HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced the creation of a new, unified HIV/AIDS and STD prevention and treatment advisory committee to strengthen collaboration in these activities throughout the department.
The new committee merges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee for HIV and STD Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) AIDS Advisory Committee into a single advisory panel. All current members of both committees will become members of the new committee. Both committees advise HHS on AIDS and STD prevention, care and treatment issues and have occasionally met jointly over the past two years.
"This merger puts the best of both worlds - prevention and treatment - together for the benefit of all who are affected by this illness," Secretary Thompson said. "Uniting the top people from both fields in one committee will spark greater ingenuity and improved coordination as we continue our war against the national and global menace of HIV and AIDS."
The merged committee will advise the Secretary, CDC, and HRSA on the full range of issues addressed by the existing committees. This will include identifying objectives, strategies, policies and priorities for HIV/AIDS and STD prevention, care and treatment efforts. The merger is intended to encourage even greater inter-agency synergy across the spectrum of prevention and care.
"Combining these committees will make us more efficient, more innovative, and more accurate in targeting our efforts against HIV/AIDS," HRSA Administrator Elizabeth M. Duke said. "We applaud the Secretary's decision and are delighted to join CDC in this enterprise."
"It makes perfect sense to integrate these two important committees. As a former AIDS clinician, I fully appreciate the close interrelationship between prevention and treatment," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said.
As the merger begins, each of the existing HRSA and CDC committees will meet one last time. Then, beginning in 2003, the newly chartered Advisory Committee will meet approximately twice per year.
The CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention and Treatment will continue to consist of members knowledgeable in the fields of public health, epidemiology, laboratory practice, immunology, infectious disease treatment, drug abuse, behavioral science, health education, health care delivery, and community health center management.