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TAG's Progress Toward Revitalizing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

By Mark Harrington

January 6, 2014

In December 2012, TAG convened an urgent national consultation bringing together government officials, researchers, service providers, and activists to discuss how to incorporate the latest science and build on the upcoming implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and accompanying Medicaid expansion to revitalize the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). Recommendations from the meeting were forwarded to the U.S. Office of National AIDS Policy in April 2013.

In January and May 2013, TAG, along with Housing Works, convened two consultations hosted by Columbia University to explore the same issues at the state and local levels, with the goal of instigating the development of a New York State Plan to End AIDS.

In June 2013, TAG and the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) hosted a meeting with the aim of defining a community-driven implementation science agenda to fill the gaps in the HIV continuum of care (also known as the treatment cascade).

On July 15, 2013, President Obama issued an executive order directing federal agencies to develop a plan to improve outcomes throughout the treatment cascade and report back to him by December. This order was a major step forward and amounted to endorsing a much more ambitious set of treatment targets as part of the NHAS -- in other words, asking the government to develop a strategy to maximize treatment success, retention in care, and viral suppression for as many people as possible.

In August 2013, the New York State AIDS Institute requested input from TAG and Housing Works on what the elements of a New York State Plan to End AIDS should be. Now the state government is reviewing the proposal for that plan. TAG and its allies hope New York will once again take leadership nationally and internationally in defining the end of the AIDS pandemic as an overarching strategic goal for the state -- and for New York City, which remains the epicenter of the U.S. epidemic.

TAG's next steps in these interlocking campaigns include issuing recommendations for the implementation science agenda; developing proposals for comprehensive twenty-first-century HIV surveillance and prevention; broadening the use of high-quality generic antiretroviral drugs and combinations where appropriate; and working with activists, researchers, providers, and state and local health authorities to create a scalable model of a statewide plan to end AIDS that can be used throughout the United States.

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