Invest this 1% to make the remaining 99% of the Department's HIV resources work even better.


Potential Projects

In addition to overarching principles about how the funds could best be utilized, the participants suggested a variety of possible activities that might be supported with such funds. Among those were:

While certainly not unanimous, the breadth and variety of thoughtful suggestions shared during the consultation have given us a great deal to consider if these re-purposed funds should become available. What are your thoughts on how the Strategy Implementation Funds could best be utilized, should they become available? What principles should govern their use? What types of activities should be supported? Share your suggestions in the Comments section here.

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




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