President Joe Biden (D) issued a statement on the anniversary of the HIV / AIDS epidemic, recognized when the first cases of AIDS were documented 40 years ago on June 5, 1981. In his statement, he acknowledged the “tireless dedication of activists, researchers and medical professionals ”who have faced“ years of neglect, discrimination, incitement to fear and limited action by civil servants and the public ”.
In light of this, the Biden administration also announced its appointment as the new director of the National AIDS Office at the White House, Dr. Harold Phillips.
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Forty years ago, doctors noted that five gay men in California ̵
Today, while significant progress has been made in the fight against AIDS and the viruses now known as HIV, the epidemic remains.
Biden’s statement acknowledges the sacrifice, struggle and marginalization that people have faced in the fight against HIV.
“Today, forty years ago, five young people in Los Angeles were confirmed as the first known patients to be affected by a disease that the world would later recognize as AIDS,” Biden said.
“Over the past decades, more than 700,000 Americans and 32.7 million people worldwide have been lost to AIDS – a heartbreaking human victim that disproportionately devastates LGBTQ + communities, color communities and underserved and marginalized people around the world.” he said.
Still, “America has become a leading force in the fight to end the HIV crisis,” he added.
Biden emphasized his vision for a more rigorous and resourceful approach to the epidemic than his predecessors, hoping to significantly reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS deaths through the Presidential Emergency Aid Plan (PEPFAR).
As stated in the Biden administration’s budget proposal for fiscal 2022, which begins next month, Biden wants to provide an additional $ 267 million for the “End the HIV Epidemic” program, which would be its first increase – and by nearly 40 the percentage of what the Trump administration allocated for the program they started in 2019.
“Investing in public health” is a key component of Biden’s budget proposal, and the Office of Management and Budget sent a note to Congress outlining the possible proposal, confirming that the White House “is committed to ending the HIV / AIDS epidemic.”
Biden also said in a statement that the US rescue plan included at least $ 250 million that would go “to address the impact of COVID-19 on our progress in the fight against HIV.”
President Biden said: “Overall, these efforts are estimated to have saved more than 20 million lives worldwide.”
On the 40th anniversary of the HIV / AIDS epidemic, we remember the lives interrupted by this terrible disease and celebrate the resilience and dignity of people living with HIV. Let us continue to eradicate the stigma faced by too many people – and work to end this epidemic once and for all.
– President Biden (@POTUS) June 5, 2021
Biden’s proposed PEPFAR plan will focus on funding government initiatives that “aggressively reduce new HIV cases” with tactics such as “increasing access to treatment, expanding the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and ensuring equal access to services.” free from stigma and discrimination. ”
“Despite the progress made, our work is not yet complete. In honor of all those we have lost and all those living with the virus – and the selfless caregivers, advocates and loved ones who have helped bear the brunt of this crisis – we must recommit ourselves to reducing HIV infections and deaths, related to AIDS, ”Biden said.
“We must continue to enable researchers, scientists and health care providers to ensure equal access to prevention, care and treatment in every community – especially for color communities and the LGBTQ + community,” he added.
To lead these efforts, President Biden appointed Harold Phillips as director of the White House’s National AIDS Office, the first appointment since the Obama administration.
When Trump took office in 2017, his administration did not continue the office or consult with employees, something that any other administration has continued since the establishment of the office by President Bill Clinton (D). The national AIDS policy website was taken down and received no instructions after the last director, Dr. Amy Lansky, left the office just before Trump’s inauguration.
This was not the only refusal by the Trump administration to respond to the HIV / AIDS epidemic. By December, many of the 16 members of the separate presidential advisory council on HIV / AIDS had resigned, and then Trump fired the others without cause or replacement. His administration will replace them by 2019.
The Office and its Director had previously reported to the President within the Internal Policy Council. The Home Affairs Council is chaired by former Ambassador Susan Rice.
Phillips previously worked as a senior adviser at the Office of Infectious Diseases and HIV / AIDS Policy (OIDP), which is part of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (HHS). He was also the Director of the HIV / AIDS Capacity Training and Development Service (OTCD) in the Office of HIV / AIDS of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The president also announced the appointment of Harold Phillips as director of WH’s National AIDS Policy Office. Phillips will lead the Biden-Harris administration’s work to end the HIV / AIDS epidemic “through renewed national programs and support for global initiatives.”
– Reggie Greer (@ ReggieGreer46) June 5, 2021
I am pleased to welcome Harold Phillips, who heads the National AIDS Office at the White House.
Harold has decades of experience in the fight against HIV / AIDS, and we are happy to get him to lead the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to defeat this epidemic.
– Susan Rice (@ AmbRice46) June 5, 2021
Thanks to the tireless work of scientists and the fierce advocacy of countless people, we have changed the situation.
Now @POTUS has called on the nation to commit to ending HIV / AIDS once and for all. I know that Harold and ONAP will contribute to this effort.
– Susan Rice (@ AmbRice46) June 5, 2021
Congratulations to Harold Phillips, newly appointed director of the White House National Policy Office.
I am grateful that, under the leadership of Phillips, the United States will have a long overdue, well-funded initiative to stop HIV once and for all.
– Alfonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) June 5, 2021