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U.S. News

Georgia: Gay Obama Appointee Convenes First Town Hall Meeting on National HIV/AIDS Strategy

August 28, 2009

Tuesday at the 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, the director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy kicked off the first in a series of town hall meetings aimed at soliciting public feedback to help guide the creation of a national HIV/AIDS strategy.

As Jeff Crowley took the stage, he was interrupted by some 20 activists demanding that sex workers, women, gay men, incarcerated persons and other marginalized groups be given priority in the strategy. As the group walked out to a standing ovation, Crowley responded, "That's some good energy to help us get something done."

"The president cares deeply about HIV/AIDS," Crowley said in his opening remarks. "He also expects us to do our share."

In addition to Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), panelists at the forum included local HIV/AIDS leaders such as Carlos del Rio, co-director for Clinical Science & International Research at the Emory Center for AIDS Research; Guy Pujol, executive director of AIDS Alliance for Faith & Health; and Dr. Edith Biggers, an HIV/AIDS specialist the Fulton County Department of Health. The meeting was moderated by Dazon Dixon Diallo of SisterLove Inc.

Del Rio said prevention efforts must be ramped up for men who have sex with men (MSM), a group that accounts for the largest number of new infections each year. "MSM, particularly those of color -- if 50 percent of new infections is among this group, then 50 percent of dollars need to go to targeting this group," he said.

Ahead of the meeting, Crowley, who is openly gay, visited several Atlanta AIDS service organizations. "In this country, we are doing a lot of things right, so we're not starting from a point of failure. But we want to bring attention back to the domestic epidemic," he said.

Back to other news for August 2009

Adapted from:
Southern Voice (Atlanta)
08.28.2009; Dyana Bagby

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States: Executive Summary
U.S. Announces First National HIV/AIDS Strategy
More on U.S. HIV/AIDS Policy