Robert Greenwald, Director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has co-authored an editorial with David Holtgrave, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, on the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) from the federal government. “A SWOT Analysis of the Updated National HIV AIDS Strategy for the U.S., 2015-2020″ has been published by the AIDS and Behavior Journal and will be available in the pubmed database shortly.
The original NHAS was created in 2010 to guide the country’s response to the epidemic through 2015. Since its creation and release, the original NHAS has served as a useful guide to encourage better evidence-based prevention and care efforts. The updated strategy outlines recommendations and guiding practices to lead policy and care through 2020.
The editorial offers a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis with the aim of increasing discussion of ways to truly fulfill the promise of the updated NHAS and to address barriers that may thwart it from achieving its full potential. The authors highlight a small number of key factors under each element of the SWOT analysis, and conclude with overarching recommendations for next steps. They note that their purpose is not comprehensiveness, but rather to highlight a few factors seen as truly critical, and to hopefully spark further discussion and elaboration in the field.
Excerpts from the editorial praise that the NHAS “is clear that HIV care and treatment must be affordable, accessible, and very broadly defined to encompass the behavioral and ancillary services needed to address the social determinants of HIV…The updated strategy is clear that while we have effective treatments available, many people living with HIV are not able to access them.” The authors go on to highlight a major weakness of the strategy, saying that “it is essential for public health planning to estimate the scope of unmet needs, identify resources to meet those needs, and estimate…the public health and economic impact of such investments. These estimates are essential to develop so as to inform the federal action plan soon to be released.”
“Time is of the essence, for the epidemic marches on every hour of every day in the United States, and the human and economic consequences of the epidemic are enormous,” says Robert Greenwald. “Our hope is that this paper spurs conversation and updates to the strategy that further improve it.”