White House to Hold a National HIV/AIDS Community Discussion in San Francisco

Community conversations will support the development of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Bay Area residents will have an opportunity to contribute to the creation of a long-awaited National HIV/AIDS Strategy when the White House hosts a community discussion in San Francisco on Friday, Oct. 16.

The San Francisco meeting is one of a series of events to be held across the country this year by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) in an effort to fulfill President Obama's pledge to develop a plan for stopping the spread of HIV in the United States and improving the health of people living with HIV/AIDS.

"The President recognizes that HIV and AIDS remain a serious challenge to the American people," said Jeffrey S. Crowley, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. "Our office has been tasked with developing an effective and comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and we are proceeding towards that goal. Through these Community Discussions -- like the one being held in San Francisco -- we will be able to hear directly from the public on what they think the National Strategy should look like. We encourage all interested parties to participate, and if they can't make it to the event, they should know that they can always submit comments through our website."

With more than 56,000 new HIV infections occurring in the United States each year, the president has said that we must re-focus national attention on the domestic epidemic. He has articulated three goals for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

“I applaud President Obama’s commitment to addressing the nation’s HIV epidemic and hope a diverse array of Bay Area voices will contribute to this conversation,” said Mark Cloutier, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “As a longtime leader in the fight against AIDS, the Bay Area has an important role to play in crafting a successful strategy that will accomplish the president’s goals.”

The Oct. 16 event builds on progress made at a roundtable convened last May by the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Project Inform, Stop AIDS Project and Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center.

Community discussions are also being held in the cities of Albuquerque, N.M.; Atlanta, Columbia, S.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Houston, Jackson, Miss.; Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland (Nov. 1), and Washington as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In addition to obtaining input from the community discussions, the White House will also consider recommendations by the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) and public comments submitted to the ONAP website in developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Following are details about the San Francisco meeting:

When: Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF - Robertson Auditorium
1675 Owens Street
San Francisco, CA 94143-3008
Phone: (888) 431-UCSF (8273) 

Website: http://www.ahl-missionbay.com/

Contact: Debra Holtz, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, (415) 487-3071.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation provides leadership to prevent new HIV infections. Linking community experience with science, the Foundation develops ground-breaking prevention programs and bold policy initiatives to promote health and create sustainable progress against HIV. Established in 1982, the Foundation refuses to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable.

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