- August 4, 2015
Post submitted by Marvell L. Terry II, HIV & AIDS Project Fellow
There was excitement in the air last Thursday as I attended the release of the updated National HIV & AIDS Strategy at the Morehouse School of Medicine. The room was filled with activists, community leaders, public health official, department heads from colleges and universities across the country.
The morning kicked off with opening remarks from Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, the president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, Douglas Brooks, director of the White Office of National AIDS Policy, and Pamela Roshell, regional director of region IV for the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Following remarks, President Obama delivered a video message emphasizing his continued commitment to realizing an AIDS-free generation.
Later in the day, I joined Gina Brown of the New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council; Gabriel Maldonado, founder and executive director of TruEvoltion; Channyn Park, of the TransLife Center Chicago House; and Robert Tolbert of Vocal NY in a discussion of how to implement the updated strategy in a way that considers the voices and unique needs of different communities that are affected by HIV. The panel concluded with a discussion of our hopes for the strategy, including a renewed commitment to finding a cure, more public education and access for PrEP and increased access to more patient-centered care.
The updated strategy is based on the acknowledgement that HIV and AIDS remain serious public health crises in the U.S., particularly among certain populations. Yet people who are HIV-positive and in care can lead long, healthy lives while also steps to minimize the chances of transmitting HIV to others.
Among the strategy’s goals for prevention and care are:
· Widespread testing and linkage to care, enabling people living with HIV to access treatment early.
· Broad support for people living with HIV to remain engaged in comprehensive care, including support for treatment adherence.
· Universal viral suppression among people living with HIV.
· Full access to comprehensive Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) services for those whom it is appropriate and desired, with support for medication adherence for those using PrEP.
HRC will continue to support the goals of the strategy through public education and outreach as well as federal and state advocacy. For example, through our #DailyBlue social media campaign, HRC has been working to increase awareness about and promote the use of PrEP). We’ve also released new publications, including “What Do I Do?” and Safer Sex, to provide more information about PrEP, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and understanding sexual health.
For more information on HRC’s work to fight HIV and AIDS, visit hrc.org/hiv.