Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) director Tammy Beckham, DVM, PhD, delivered the keynote remarks at “Ending HIV in America: Insights from the Frontlines.” The event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) on September 24, provided an overview of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) and the ongoing activities Dr. Beckham’s office coordinates as part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
At the event, the BPC released its new Ending HIV in America report, which examines the challenges and opportunities for federal, state, and local action to improve the effectiveness of the public health response to HIV. Both the report and discussion at the event offered policy considerations on how to achieve EHE’s goal of reducing HIV infections by 75 percent in five years and 90 percent in 10 years.
Now is the time to pursue these ambitious goals as we have the right data, the right tools and the right leadership. Dr. Beckham highlighted a number of activities initiated in Fiscal Year 2019 to help lay the groundwork for full implementation of EHE in FY20, pending congressional approval of the requested funds.
She pointed to allocation of resources, from the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund (MHAF) to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grants to support jurisdictions in developing their EHE plans. MHAF also provided resources to three “jumpstart” sites, as well as, to the Cherokee Nation, to provide early best practices in developing innovative approaches addressing the initiative’s four pillars as lessons for the other jurisdictions.
Dr. Beckham and other HHS leaders and staff have shared information and listened to stakeholder feedback in a variety of forums at similar events around the country. To date, they have visited 70 percent of the 50 jurisdictions and all seven of the states with a high proportion of HIV in rural areas prioritized in Phase One of the initiative.