President Barack Obama announced August 21 the launch of the National HIV/AIDS Community Discussions, a series of nationwide events hosted by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) that will allow the public to actively participate in the promised formation of a national HIV/AIDS strategy.

The first event will take place August 25 at the 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

“HIV remains a serious challenge to the American people, and I am committed to developing an effective National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” Obama said in a statement. “The National HIV/AIDS Community Discussions will provide an opportunity for members of the public to give their input on how we can best address this crucial issue. With the insights from communities across the country, we will have a strategy that is focused on the goals of reducing HIV incidence, getting people living with HIV/AIDS into care and improving health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.”

Future community discussions are slated for Washington, DC; New York City; San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, California; Houston; Albuquerque; Jackson, Mississippi; Fort Lauderdale; Minneapolis; Columbia, South Carolina; Puerto Rico; and the Virgin Islands.