The following is a statement from the National Minority AIDS Council’s Executive Director Paul Kawata:
Washington, DC – “The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) applauds President Obama’s appointment of Dr. Grant Colfax to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). This position is critical to ensuring a coordinated national response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and played a central role in developing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy under his predecessor. Dr. Colfax will be tasked with carrying forward this important work by ensuring that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is implemented in a way that is responsive to the needs of individuals living with HIV or AIDS, including a robust Essential Health Benefits package, while also encouraging the employment of new biomedical interventions like treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis.
“As Director of HIV Prevention and Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s AIDS Office, Dr. Colfax has served on the front lines of the battle against this epidemic. His experience working with highly vulnerable populations such as gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) as well as transgender populations will prove critical in ensuring that appropriate resources are directed to those communities most severely impacted by this epidemic. His thorough understanding of the correlation between substance abuse and HIV infection will also prove vital in our efforts to repeal the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange, which was reinstated by Congress in December.
“Over the last year, policy and science have aligned like never before, providing the HIV/AIDS community with a clear path forward to ending the epidemic. ONAP has historically been a critical partner in this struggle, regularly engaging the community and individuals living with HIV or AIDS in developing policies and strategies to achieve this goal. As we work to ensure full implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the ACA and fight to realize our mission of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America and mitigating its disproportionate impact on communities of color, we look forward to continued collaboration with ONAP under Dr. Colfax and hope that he will demonstrate a similar commitment to putting an end to this epidemic once and for all.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333