White House Releases Underwhelming AIDS Strategy Report; Says It's "Monitoring" ADAP Crisis
April 11, 2010
Advocates were once again underwhelmed by the lack of new information released about the actual National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
"It's great they're continuing to keep us updated. Hopefully next time we'll have more information to work with and see if community input is really being taken into effect," said Housing Works Vice President of Advocacy and Organizing Christine Campbell.
According to Office of National AIDS Policy Director Jeff Crowley, who spoke on the conference call, yet another summary of community feedback will be coming soon from Department of Health and Human Services, which held its own forums. He described it as "very different" from the ONAP report.
While today's report wasn't groundbreaking, ONAP Policy Director Greg Millett promised the real national strategy plan will have teeth. "The thing that distinguishes [this National HIV/AIDS Strategy] from other mechanisms is that this is coming straight from the White House and straight from the President," Millett said, in a half-hour conference call about the report's findings today.
The report was drawn from a total of 1,089 submissions, including 719 from the ONAP website. According to the report, 4,285 people attended the community discussions. Almost half of those people, approximately 1,875, were from the meeting in Atlanta at the CDC HIV Prevention conference.
The actual completed National HIV/AIDS Strategy will be created by a taskforce of government employees at a date to be announced.
In the White House report released today, the themes that emerged were:
All of these objectives will not all appear in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, according to Millett. "To be effective, the strategy must include a small number of high payoff items that will address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. Nevertheless, we intend for this community report to provide a baseline for the status of the domestic epidemic and serve as a planning tool and resource for Federal, State and local agencies," Millett wrote in a blog post.
In addition, Crowley gave a nonanswer to an audience question by Dab Garner asking if Obama will approve $126 million in emergency funding to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
"We're aware and monitoring the growing challenge of ADAP," Crowley said. "As we see pressures arise at the state level, we're definitely monitoring the situation."
According to a report released by the National Association of State & Territorial AIDS Directors today, the number of people on ADAP waiting lists has risen to 859 people in 10 states.
This article was provided by Housing Works. It is a part of the publication Housing Works AIDS Issues Update. Visit Housing Works' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.