PACHA Meeting Focuses on Community Efforts to End the Epidemic in Los Angeles County and More
The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) convened its 74th full council meeting in Los Angeles, California, and online on September 19 and 20, 2022. The two-day meeting was held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center on the campus of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles and included a “PACHA-to-the-People” community engagement listening session.
Spotlight on Ending the HIV Epidemic in Los Angeles
Los Angeles County, with an estimated 57,000 people with HIV, is one of the 57 jurisdictions prioritized in the HHS-led Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative. Mario J. Pérez, MPH, Director of the Division of HIV and STD Programs at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and a former PACHA member, provided a thoughtful overview the epidemiology of HIV in Los Angeles County and efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the nation’s most populous county. Among the things he highlighted were the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV testing, the prevalence of methamphetamine use among populations at risk of HIV, the syndemic of HIV and STIs in the county, the county’s PrEP centers of excellence program, and the urgent need for a long-range plan for HIV workforce development.
Complementing his presentation, a panel of Los Angeles-area service providers highlighted their approaches to responding to distinct HIV needs in their communities, spanning housing, substance use disorder treatment, the wellbeing of the HIV workforce and the need for a stronger workforce pipeline, how navigators support HIV services, and more.
In addition, PACHA members and federal partners, including representatives from CDC, HHS, NIH, and SAMHSA, visited three community-based organizations involved in ending the HIV epidemic in Los Angeles County. They were welcomed by staff, volunteers, and clients and learned about the services provided and heard insights into what makes each organization’s work successful with the populations they serve. The sites were: REACH LAExit Disclaimer, Trans Wellness CenterExit Disclaimer, and BienestarExit Disclaimer.
Another highlight of the meeting was an afternoon community engagement session devoted to hearing ideas, concerns, and recommendations directly from members of the Los Angeles community. More than a dozen people shared their thoughts with PACHA on a wide variety of topics, including the need for greater awareness of PrEP among women and people in non-urban areas, a call for more attention to retention in PrEP services, the value of community health workers focused on HIV services in substance abuse treatment and recovery settings, the importance of more attention to the intersection of HIV and aging, and the need for greater flexibility in use of federal HIV funds so transportation, housing, and other client needs can also be addressed. We are grateful to the community members who came out to share their ideas. Hearing from the lived experience of so many community members was very valuable to the PACHA members and federal staff participating.
Monkeypox, ONAP Update, Older Adults with HIV, and More
The meeting also included:
- An update from Harold Phillips, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, who highlighted the recent release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s (NHAS) Federal Implementation Plan and called for nonfederal stakeholders to engage in their own complementary efforts to implement the NHAS.
- A monkeypox update from Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Coordinator of the National Monkeypox Response, who emphasized that the current monkeypox outbreak is part of a syndemic, that includes HIV and STI. He pointed to new CDC analysis of eight U.S. jurisdictions that found that among people with monkeypox 38% had HIV infection, and 41% had an STI in the preceding year, making the provision of MPX vaccination or treatment services an opportunity to also provide HIV testing and linkage to PrEP or care and treatment.
- An update from PEPFAR by the State Department’s Catherine Godfrey, MD, who shared PEPFAR’s latest results, discussed PEPFAR’s work to sustain HIV gains while also supporting the response to COVID-19, and detailed PEPFAR’s strategic vision.
- A discussion by four panelists offering perspectives on older adults with HIV and long-term survivors that highlighted a range of issues, including concerns about the lack of a comprehensive care model for people aging with HIV who experience multiple co-morbidities and that includes mental health services; the need to consider the broader range of issues that people aging with HIV experience such as housing challenges, financial security, or end of life challenges; the need for prevention services for older adults since 23% of new HIV diagnoses in 2020 in the U.S. were among people age 45 and older; current efforts in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to address HIV and aging; and the importance of having HIV representatives engaged in state planning for aging services.
Finally, the council discussed, revised, and voted to approve a recommendation statement (PDF, 94 KB) about the current Food and Drug Administration blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men.
View video of these sessions, access the PowerPoint presentations, and read the meeting summary on HIV.gov’s Prior PACHA Meetings page.
Next PACHA Meeting
The Council will convene again on October 17, 2022, from 12:00 – 2:00 PM (ET) to hear public comment and discuss and vote on recommendations pertaining to Molecular HIV Surveillance and Cluster Detection and Response. Read the Federal Register Notice. Watch for details on the About PACHA page on HIV.gov.