PACHA Convenes, Discusses Plan to End the HIV Epidemic
The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) convened the 63rd full council meeting in Washington, DC, on March 14 and 15, 2019. PACHA provides advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective treatment, prevention, and cure of HIV disease and AIDS, including considering common co-morbidities of those infected with HIV as needed, to promote effective HIV prevention and treatment and quality services to persons living with HIV disease and AIDS. Read more about PACHA.
PACHA’s co-chairs, Carl Schmid, MBA, Deputy Executive Director of The AIDS Institute, and John Wiesman, DrPH, Secretary of Health at the Washington State Department of Health, began the meeting with enthusiastic remarks. The co-chairs indicated that they are honored to lead the Council and are looking forward to the important work ahead.
ADM Brett Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health, swore in nine new members and emphasized the important role of PACHA. He remarked, “We need PACHA’s input and recommendations on how to better reach those who need prevention and treatment, who are shut out by stigma, diagnostic complacency, homelessness, substance use disorders, mental illness, and lack of an accessible on-ramp into the health care system…We need PACHA’s input on how to truly make [Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America] a ‘whole-of-society’ effort, uniting federal, state, and community resources, patient advocacy groups, professional organizations, non-profit and faith-based organizations, and pharmaceutical, investment, and other commercial partners.”
Dr. Eugene McCray, Director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, then provided an overview of the HIV epidemic in America today. View Dr. McCray’s slides [PDF, 2.0MB].
Dr. McCray’s presentation provided a foundation for a discussion with key HHS leaders on Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, which has the bold goal of reducing new HIV infections by 75% in five years and 90% in 10 years. The discussion was led by several of the plan’s architects, including:
- ADM Brett Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health
- Anthony Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
- Robert R. Redfield, MD, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- George Sigounas, MS, PhD, Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration
- Michael D. Weahkee, RADM, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service
View the slides used in this presentation [PDF, 3.1MB].
HHS Secretary Alex Azar made a surprise visit and expressed his full support and commitment to the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. “I believe there has never been a more promising time to be engaged in addressing HIV in America. It is now a problem of execution, we have the tools in hand to end the epidemic,” he remarked.
Following the presentations and dialogue about the initiative, the Council developed, discussed, and unanimously voted in favor of a resolution in support of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. In the resolution, the Council pledged to support its development and implementation, ensure monitoring and accountability, and to ensure “that all key stakeholders, including people living with HIV, are included in the Plan’s development and implementation.” Read the full resolution [PDF, 76KB].
On the second day of the meeting, Dr. Tammy Beckham, Director of the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP), shared updates on the processes underway to develop the next iterations of the national HIV and viral hepatitis strategies and a new federal STD action plan. (View the slides from that presentation [PDF, 882KB].) Dr. Timothy Harrison, Senior Policy Advisor at OHAIDP, presented on the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund and explained how it will support the Plan.
The Council also heard public comments from community stakeholders and partners. Members closed out the meeting with a discussion on the Council’s subcommittees and next steps. For more information and for all of the latest updates about PACHA, please visit the PACHA page on HIV.gov.