March 30, 2011
With this post, we launch an occasional series, The Strategy in Action: Communities Respond to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. In these posts, we will spotlight some of the ways that diverse communities from across the U.S. are undertaking efforts to support and implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
This first post in the series features HIV prevention efforts currently underway in San Francisco, a city that holds a unique place in the history of our nation's response to HIV. Not only was it one of the first and hardest-hit areas for HIV/AIDS, but San Francisco has always been be a leader in developing innovative strategies for preventing HIV and caring for persons living with HIV/AIDS. Recently, Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of HIV Prevention and Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), shared with us how his city has re-assessed and re-prioritized its HIV prevention efforts; Grant shared this information at a meeting with Federal and community leaders at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on March 16.
San Francisco, he explained, has had a fairly stable rate of new HIV infections in the past 10 years -- between 500 and 1,000 per year. Leaders from the Health Department and the community recognized that if they were going to achieve the desired further reduction in the number of new HIV infections, they would have to make strategic changes in their prevention approaches. So the Department worked with its Community Planning Group over the course of a year to thoroughly and thoughtfully review and reprioritize the city's HIV prevention plan. Last year, they released a 336-page five-year HIV prevention plan. After analyzing their local epidemiology data, reviewing the scientific literature describing advances in prevention science, obtaining input from a variety of community sources, and considering their budget, they agreed they could do a better job if they targeted resources toward several priorities. These included:
These are just three of the priorities articulated in San Francisco's thoughtful and ambitious five-year plan. Interestingly, though the San Francisco HIV Prevention Plan and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy were developed independently, they share a number of significant principles, priorities and actions. These include:
In the brief video below, Grant shares some of the San Francisco experience and lessons that might help other communities to achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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