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A REPORT ON THIS WEEK’S PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HIV/AIDS SUMMIT IN D.C.

Posted by Tim Murphy , September 19, 2013

A REPORT ON THIS WEEK’S PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HIV/AIDS SUMMIT IN D.C.

PACHA members gather last year. Yes, that’s Rosie Perez on the front left. Mookie!

Christine Campbell, Housing Works’ vice president for national advocacy and organizing, attended this week’s meeting of the the 52nd Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in D.C. Here’s her report:

The 52nd Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS met on September 18th and 19th. Wednesday’s agenda opened with the release of a PACHA report entitled Achieving an AIDS Free Generation (not yet posted on AIDS.gov) and introducing the newest PACHA members: Cecila Chung, Dr. Alton Pollard, Elizabeth Stiffey and Dr. Ada Adimora.

This was followed by four panels discussions:

>Federal Perspectives on Ryan White

>Ryan White History and Perspective – Where we Started, Where We Are Now and Where are we Going

>ACA and Ryan White – Meeting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy form the State HIV/AIDS Administrator and Health Provider Perspective

>Looking Ahead.

PACHA members began a discussion on how to address some of the regional disparities when it comes to funding allocation. They discussed how, on one hand, some of the social and cultural drivers such as poverty and the political landscape may mean that allocating funding in that direction may not immediately have the desired impact. That’s given how some of the states, especially in the deep south, currently address marginalized populations.

Yet on the other hand, working with people on the ground in these states on developing solutions would greatly impact the effectiveness of improved resource allocations. For instance, the success of some of the CAPUS grants (Care and Prevention in the United States), which are part of HHS’s Minority AID Initiative, show that directing money in these areas with specific goals can have a positive impact on the region.

Much more production discussion and strategizing is needed, and PACHA expressed some urgency in moving forward.

Thursday’s agenda included the panel on Black Men who have sex with men (BMSM), updating PACHA on some of the research and efforts happening on the federal level in addressing the severe epidemic in the BMSM community. The panel encouraged leaders to act with urgency and implement the recommendations that have come out of the various consultations on this issue, including targeting resources to this part of our community.

Here are Christine Campbell’s comments to PACHA:

My name is Christine Campbell. I serve as the Vice President of National Advocacy and Organizing for Housing Works. Today I would like to speak to you regarding the importance of taking a creative look at our continued use of Ryan White dollars as we look at the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and how we as a nation address ending the epidemic.

Thank you all for your very informative sessions and conversations yesterday and today. I think that we all agree that there will be continued need for Ryan White, and how we can use these resources to improve the treatment cascade. I also acknowledge that we have some common goals. We would all like to ensure that funds are distributed in a fair manner and address the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. We would all like to ensure that those areas that have historically been underrepresented in fund distribution receive their fair share. We would all like to ensure that those areas which have built solid infrastructures with a combination of local and federal dollars do not get penalized for their ingenuity. Further, I think we would all agree that while we do not want to see local governments that ignore their constituents’ needs rewarded for opting out of strategies that would meet their citizens’ needs, we also cannot allow the people in these jurisdictions to suffer for their governments’ short-sightedness.

I am proud to be Co-Chairing the Ryan White Visioning Sub Committee with Ernest Hopkins for the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership. It is through this group that we hope to really push the discussion of what will be the most effective use of Ryan White. Just as we are at a pivotal time in the epidemic, we are also at a pivotal time as a community. We have an opportunity to really think and strategize how we can really end the epidemic in the US.

I ask that PACHA support updating the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reflect new realities. We have the research demonstrating how we can direct our resources to end AIDS; we need to encourage more robust collaboration between federal agencies beyond HHS. While fully recognizing the severity of the epidemic among black MSM and the need for targeted interventions to address this part of our community, we must also recognize the research that has come to light and update the plan to meaningfully include housing as both treatment and prevention as well as a proportionate allocation of effort and resources to women and youth. While I understand that the Federal administration cannot direct or require the states to do anything, it can provide a stronger framework to address the epidemics in their states, and resources can be directed based on regional strategies. This will give advocates critical tools to push states to develop plans to end the epidemic in their jurisdictions.

The solutions for ending the epidemic in the US will be much broader than the NHAS, Ryan White, HOPWA, or any of the other AIDS specific tools and interventions. We must address the structural drivers that allow the epidemic to thrive. We can however strengthen and (re)design the tools we have such that they serve as a roadmap to an AIDS-free generation, and move us purposefully towards our goal of ending AIDS.

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