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Dynamic National AIDS Czar Needed To Address Challenge Of AIDS Epidemic In 1997 And Beyond

Cisneros, Kessler, Shalikashvili should be among nominees

February 18, 1997

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- AIDS Action today called on President Clinton to name the likes of Henry Cisneros, Jesse Jackson, David Kessler, Ann Richards, or Gen. John Shalikashvili to lead the nation's battle against AIDS. AIDS Action's call for a high profile nominee to serve as the White House's director of national AIDS policy follows today's expected announcement that Dr. Eric Goosby, head of the Department of Health and Human Services's Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, will replace outgoing Director Patsy Fleming on an interim basis.

"AIDS Action looks forward to working with Dr. Goosby through the transition to a permanent Director of National AIDS Policy," said Daniel Zingale, executive director of AIDS Action, the nation's leading AIDS advocacy organization. " As President Clinton turns his attention to filling this vital position, we urge that he consider high profile figures such as Henry Cisneros, Jesse Jackson, David Kessler, Ann Richards, or Gen. John Shalikashvili."

Zingale explained that especially given the promise of new AIDS drug therapies and the challenge of providing these drugs and a continuum of care to all Americans living with HIV and AIDS, the next Director of National AIDS Policy must be a dynamic individual who both fully understands the complexities of the epidemic and can effectively use his/her office as a bully pulpit to affect political and societal change.

Zingale urged that the following criteria should be met by whomever President Clinton selects to serve as the White House pointperson on AIDS:


  • Must possess an unwavering commitment to finding a cure or vaccine, preventing further infections, and caring for the thousands of Americans who are already HIV-infected.

  • Must have the President's trust.

  • Must understand the national and global dynamics and implications of the AIDS epidemic.

  • Must understand national politics and the politics of AIDS.

Additionally, President Clinton must ensure that the next Director of National AIDS Policy possesses the full range of tools necessary to combat this terrible epidemic. AIDS Action urges President Clinton to:

  • Either elevate the position to Cabinet-level status or allow the Director of National AIDS Policy direct access to himself, the Vice President, the Cabinet, and the Domestic Policy Council.

  • Ensure that all possible resources, both financial and staff, are made available for use by the Office of National AIDS Policy to cover the wide array of issues related to AIDS.

For more information, contact:
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, extension 3053
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.