American Academy of HIV Medicine Commends the Appointment of Mr. Harold Phillips as Director of ONAP

American Academy of HIV Medicine Commends the Appointment of Mr. Harold Phillips as Director of ONAP

WASHINGTON, DC:  On June 5th, the 40th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS, President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to ending the HIV epidemic by reopening the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) and appointing Mr. Harold Phillips as the office’s new director. The American Academy of HIV Medicine enthusiastically supports the reopening of ONAP and believes Mr. Phillips is an excellent choice to lead the office. Through Mr. Phillips’ years of service dedicated to eradicating the HIV epidemic, we know that he is the right choice for making the goal of functionally eliminating new transmission of HIV by 2025 a reality.

Most recently, Mr. Phillips led the previous Administration’s Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative and has served as the Senior HIV Advisor and Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS policy (OIDP) and in the Office of HIV/AIDS Training and Capacity Development (OTCD) at the Health Resources and Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA/HAB). Thanks to his time at HAB, Mr. Phillips has extensive experience working with the Ryan White Program’s AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP), all critical programs for achieving the goal of ending the HIV epidemic here and abroad.

“Thanks to advances in treatment and prevention, the clinical components needed to end HIV exist and – through the appropriate training and education – should be in providers’ hands across the country,” stated Bruce J. Packett, executive director of the Academy. “The real barriers to eliminating HIV are societal and systemic. These can only be addressed by truly understanding the daily challenges facing people with and at risk for HIV and creating policies that eliminate these disparities. We hope having knowledgeable leaders like Mr. Phillips will create meaningful change.”

After the launch of the EHE in 2019, the Academy highlighted critical barriers to ending the HIV epidemic as identified by HIV care providers in the hardest hit areas of the country. The survey participants – made up of Academy members and HIV credentialed providers – resided in the 50 counties, urban jurisdictions and seven states identified as initial geographic targets within the EHE initiative. According to respondents, the most urgent challenges include a critical workforce shortage, homelessness/unstable housing, HIV stigma, and transportation barriers.

“As a clinician, I endeavor to offer my patients the very best in clinical care, but I also know that on the frontlines, there are tremendous everyday challenges including stigma and health disparities,” stated Margaret Hoffman-Terry, MD, AAHIVS, chair of the Academy’s policy committee. “We have to address the totality of issues people with HIV grapple with every day, and the Administration’s reopening of ONAP and its strategic appointment of Mr. Phillips demonstrate its earnest commitment to confronting these challenges and ending the epidemic.”

The Academy looks forward to working with Mr. Phillips in this new role.

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