Bristol-Myers Squibb Congratulates President Obama and the Office of National AIDS Policy on the Announcement of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Positive Charge initiative illustrates how the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) could be implemented at the grassroots level to help improve access to care.
Bristol-Myers Squibb congratulates and applauds President Obama and his Administration on the July 13 announcement of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). The NHAS brings renewed attention to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and provides a vision and framework for government, the HIV community, and business and philanthropic leaders to collectively change the course of this epidemic in the United States.
Developed with insights and input from the HIV community, the NHAS focuses on three main goals – lowering the rate of HIV infections, increasing the number of people in care, and reducing disparities in care. The Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) conducted 13 community discussions around the country to gather insights for the development of the NHAS. In addition, Bristol-Myers Squibb sponsored five national working sessions to help gather the diverse voices, ideas, and expertise from the community. Independent facilitators led and reported on each group session, identifying measurable outcomes and specific recommendations for ONAP to consider in the development of the NHAS.
Anthony C. Hooper, president, U.S., Japan, and Intercontinental, Bristol-Myers Squibb, joined President Obama at the White House along with other HIV/AIDS community advocates to commemorate the NHAS announcement.
Hooper said, “We know that this work is complex. To achieve the President’s goals, execution and implementation of the NHAS is key and the public and private sectors need to work together to help break down the impediments to HIV care and treatment. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we have been committed for more than 20 years to discovering, developing and delivering medicines to treat HIV/AIDS, but we know medicines alone cannot solve the problem. We need to work together to eliminate the personal, societal and structural barriers that prevent people living with HIV and AIDS from accessing appropriate care.”
In the United States, Bristol-Myers Squibb estimates that there are 640,000* people with HIV who are not receiving HIV treatment. Bristol-Myers Squibb recently announced a multi-year, U.S.-based initiative aimed at helping to break down the barriers that prevent people from receiving HIV care, appropriate treatment, and necessary support called Positive Charge. One of the key components of Positive Charge is an unprecedented collaboration with The National AIDS Fund (NAF), which combines both financial resources and technical expertise to reach communities and to help facilitate changes to enhance access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Many people are under the impression that HIV/AIDS is no longer an issue in the United States” said Kandy Ferree, president and CEO of NAF. “Business, government and community leaders all need to work together to achieve the goals of the NHAS and enable people living with HIV/AIDS to access the HIV-specific care they need.”
In May 2010, Hooper and Ferree joined Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, for a panel discussion at the White House during which Positive Charge was discussed as a prime example of the private-public partnerships necessary for the successful implementation of the NHAS.
“Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to engaging the broader business community and working closely with the Administration towards our common goal of increasing access to care for all those living with HIV and AIDS,” said Hooper. “We need organizations like the NAF and their grantees to engage communities and design programs to meet their specific needs. Our hope is that Positive Charge can deliver meaningful contributions that will inspire others to implement similar programs and truly impact the course of the HIV epidemic in this country.”
* Based on Bristol-Myers Squibb Market Research Estimate, June 2009.