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Support Concrete and Specific HIV Prevention Measures in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy!
Individual and Group Endorsements Sought for Letter to President -- Deadline: January 10, 2010

December 10, 2009

This week, 34 national leaders in HIV programming and policy sent a letter to President Obama with recommendations for core points essential to creating a Strategy that will advance our nation's HIV prevention response and lead to fewer HIV infections in the United States.

The leaders came together at a strategy summit convened by Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, with the help of a dedicated planning committee. It was hosted by Johns Hopkins University, and sponsored by the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy.

Please join us in supporting these recommendations!

The Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy is seeking broad individual and organizational endorsement of the letter, which can be downloaded here or read at the end of this message.

The letter explains:

As you know, HIV/AIDS remains a public health emergency in the United States. There is a new HIV infection every 9 ½ minutes, half of people living with HIV/AIDS are not in care, and there are disturbing and persistent gender, racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in HIV infection rates and treatment access.

Despite these challenges, we have ample evidence that HIV prevention strategies are effective and have already averted hundreds of thousands of HIV infections in the US. With your leadership and commitment to implement a new, coordinated plan of action, a dramatic reduction in HIV infections in the U.S. is possible ...
Without concrete changes in our nation's approach, there is the very real danger that HIV prevention efforts will actually deteriorate in the coming years, leading to increasing HIV incidence. Severe cutbacks in state budgets have already undercut health promotion programming across the country. We need a much more strategic, accountable and better-funded federal HIV prevention enterprise than we have had to date, as well as your ongoing, personal leadership to demand improved outcomes from public and private programming.

The deadline for endorsements is January 10, 2010. Click here to endorse the letter.

Thanks from Ilyse, Julie, Josh, Kelly, Waheedah and the rest of us at CHAMP!

Full Text of the Letter Below, or Download Here:

December 9, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As you know, HIV/AIDS remains a public health emergency in the United States. There is a new HIV infection every 9 ½ minutes, half of people living with HIV/AIDS are not in care, and there are disturbing and persistent gender, racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in HIV infection rates and treatment access.

Despite these challenges, we have ample evidence that HIV prevention strategies are effective and have already averted hundreds of thousands of HIV infections in the US. With your leadership and commitment to implement a new, coordinated plan of action, a dramatic reduction in HIV infections in the U.S. is possible.

As individuals dedicated to ensuring the most effective response to HIV/AIDS in our country, we thank you for your pioneering leadership on health reform. We know that health reform will have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of people living with and at elevated risk of HIV/AIDS. Still, health reform will not solve all the complex issues involved in vulnerability to HIV infection or utilization of HIV-related health care.

We therefore applaud your commitment to developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy designed to create an efficient and accountable federal HIV prevention and care effort that is focused on achieving specific outcomes: bringing down HIV incidence, increasing care access, and reducing health disparities.

We are 34 national leaders in HIV programming and policy who came together in October 2009 to discuss how the Strategy can lead us to the most effective HIV prevention effort. This independent meeting was sponsored by the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy to complement the series of community discussions organized by your Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). The Coalition is organizing three other independent consultations on aspects of the Strategy: care, disparities and research.

Mr. President, to achieve your laudable goal of lowering HIV incidence, your Strategy must bring about fundamental changes in federal HIV prevention efforts, including:

Without concrete changes in our nation's approach, there is the very real danger that HIV prevention efforts will actually deteriorate in the coming years, leading to increasing HIV incidence. Severe cutbacks in state budgets have already undercut health promotion programming across the country. We need a much more strategic, accountable and better-funded federal HIV prevention enterprise than we have had to date, as well as your ongoing, personal leadership to demand improved outcomes from public and private programming.

Perhaps the most salient agreement forged at our recent consultation was the moral imperative of a bold undertaking to address the domestic HIV/AIDS crisis with the full force and influence of the federal government. Our consultation generated many good ideas, but we want to highlight a few core points that we believe are essential to creating a Strategy that will advance our nation's HIV prevention response and lead to lower HIV incidence rates:

1) Set ambitious, achievable targets for reduced HIV incidence and a limited number of other HIV prevention-related goals and report annually on progress towards achieving these targets.

