LOS ANGELES, June 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Black AIDS Institute (BAI), the nation’s only Black HIV organization focused on ending HIV in Black communities, welcomes Harold J. Phillips, as the new Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, which has been recently reinstated by President Biden. Mr. Phillips’ selection, based on his extensive HIV/AIDS policy experience across federal agencies and his lived experience as a Black, gay man living with HIV for the past 15 years, are a strong indicator of the Biden-Harris Administration’s approach to tackling an epidemic that disproportionately impacts Black Americans. His appointment, announced on 40th anniversary of AIDS, is in complete alignment with the Black AIDS Institute’s "We The People: A Black Strategy To End HIV," that advocates for elevating Black leaders in the HIV community and addressing HIV as a racial justice issue.
40 years since the discovery of the AIDS virus, we have proven medical options like a daily pill called PrEP that provides over 90% protection and daily HIV treatment that can keep a person healthy and prevent them from passing on HIV. But direct outcomes of systemic racism such as stigma and lack of healthcare access have prevented Black communities from benefiting from lifesaving HIV interventions in the same way white Americans have. Therefore, during the Black AIDS Institute’s Heroes In The Struggle Virtual Gala on June 5, it was encouraging to hear Mr. Phillips address the need to "begin reviewing and redesigning systems including policies, laws, programs and institutions that exacerbate inequities and do not advance equity for all including Black people who have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by systemic and structural racism."
"As a uniquely and unapologetically Black organization that has led the fight to end HIV for 22 years, Harold is just as much a part of our community as he is the highest-ranking Black HIV leader in the federal government. His aforementioned professional experience, such as leading the federal government’s "Ending The HIV Epidemic” initiative, as well as his personal understanding of intersecting stigmas experienced by Black and LGBTQ people living with HIV, are critical for this juncture in the HIV crisis. I am hopeful that Harold’s leadership and the Biden-Harris administration’s recognition of racism as a public health issue will be a catalyst to finally center Black lives," said Raniyah Copeland, President and CEO, Black AIDS Institute.
ABOUT BLACK AIDS INSTITUTE
Founded in 1999, Black AIDS Institute (BAI) is the only uniquely and unapologetically Black think and do tank in America. Our mission is to stop the AIDS epidemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals to confront HIV. Black Empowerment is our central theme and we are led by people who represent the issues we serve. We source our capacity building, mobilization, and advocacy efforts from Black leaders and communities across the country, and provide culturally respectful, high-quality, HIV prevention and care services for Black people in Los Angeles. Learn more at https://blackaids.org
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SOURCE Black AIDS Institute