PACHA Hears from Community Members, Gets Update on National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Considers Ways to Scale Up PrEP, and More
The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) held its 73rd full council meeting virtually on March 14 and 15, 2022. Videos and slide presentations from that meeting are now available.
The PACHA meeting included:
- Welcome remarks from ADM Rachel Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
- Remarks by Mr. Harold Phillips, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy on implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy;
- Subcommittee and workgroup reports;
- A PACHA-to-the-People community engagement session;
- Discussion of the PEPFAR guidance to countries for 2022 with Mr. Jirair Ratevosian, Senior Advisor in the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy, Department of State;
- A panel discussion on why representation matters in the response to HIV among women and girls;
- A panel discussion on strengthening the HIV workforce;
- A panel discussion on providing PrEP to the nation; and
- Public comments.
ADM Rachel Levine, MD, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, shared several updates on HIV-related activities being led by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. She highlighted work to support the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy in developing the Federal Implementation Plan for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy as well as efforts to produce federal implementation plans for the HHS-led STI National Strategic Plan and Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan. She reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative, remarking that it is now a key part of HHS’s efforts to implement the NHAS. She also discussed steps taken in recent months to support gender-affirming care and services for transgender care and reinforced that transgender and gender-diverse youth and their families have the right to access this medically necessary treatment.
Harold J. Phillips, MRP, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), shared an update on implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). He highlighted work underway by federal departments to prepare action items that will be compiled into the NHAS Federal Implementation Plan. He shared that ONAP is also working with federal partners to develop a new NHAS indicator on quality of life among people with HIV, having recently convened a community listening session to inform the process. Director Phillips also explained that his office is collaborating with and contributing to several other White House initiatives that intersect with and can help achieve the goals of the NHAS. These include the National Drug Control Strategy being finalized by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, an emerging LGBTQI+ aging strategy being developed within the Domestic Policy Council, and work to implement President Biden’s Unity Agenda with a particular focus on the mental health component’s intersection with HIV prevention and care.
A significant portion of the first meeting day was dedicated to a PACHA-to-the-People interactive community engagement session during which community members provided feedback and suggestions in breakout sessions focusing on two main topics: HIV prevention and the implementation of both the NHAS and the EHE initiative. The conversations in each breakout were rich and robust, providing the Council with diverse opinions and ideas.
The second day of the meeting featured a discussion about PEPFAR’s 2022 Country/Regional Operational Guidance, a panel discussion about why representation matters in in the response to HIV among women and girls, a panel discussion on strengthening the HIV workforce, and a panel discussion about providing PrEP for the nation. The Council also heard public comments from community stakeholders and partners. Members closed out the meeting with a discussion of a draft letter to the HHS Secretary with the Council’s recommendations for scaling-up PrEP uptake nationwide. Following their discussion and revisions to the letter, they voted in favor of the recommendations and advancing the letter to the HHS Secretary (PDF 311 KB). PACHA leadership is reviewing the information gathered during the “PACHA-to-the-People” community engagement session and meeting’s several panel presentations to help inform the Council’s next steps. Please visit HIV.gov’s About PACHA page for updates about future meetings and PACHA activity.