The current CDC target of reducing HIV incidence by 5% annually is not sufficiently ambitious. Setting a goal for more rapid progress towards lower HIV incidence will send a clear message that your Strategy is designed to bring needed improvements in our HIV prevention response. We recommend setting aggressive targetsfor HIV incidence, the HIV transmission rate, HIV testing (including our success at diagnosing those who are HIV-positive), and the percentage of people who are living with HIV/AIDS and know their status. We recommend setting a federal goal of reducing the HIV incidence and transmission rates1 by 50% by the end of 2016. This goal can only be achieved given significantly increased resources and a more efficient and effective prevention effort.

2) Make needed reforms in the federal HIV prevention effort. These include:

  • Improve the quality and policy-relevance of HIV epidemiology.

  • Reform HIV prevention financing.

  • Coordinate HIV prevention work across federal agencies.

  • 3) Implement interventions that will change the trajectory of the epidemic in the United States.

    Accomplish immediate impact --

    Accomplish long term and sustainable impact --

    Mr. President, your Strategy is an exciting opportunity to refocus attention on the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and make dramatic progress in reducing HIV incidence in our nation. We look forward to working with you and your staff to create a much more coordinated, accountable, and outcomes-oriented response to HIV/AIDS at home.

    Please feel free to contact Chris Collins (chris.collins@amfar.org) and Julie Davids (jdavids@champnetwork.org) with any questions or comments about our ideas.

    Sincerely,

    Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH
    UNC School of Medicine
      Deborah Arrindell
    American Social Health Association
    Judith D. Auerbach, PhD
    San Francisco AIDS Foundation
    Cornelius Baker
    National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition
    Douglas M. Brooks, MSW
    JRI Health/Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center
    Christopher Brown, MBA, MPH
    Chicago Department of Public Health
    Chris Collins, MPP
    amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
    Kevin Cranston, MDiv
    Massachusetts Department of Public Health
    Don C Des Jarlais, PhD
    Beth Israel Medical Center
    Dazon Dixon Diallo, MPH
    SisterLove, Inc.
    Julie Davids
    Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP)
    Anna Ford
    Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services
    Jennifer Hecht, MPH
    STOP AIDS Project
    Ernest Hopkins
    San Francisco AIDS Foundation
    David Holtgrave, PhD
    Baltimore MD
    Ronald Johnson
    AIDS Action Council
    Venton C. Jones Jr., MSHCAD
    United Black Ellument (U-BE), UCSF - CAPS
    Thomas M. Liberti
    Florida Department of Health
    Charles W. Martin
    South Beach AIDS Project
    Jean Flatley McGuire, PhD, MA
    MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services
    Jesse Milan, Jr., JD
    Altarum Institute
    David Ernesto Munar
    AIDS Foundation of Chicago
    Carl Schmid
    The AIDS Institute
    Julie M. Scofield
    National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors
    J. Walton Senterfitt, PhD, RN, MPH
    Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP)
    Ron Simmons, PhD
    Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc.
    William Smith
    SIECUS
    Ron Stall, PhD, MPH
    University of Pittsburgh
    Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD
    Emory University
    Dana Van Gorder
    Project Inform
    Vallerie D. Wagner, MS
    AIDS Project Los Angeles
    Craig Washington, MSW
    AID Atlanta, Inc.
    Phill Wilson
    Black AIDS Institute
    A. Toni Young
    Community Education Group

    * Institutions are listed for identification only.

    Cc: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Health and Human Services

    Melody Barnes, Director, Domestic Policy Council

    Jeff Crowley, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy

    Helene Gayle, Chair, President's Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS

    1 The HIV transmission rate represents the amount of transmission that occurs annually in relation to the population infected with HIV (technically, this is HIV incidence divided by prevalence in a given year).




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