Domestic PEPFAR Program Would Increase Coordination, Improve AIDS Response In U.S.

“Urban America continues to suffer high rates of HIV despite successes of antiretroviral treatment that can suppress the virus, decrease transmission, prevent progression to AIDS, and lower death rates,” Gregory Pappas, senior deputy director of the Washington, D.C., Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA), writes in a Washington Blade opinion piece. “The global U.S. response known as the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) succeeded by enhancing funding, coordinating government efforts and working across jurisdictions,” he states, adding, “A domestic PEPFAR would emphasize enhanced spending, promote regional data, and plan and coordinate services regionally.”

“Our health departments are burdened with managing and reporting on upwards of a dozen federal grants with overlapping grant periods and duplicative requirements that could be greatly simplified if the federal government worked in a more coordinated fashion,” he writes, adding, “Better coordination with the federal government will increase efficiencies.” He concludes, “The president can use the international stage of AIDS 2012 as the opportunity to announce a domestic PEPFAR for urban America starting in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. By this initiative, the leadership he brought with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy can take the next step in ending the domestic epidemic” (7/18).