ONAP Starts Strategy Implementation Tour in the South

By jschneidewind on October 6, 2011 in National HIV/AIDS Strategy

by Kathie Hiers, CEO, AIDS Alabama

AIDS United Policy Partner and  Southern REACH Grantee

On September 27th, 2011, the White House Office of National AIDS policy (ONAP) kicked off its tour of five cities in Birmingham, Alabama.  The tour’s purpose is to both disseminate and gather data around the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which was released in July 2010.  The ONAP staff, including Director Jeffrey Crowley, will explore different topics in each city on the tour.

Nearly 300 people attended the Birmingham meeting, where the topic was on “Incorporating Prevention and Care Research into Programs.”

Dr. Carol Garrison, President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), offered welcoming remarks.  The Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Howard Koh, MD, MPH, then presented an update of progress toward the goals of the NHAS.

Promising biomedical findings

Dr. Michael Mugavero of UAB briefly recapped the groundbreaking research that has occurred in various biomedical interventions.  Of particular note was the HPTN 052 study, the hottest topic in the HIV arena, which is shifting the way providers think about HIV treatment.  The HPTN 052 study strongly suggests that antiretroviral therapy (ART) may make HIV-positive persons less contagious.  In serodiscordant couples, transmission was reduced by 96% for the arm of the study in which the HIV-positive person in the couple started ART early as appropriate.  Dr. Mugavero also highlighted the Gardner Cascade, published in 2009, which indicates that only 19% of the country’s HIV-positive population has suppressed viral loads. He was clear this low number indicates that other social determinants of health must be addressed through continued provision of supportive services and housing, as these services are critical to successful medical outcomes.

Get involved!

Participation in the tour is a real opportunity to provide input or ask questions about the topic of the gathering.  Plan your question or comment in advance, make it short and sweet, and stick to the topic at hand!

View the schedule of all the dialogues and register for one of the events.

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