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White House Releases Underwhelming AIDS Strategy Report; Says It's "Monitoring" ADAP Crisis

April 11, 2010

Crowley said he was listening when the community spoke. Only time will tell.
Crowley said he was listening when the community spoke. Only time will tell.
In continuing with a steady flow of just-enough-news-to-keep-the-advocates-happy, the White House released a report summarizing the findings from 14 National HIV/AIDS Strategy community forums and hundreds of online comments. The report is supposed be taken into consideration during the creation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The White House released no new information about when the official National HIV/AIDS Strategy will be completed.

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:

  • Create a National Campaign to Increase Public Awareness and Prevention of HIV
  • Increase Prevention Efforts Among Youth
  • Routinize, Increase, and Improve Testing
  • Increase Access to Condoms
  • Eliminate the Ban on Federal Funding for Syringe Exchange
  • Increase Harm Reduction and Treatment Adherence Education
  • Improve and Expand Surveillance Data
  • Expand Support Services
  • Include Chronic Disease Management in Overall Health Care Delivery
  • Recognize and Treat Co-occurring Conditions
  • Increase the Number of HIV Care Providers and HIV/AIDS Education and Training
  • Expand Services to At-Risk Populations
  • Provide Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services and Interventions
  • Improve Availability of HIV-Related Services in Rural Areas and U.S. Territories

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.

ADAP Update

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.

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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.
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