The White House Office of National AIDS Policy today released its first comprehensive national strategy to address HIV and AIDS in the United States. The strategy galvanizes community and political support around a simple, compelling idea: dramatic gains fighting HIV/AIDS in the U.S. can be realized with bold federal leadership focused on achieving defined outcomes.
“The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur every person regardless of age, race, ethnicity, their sexual orientation or their social/economic status will have unfettered access to high-quality, life-extending care, free from stigma or discrimination,” says Jeffrey Crowley, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.
Locally, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta have worked on this issue for almost 30 years, providing leadership and distributing more than $11 million in grants to support HIV/AID-service organization in metro Atlanta. Recognizing that the issue needs more critical attention, the organizations launched the Atlanta AIDS Partnership with a vision of “A Community without AIDS: No New Cases.”
The Atlanta AIDS Partnership offers the promise of transforming the fight against AIDS through four areas of community action: (1) Faith-based involvement to replace a culture of silence with a culture of support; (2) Place-based strategies to help people directly and deeply with prevention and care; (3) Systems and capacity building to create a stable, comprehensive system of prevention and care; and (4) Policy development and advocacy to build the political and financial support needed to succeed.
“The agenda for the Atlanta AIDS Partnership seamlessly aligns with the vision and benchmarks outlined in the national strategy,” says Ray Knott, director of the Atlanta AIDS Partnership. “To accomplish our goal of ‘no new cases,’ we have engaged multiple levels of support and input – from highly-regarded nonprofits and faith-based groups to accomplished and nationally-recognized local leaders and advocates. To create the systems change needed to accomplish large gains in fighting the epidemic, it’s critical we have this collaborative approach.”
“Every community across the country has a stake in the national strategy’s success,” says Milton J. Little, Jr., president of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta and member of the Atlanta AIDS Partnership’s Leadership Team. “Our efforts to fully realize the strategy will rely on multiple stakeholders working together to address the root causes that impact progress against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. No single agency or decision-making body, public or private, can do it alone.”
HIV/AIDS remains an urgent public health concern in the U.S. and the metro Atlanta region. Every nine-and-a-half minutes, someone becomes infected with HIV in the United States. Recent estimates suggest that more than 32,000 Georgians currently live with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, HIV/AIDS cases in Georgia increased approximately 27 percent from 2004 to 2007, and two-thirds of these AIDS cases were diagnosed in metro Atlanta.
“The Community Foundation made our first grant addressing HIV and AIDS in 1981 to the Fulton County Health Department to support education around a new disease GRID – gay-related immune disease,” says Alicia Philipp, president of the Foundation. “Since that time, we have made more than $11 million in grants through the Atlanta AIDS Fund to support HIV/AIDS advocacy, prevention education and service. Yet we recognize the time is now to take this fight to the next level and bring both leadership and collaboration to the forefront.”
About the Atlanta AIDS Partnership
The Atlanta AIDS Partnership is leading the movement to create A Community without AIDS: No New Cases. The No New Cases campaign is a call to action for the entire Atlanta community. The campaign urges each person to take personal responsibility to Get Smart, Get Tested, Get Treatment and Get Involved.
To achieve this goal, the Atlanta AIDS Partnership focuses the attention and resources of our region’s leadership, both human and financial, on HIV/AIDS. With a large network of community partners, the Partnership serves as the planning and coordinating body for metropolitan Atlanta. Primary activities include engaging a nationally recognized, locally-based AIDS leadership team and leading a community-driven process to develop a 10-year action plan to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and to provide compassionate care for those affected.