Federal Government Launches HIV Care Continuum Initiative

As part of ongoing efforts to support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the new initiative will direct Federal agencies to align and coordinate their efforts to maximize outcomes along the HIV care continuum.

As part of its ongoing support and implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy announced by President Obama in 2010, the White House recently announced the launch of the HIV Care Continuum Initiative, which will be overseen by the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.

According to the official announcement, the Initiative will “mobilize and coordinate Federal efforts in response to recent advances regarding how to prevent and treat HIV infection. The Initiative will support further integration of HIV prevention and care efforts; promote expansion of successful HIV testing and service delivery models; encourage innovative approaches to addressing barriers to accessing testing and treatment; and ensure that Federal resources are appropriately focused on implementing evidence-based interventions that improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.”

Among other provisions, the Initiative establishes the HIV Care Continuum Working Group, which will coordinate Federal efforts to improve outcomes nationally across the HIV care continuum. The Working Group will consist of representatives from the Departments of Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and other branches of the federal government. The Working Group will:

  • Review research on improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum
  • Identify potential impediments to improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum, including for populations at greatest risk for HIV infection
  • Recommend ways to integrate efforts to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum with other evidence-based strategies to combat HIV
  • Specify how to better align and coordinate Federal efforts, both within and across agencies, to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum

Within 180 days of its formation, the Working Group will present a report to the President outlining actions that agencies can take to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.

In a blog post on AIDS.gov, Grant Colfax, MD, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy, wrote, “Data from the CDC tell us that along the HIV care continuum, there is significant fall-off (often referred to as the HIV “treatment cascade,” or “care cascade”). Nearly one-fifth of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. are undiagnosed; one-third of people diagnosed with HIV are not linked to medical care; nearly two-thirds are not engaged in ongoing care; and only one-quarter — one in four – have the virus effectively controlled, which is necessary to maintain long-term health and reduces transmission to others. This must change.”

According to Colfax, establishing the HIV Care Continuum Initiative “will focus our continued implementation of the Strategy on activities that will better address the drop-offs along the continuum of care and increase the proportion of individuals who have the virus effectively controlled. The ultimate goal is to go from one in four to four in four.”

Below is a video of the President announcing the launch of the HIV Care Continuum Initiative of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.