Update: President Donald J. Trump did not fill the position of White House Director of National HIV/AIDS Policy in 2017, in effect allowing that office to die. Adding insult to injury, at the end of December, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (on which two current Beyond AIDS Board members have served in the past) was disbanded by firing all of its members. Clearly, Trump does not consider HIV/AIDS to be an issue worthy of presidential attention, as did every other President since 1995.
On December 13, 2013, Dr. Grant Colfax, White House Director of National HIV/AIDS Policy (ONAP, a part of the Domestic Planning Council), met with a 7-member Beyond AIDS delegation. The discussion took place at UCLA, immediately after Dr. Colfax delivered a lecture there on "National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the HIV Care Continuum Initiative. Dr. Colfax was the third ONAP Director to have met with Beyond AIDS, over the course of two Presidential Administrations. UCLA Professor Jeffrey Klausner, who was a former colleague of Colfax when they both worked at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, arranged the session.
|ONAP Director Colfax lecturing at UCLA|
The delegation members provided an introduction to the past accomplishments and future goals of Beyond AIDS, as well as individual introductions. Beyond AIDS expressed support for the President's HIV Care Continuum Initiative, which Dr. Colfax had developed for President Obama and which was issued in July 2013. The delegation also offered to help keep public discussion on national HIV/AIDS strategy focused on the HIV Continuum of Care.
|Hattis presents papers to Colfax|
Dr. Colfax reiterated some of the epidemiological points he had expressed in his lecture, including the 9 current goals of the Initiative, noting that the key risk groups continue to be similar to ten years ago: young gay males, blacks, Latinos, and transgender females. The discussion included the recent focus on interrupting transmission, as can be achieved through effective treatment that suppresses the virus. Ron Hattis presented a collection of Beyond AIDS policy drafts and PowerPoint presentation files for Colfax's review.
Jean Davis described the gaps in training of providers and other leaders, left by reduced funding of AIDS Education Training Centers. Gary Richwald brought up linkages of treatment and prevention.
|(Clockwise around table, from front) Jean Davis, Peggy Flanary, |
Grant Colfax, Gary Richwald, Dennis Thompson
|Grant Colfax, center, makes a point to delegation members (clockwise around table, from |
front) Jeffrey Klausner, Peggy Flanary, Gary Richwald, Dennis Thompson, and Leith States
|Delegation with ONAP Director: (left to right) Jeffrey Klausner, Jean Davis, Ron Hattis, |
Grant Colfax, Dennis Thompson, Gary Richwald, Leith States, and Peggy Flanary