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posted Friday, July 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 28
Feds issue update on National AIDS Strategy
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Feds issue update on National AIDS Strategy

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

One year after President Obama announced a comprehensive National AIDS Strategy, the federal government issued an implantation update documenting 'key first-year achievements.'

The report, issued by the Office of National AIDS Policy attached to the White House, was released July 14.

Director Jeffrey Crowley noted the three strategic goals set out by the president last year:

o reduce the number of new HIV infections,

o increase access to care and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV, and

o reduce HIV-related health disparities.

According to the report, the Obama administration has made new investments in priority HIV/AIDS-related activities.

These initiatives have included the Enhanced Community HIV Prevention Planning (ECHPP) initiative, along with increased investment in HIV tracking. The goal is to give all state and local jurisdictions the capacity to track community viral load, an important tool for monitoring changes in the numbers of new HIV infections.

The Department of Housing and Human Services (HHS) has improved its tracking of HIV spending across federal agencies on the basis of key demographics such as race or ethnicity, gender, and HIV risk factors.

This will provide a baseline for targeting resources to the populations at greatest risk, while ensuring that key populations receive resources proportional to their share of HIV/AIDS cases.

New programs are also being established targeting high-risk populations including - for the first time - men who have sex with men, as well as communities of color.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) has recruited eight new service units to the National Expanded HIV Testing Initiative, which allocates funding to participating sites.

HIS will match collaborators with resources to enhance knowledge of HIV status in their target population across new geographic areas of the United States. This brings the total number of participating sites to 46 (27 federal, 15 urban, and four tribal sites).

The CDC and HUD committed to take steps in 2011 to update their funding formulas to award funding on the basis of actual 'living' HIV/AIDS cases. Previously, funds were allocated using cumulative AIDS cases or historical funding precedents. HUD will develop a legislative proposal before the end of this year to put this change into effect.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a fourth-generation HIV diagnostic test that allows for earlier detection of HIV. The new test is also the first approved for use in children as young as two years of age, and by pregnant women.

The FDA has also approved a new HIV test that provides results in as little as 60 seconds.

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has launched a program to fast-track investigations of employment discrimination complaints based on HIV/AIDS status.

The Justice Department said it will continue to solicit and prioritize HIV-discrimination complaints. DOJ currently has 11 active investigations, many opened as a result of their active outreach efforts.

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) formalized a system to track and ensure accountability of clinical HIV treatment interventions for federal prisoners, and issued updated BOP HIV Clinical Practice Guidelines in June, 2011.

During fiscal year 2011, the Obama administration increased funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) by $50 million over the 2010 enacted level, as well as increasing HIV prevention funding at the CDC.

This was done even though other parts of the CDC faced funding cuts.

The administration was also successful in defeating legislative policy riders barring Federal and D.C. funds from being used for needle exchange programs. These were proposed, but were not included in fiscal year 2011 spending bills.

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