Obama Administration panel focuses on HIV/AIDS strategy

We’ve talked a lot about what the LGBT community can do around health care and HIV/AIDS at Creating Change this year. But to end the epidemic and improve the overall health of the community we need to work together. So we were thrilled to host representatives from the Obama Administration and federal government to talk about the LGBT community and HIV/AIDS.

During a panel on Friday representatives from the White House, Department of Labor, and Centers for Disease Control came together to talk discuss what the federal government is doing, and how we can work together with them, to reduce HIV transmission and improve the lives of this living with HIV/AIDS.

It was sobering to see everyone in the audience say they know someone living with HIV/AIDS and hear that there are currently 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV. The LGBT community continues to be disproportionately impacted by the epidemic – gay men are 42 more likely to get HIV, with gay men and transgender people of color bearing the brunt of the impact.

Obama panel on HIV/AIDS

Panelists included (from left to right) Gautam Raghavan, Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White House; Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy at the White House; Dylan Orr, Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; and Dr. Howell Wechsler, Director, Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TP Prevention, Centers for Disease Control.

Panelists and audience members had a great conversation that covered subjects like school health and disability rights for those living with HIV. Amongst other questions, people in the audience wanted to know how the community can do a better job of engaging with federal efforts to end the epidemic, particularly with king and marginalized communities.