Youth Advisory Group Sign-on Letter

1. Sign-on Letter Text

 
Youth advocates believe that the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) needs to establish a youth advisory group to strengthen policy and programs for youth at-risk for or living with HIV/AIDS.

Please review the proposed sign-on letter to the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) and the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) and sign on to the letter on the next page by June 2, 2010 to show your support!
April 6, 2010

Jeffrey Crowley
Director
Office of National AIDS Policy
The White House
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20502

Christopher Bates
Executive Director
Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
200 Department Avenue, SW, Room 443H
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dr. Helene Gayle
Chairperson
Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
200 Department Avenue, SW, Room 443H
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Mr. Crowley, Mr. Bates, and Dr. Gayle:

The undersigned individuals and organizations respectfully request establishment of a youth advisory group to provide technical assistance regarding the experiences and unmet needs of HIV-infected and affected youth to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), Interagency Workgroup, and other applicable priority-setting and resource-allocating bodies.

ONAP convened a diverse cross-section of youth living with and concerned about HIV/AIDS, as well as youth-serving clinicians and providers, at a “Youth & HIV/AIDS” meeting on December 4, 2009. Following the meeting, a request was formulated by meeting participants to establish a youth advisory group that would meet face-to-face at least once annually and more often by conference call to ensure that youth concerns are incorporated in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) that is developed and that those concerns receive ongoing attention.

Further, this group will identify systemic and structural barriers that make it difficult for youth to access preventive, health care, treatment, and supportive HIV/AIDS services and programs. The issues this group will address include, but are not limited to: transitioning from pediatric care into general adult care, consent and insurance coverage, primary and secondary prevention among youth, and behavioral and biomedical research among youth populations.

The endorsers of this letter are encouraged by the seating of Praveen Basaviah, who also attended the December 4 meeting, to PACHA. However, many of the unmet needs that were expressed will require thoughtful and comprehensive attention. It would not be a reasonable expectation for us to expect one individual to do this work alone. For this reason, we urge ONAP to establish a youth advisory group that will both have an opportunity to provide youth and data-driven perspectives in advance of policy and program developments as well as confer directly with established bodies to ensure youth concerns receive adequate attention and response.

In 2006, young adults and teens ages 13 through 29 accounted for 34% of new HIV infections that occurred that year, the largest share of any age group. The majority of young adults and teens come in contact with HIV by sexual means, which contributes to about 80% of new diagnoses in the United States each year. Among young people, teen girls ages 13-19 years represented 40% of AIDS cases reported in 2007 among this age group. Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) and minorities of color are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS as well.

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