How Has the Fight to End HIV/AIDS Progressed Under President Obama?

Dec. 1, World AIDS Day (or World HIV Day, as we support it being referred to looking forward) is a great opportunity to examine the successes our society has made—here in the States and globally—in fighting HIV/AIDS. Under President Obama, we’ve seen some great strides, from his development of the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States to the expansion of investments in PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The White House today released its 2016 Progress Report on National HIV/AIDS Strategy implementation, a comprehensive plan to reduce new HIV infections, reduce disparities and get to a more coordinated national response—in effect a national strategy through 2020.

Included in that progress report is an infographic depicting major HIV/AIDS milestones under Obama’s presidency. Here are some highlights:

  • In October 2009, President Obama signed the Ryan White Treatment Extension Act, which reauthorized the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Today, it serves over 500,000, or approximately half, of all Americans living with HIV.
  • In January 2010, the Administration lifted the entry ban for tourists and immigrants living with HIV.
  • In July 2010, President Obama released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
  • In July 2011, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced preliminary results of HIV Prevention Trial Network study 052, which showed that early initiation of antiretroviral treatment reduced the risk of transmitting HIV by 96 percent.
  • In December 2011, President Obama declared that an AIDS-free generation is within reach.
  • In March 2012, President Obama signed a memorandum directing Federal agencies to begin efforts to improve the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities. HHS also published new guidance recommending HIV treatment for all people living with HIV.
  • In July 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The United States also hosted the International AIDS Conference, the first time since 1990.
  • In April 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force gave HIV screening for adolescents and adults aged 15 to 65 a grade “A” recommendation, which requires its coverage without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act.
  • In July 2013, President Obama signed an Executive Order to launch the HIV Care Continuum Initiative.
  • In November 2013, President Obama signed the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which ended the ban on research on organ transplantation between people with HIV.
  • In May 2014, the U.S. Public Health Service published the first PrEP clinical practice guidelines for adults at high risk for HIV.
  • In July 2015, President Obama signed an Executive Order updating the National HIV/AIDS Strategy through 2020, integrating his previous executive actions, re-establishing the Federal Interagency Workgroup, and requiring agencies to develop a Federal Action Plan, which was released in December 2015.
  • In 2016, the omnibus appropriations act authorized the use of Federal funds for syringe service programs in certain circumstances. President Obama also signed the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, which codified an important update to the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program funding formula.

Improvements the White House points out as having been achieved throughout Obama’s presidency include new HIV diagnoses dropping 7% between 2010-2013; a decrease in disparities in diagnoses for black females; increased viral suppression among youth, injectable drug users and trans women.

Then there are places where progress has not been seen: homelessness among people with HIV continues to inch upward, and HIV-risk behaviors in gay and bi men increased as well.

President Obama also released a video message for World AIDS Day 2016. Watch it below: