AIDS policy director reflects on White House LGBT Conference on HIV/AIDSOnline Only Saturday, May 5th, 2012
Dr. Grant Colfax, the Director of the White House Office of National AIDS policy, posted a blog this week reflecting on last month’s White House LGBT Conference on HIV/AIDS.
Colfax writes that the conference, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia, was an opportunity for advocates, community members, government officials and those in the health care industry to learn more about how HIV/AIDS affects the LGBT community.
“There have been tremendous advances in HIV testing and treatment,” Colfax notes; “But there is still much work to do.” He explains that there are still nearly 50,000 new HIV infections annually across the nation – nearly two-thirds of which are among LGBT men. According to Colfax’s data, gay men are 44 times more likely to become infected with HIV than other male demographics throughout the country, and black men have the highest infection rates within the LGBT group.
At the Atlanta conference, discussion centered upon ground-level implementation of comprehensive strategies ranging from intervention discussion to data collection and assessment among LGBT populations to technical advancements and skill building.
“We are in a pivotal moment to change the course of this epidemic and realize the President’s vision…of reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities,” writes Colfax. He concluded by urging academic and community engagement as key factors to the successful implementation of the Obama administration’s HIV/AIDS Nation Strategy.
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