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U.S. HIV/AIDS Community Reaction to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

On July 13, U.S. government officials formally unveiled the country's first national strategy for fighting HIV/AIDS within its borders. We reached out to the community to get your initial thoughts on this plan.

Here's what some of you said:

President Barack Obama

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Julie Davids Julie Davids, Co-Director, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), New York City/ Providence, RI

"The vision of HIV as something that is rare in our nation is truly compelling, and we believe it is eminently possible. Many of the specific points on prevention, such as the need to focus efforts in specific groups, conduct research on which combinations of interventions are the most promising, and looking at the impact of income insecurity on the epidemic, are laudable. But is this enough for the power of HIV prevention justice to resonate through the nation? It remains to be seen if the good intentions of the Strategy are achievable without additional resources. With the chronic underfunding of HIV prevention now also compounded by mounting state budget crises as well as the ranks of those unable to access treatment drastically increasing, it's hard to imagine implementation shooting forward without some more funds as part of the equation."

Charles King Charles King, President and CEO, Housing Works, New York City

"I am astonished that, after 15 months of intensive study by his administration, the president believes that the United States is only capable of reducing annual HIV infections by 25 percent. Would President Obama suggest that we only clean up 25 percent of the Gulf oil spill? Never. We have the prevention tools to dramatically reduce the spread of HIV if only we would dedicate the resources to doing so. This report does a disservice to America's young people and people of color, who are most at risk."

Tracie M. Gardner Tracie M. Gardner, Director, New York State Policy & Coordinator of WISH-NY (Women's Initiative to Stop HIV), New York City

"As someone who has been working on federal and New York State AIDS policy and funding issues since 1988, the new plan is long time coming and it is unbelievable that we have had to wait four federal administrations to see it. Some of this is long overdue coordination, but a sizeable amount of this implicates money and so that is what must be monitored. Where the money goes will speak volumes about the true commitment of the Administration's plan."

Daddy Dab Garner Daddy Dab Garner, Founder, CEO, Dab the AIDS Bear Project, Wilton Manors, FL

"I have mixed feelings. The release of the nation's first National AIDS Strategy is just the start. Many of these policies are not fully into effect until 2015. How will we make this strategy a reality that has value to the average person living with HIV now? With our current AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) crisis having over 2,300 individuals on waiting lists for HIV medications, it is very apparent that this goal will only be met with the significant introduction of new federal resources to meet the growing demand for HIV services.
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Carrie Amber Rheingans Carrie Amber Rheingans, Student, University of Michigan School of Public Health and School of Social Work, Youth Advocate, Campaign to End AIDS, Ann Arbor, Michigan

"The thing I have been thinking about the most since reading through the NHAS is the desire for community-level approaches, including social marketing campaigns, to reduce the number of new HIV infections. Both are very difficult to implement and evaluate and I'm wondering where the evidence base will come from for these new programs.
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Robert Breining Robert Breining, Founder, POZIAM Network, Levittown, PA

"I was excited to see the first ever National AIDS strategy be released in the United States. It showed a lot of promise for prevention and education of HIV/AIDS. But it lacked some concrete problem solving when it comes to those people who are actually living with HIV/AIDS today. I felt the delivery of the strategy was a bit robotic?it lacked a personal connection. They should have had someone living with HIV/AIDS share their story.
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Archbishop Joyce Turner Keller Archbishop Joyce Turner Keller, Founder/CEO, Aspirations, Baton Rouge, LA

"I am excited that the President addressed and worked with HIV/AIDS Organizations across the country to develop a National Strategy for HIV/AIDS. I am very disappointed that only $25,000,000.00 was appropriated for ADAP. This is a bandage or a temporary solution to a much larger financial crisis for those needing medications and treatment. It is my hope that President Obama and Congress find it in their hearts to truly address the needs of those of us living with HIV/AIDS; and provide adequate funding to ADAP and Ryan White. Please help me save my life."

Anthony Roberts, Jr. Anthony Roberts, Jr., National Youth Caucus Co-Chair, Campaign to End AIDS, Daytona Beach, FL

"As a person living without HIV, I am still a person affected by those that do. I applaud the President for taking a bold, yet strategic approach to HIV/AIDS by implementing a national strategy. I agree that we must also move away from thinking that one approach to HIV prevention will work. The strategy also outlines the 19 billion annually spent on HIV prevention, care and research. However, with no increase of funding in sight, the plan gives some great "ideas" that without the financial backing, I'm not sure if they can be accomplished.
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Caroline Masanje (San Liendro) Sat., May. 28, 2011 at 3:29 am EDT
Better late than never. Addressing the issue of AIDS has been so marred by the stigma attached to the disease that only one, who has been at the grassroots, (community organizing, like President Obama) can see the necessity for putting forth a national policy that has the input of social organizations that have been dealing with the disease in isolation.
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