Progress Made on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS

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Today, the Office of the Vice President, the White House Council on Women and Girls, and the White House Office of National AIDS Policy welcomed community leaders and Federal colleagues to celebrate progress to date by the President’s Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities. It is timely that we gather at the White House during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. As the President proclaimed, girls and young women ages 16 to 24 are at the highest risk for dating violence, and this February, “we renew our commitment to preventing abuse, supporting survivors, holding offenders accountable, and building a culture of respect.” The recommendations for action in the White House Working Group report [PDF 292 KB], Addressing the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities, build on this commitment.

Together with public and private stakeholders, today’s discussion focused on our progress on implementing the report’s core objectives, which aim to support the wellbeing of women and girls by leveraging Federal resources and improving collaboration among agencies. We have made significant strides, and we are proud to share what we have accomplished. Here are some examples of current efforts that align with the report’s objectives.

We are working to improve health and wellness for women by screening for both intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV. Key Federal agencies are working with large clinical providers to inform physicians, nurse practitioners, and community health care providers about screening recommendations for HIV and IPV. Partnering agencies include the HHS Office on Women’s Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Administration for Children and Families’ Family Violence Prevention and Services Program.

We are also focusing on improving outcomes for women in HIV care by addressing violence and trauma. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed a national technical assistance plan for its Targeted Capacity Expansion grants that provide substance abuse treatment to minority women at high risk for HIV/AIDS. The plan focuses on the impact of trauma on women living with HIV and features a peer-support model.

The workgroup is also addressing certain contributing factors that increase the risk of violence for women and girls living with HIV. The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence Exit Disclaimer, supported by the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, will host online trainings this Spring for domestic violence service providers. The training will focus on the health implications of sexual decision-making in relation to IPV and HIV/AIDS

These are just a few examples of the ways in which Federal agencies have responded to the President’s call to action. In addition to more robust programming and improved policies, the report’s action steps include an emphasis on using research and collecting data to evaluate existing programs and to develop new intervention and prevention strategies for those at risk of violence and HIV.

The Working Group will continue to meet to: review progress on implementing the recommended actions; identify and resolve barriers and delays; share lessons learned; and address emerging issues or concerns. We look forward to sharing the report with stakeholders, because a coordinated response to this complex issue is necessary to maximize impact. While the report identifies specific Federal actions, its long-term success will depend on collaboration with partners in the private sector, faith communities, academia, and advocacy organizations. Our collective efforts will help us reach the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and reduce violence against women and girls.

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