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Worldwide, 33 million
people live with HIV.

White House unveils $30M national HIV/AIDS strategy

by Astrid Fiano , DOTmed News Writer
The White House presented the first formal national HIV/AIDS strategy on Tuesday. The project will receive $30 million in funding from the Affordable Care Act's Prevention Fund.

The strategy's focus is on three areas: reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV; increasing access to care and bettering health outcomes for people with HIV; and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

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An executive summary of the strategy explained the motivation: "Our nation is at a crossroads. We have the knowledge and tools needed to slow the spread of HIV infection and improve the health of people living with HIV. Despite this potential, however, the public's sense of urgency associated with combating the epidemic appears to be declining."

According to President Obama's memorandum on the strategy, the director of the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will set the administration's domestic HIV/AIDS priorities and monitor implementation of the strategy. Other lead responsible agencies are the Departments of Health and Human Services; Justice; Labor; Housing and Urban Development; Veterans Affairs; and the Social Security Administration. Within 150 days, the head of each lead agency will submit a report to ONAP and OMB on the agency's operational plans for implementing the strategy.

The strategy has a federal implementation plan with specific steps for federal agencies. These steps include:

Reducing new HIV Infections

--Intensifying HIV prevention efforts in communities most affected;

--Expanding targeted efforts in prevention with evidence-based approaches;

--Educating Americans about HIV and prevention.

Access to Care and Improving Health Outcomes

--Creating a system to swiftly link people to continuous and coordinated quality care following a diagnosis;

--Increasing the number and diversity of available providers of clinical care and related services for people living with HIV;

--Supporting people living with both HIV and co-occurring health conditions with meeting basic needs such as housing.

Reducing HIV-Related Health Disparities

--Reducing HIV-related mortality in communities at high risk for HIV infection;

--Adopting community-level approaches to reduce HIV infection in high-risk communities;

--Reducing the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.

Achieving a More Coordinated National Response to the HIV Epidemic

--Increasing the coordination of HIV programs across the federal government and between federal agencies and state, territorial, tribal, and local governments;

--Developing improved mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on progress on national goals.

"Countless Americans have devoted their lives to fighting the HIV epidemic and thanks to their tireless work we've made real inroads," President Obama stated in an accompanying letter. "Health care and other services providers have taught us how to provide quality services in diverse settings and develop medical homes for people with HIV. This moment represents an opportunity for the nation. Now is the time to build on and refocus our existing efforts to deliver better results for the American people."

More on the National Strategy can be found here: http://aids.gov/federal-resources/policies/national-hiv-aids-strategy/

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