This week ADM Brett Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, announced the process the Department will use to develop the next editions of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (NVHAP), both of which expire in 2020.
For nearly a decade, we have relied on both of these national strategies to guide our fights against HIV and viral hepatitis. These strategies have fostered engagement of both federal and nonfederal partners, invigorated our work, and focused our efforts. We have made significant progress in both arenas, however, we have not met the goals of either strategy.
The approach for developing the next editions of each of these national strategies will be facilitated by the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy. We will ensure that they remain responsive to pressing challenges in HIV and viral hepatitis, are focused on the most effective and impactful actions, and are based on the latest and best scientific evidence.
In the interest of efficiency, we are developing the next editions of both national strategies at the same time and some activities—like gathering stakeholder input—will be done concurrently. However, like their predecessors, these national strategies will remain separate and distinct national strategies, one for HIV and one for viral hepatitis.
Community Input Is Key Part of Process
We know we must gather input from a wide variety of external stakeholders and engage the expertise and support of the full range of federal partners across multiple departments, agencies, and offices.
Community input will be integral to the development of both strategies, as it was in the development of the prior versions. We have convened several listening sessions and will continue to do so into early next year. In addition, we will soon publish a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register to solicit written comments, recommendations, and ideas on the next versions of both the NHAS and NVHAP.
All of the input gathered from the listening sessions and responses to the RFI will be shared with our federal partners who will be actively engaged in assessing our national progress to date, identifying current challenges and opportunities, and crafting the vision, goals, and strategies for our next national HIV and viral hepatitis strategies.
We invite you to follow our progress and join us in helping to develop the next versions of these two critical national public health strategies. Share your ideas at one of the upcoming listening sessions and/or send us your suggestions in response to the RFI. For details on these opportunities for stakeholder input, follow the blogs on HIV.gov and the HHS viral hepatitis website.
Everyone has a role to play in our national fights against HIV and viral hepatitis. Active engagement by a broad mix of stakeholders has been a great strength in making both the NHAS and the NVHAP national strategies, not merely federal strategies. The continued engagement of stakeholders like you is vital. We look forward to hearing your voice as this process unfolds in the months ahead.