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First Comprehensive U.S. HIV/AIDS Strategy To Draw On Lessons From PEPFAR

President Barack Obama plans to “unveil the first formal national HIV/AIDS strategy on Tuesday, a plan that aims to reduce the number of new cases [in the U.S.] by 25 percent in the next five years, officials said,” the Washington Post reports.

The new HIV/AIDS policy, as outlined in a 60-page report, directs more resources to “populations at highest risk” of HIV transmission and “calls for increasing patients’ access to care so that 85 percent of those infected will receive care within three months of being diagnosed, compared with 65 percent who do so now,” the newspaper writes (Kornblut, 7/13). 

The Associated Press: “The strategy also aims to copy some of the steps credited with spurring the success of a Bush-era policy to fight AIDS in hard-hit developing countries. That includes setting specific targets and mandating coordination among different government agencies to guard against missed steps and wasted, duplicated efforts” (Pace, 7/12).

“Washington spends more than $19 billion on domestic programs targeting HIV/AIDS, up from nearly $16 billion five years ago, according to data (.pdf) analyzed by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “The nation spends an additional $6.5 billion supporting efforts to control the disease globally, more than double the total from 2006. That reflects in part efforts by the George W. Bush administration to step up global aid” (Levey, 7/13).

“While acknowledging that ‘increased investments in certain key areas are warranted,’” a final draft of the report obtained by the New York Times “does not propose a major increase in federal spending,” the newspaper writes. However, the report “says the administration will redirect money to areas with the greatest need and population groups at greatest risk, including gay and bisexual men and African-Americans.”

In the draft of the report, “Obama offers a compliment to President George W. Bush, who made progress against AIDS in Africa by setting clear goals and holding people accountable,” the newspaper continues. “The program begun by Mr. Bush, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, [PEPFAR] ‘has taught us valuable lessons about fighting H.I.V. and scaling up efforts around the world that can be applied to the domestic epidemic,’ the report says” (Pear, 7/11).