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October 21, 2009

Obama AIDS Adviser Discusses Domestic Commitment to HIV

In an interview, Helene Gayle, MD, chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), spotlights President Barack Obama’s pledge to put a greater emphasis on bolstering domestic HIV prevention, education and treatment.

“It looks like this current administration will put a high priority not just on the global epidemic, but on the epidemic here in the United States,” said Gayle, who was nominated to her post in August. “In many ways, we have done a good job overseas, but I am excited that we appear to be ready to do what we’ve done beyond our own shores here in our own country.”

In addition to her role with PACHA, Gayle is currently the president and CEO of global humanitarian organization CARE USA. Previously, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she focused on HIV. She was also a coordinator of the HIV/AIDS division for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and she directed the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the Advocate interview, Gayle talked about the need to develop a national AIDS strategy—a goal that Obama has promised to accomplish and is currently working on.

“When I was at the CDC,” Gayle said, “we had an agency strategy—but we didn’t really get to look at how to tackle HIV as a nation: with an integrated strategy that engages all agencies, resources, communities and the public sector as well as the private sector.”

She continued: “Asking for a national strategy will engage communities broadly and lead to change.”

Search: Obama, Helene Gayle, Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, PACHA, CDC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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