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Obama Names First Out Gay, African-American Living with HIV to Lead Office of National AIDS Policy

Obama Names First Out Gay, African-American Living with HIV to Lead Office of National AIDS Policy


With black gay men at the highest risk of becoming HIV-positive, having Douglas M. Brooks head the government’s response to the epidemic could be a game changer.

President Obama announced yesterday that that the first out gay African American man living with HIV — the much respected Douglas M. Brooks — would lead the Office of National AIDS Policy. “Douglas’s policy expertise combined with his extensive experience working in the community makes him uniquely suited to the task of helping to achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach,” President Obama said during his announcement. Brooks has served on the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), was senior vice president for community, health, and public policy at the Justice Resource Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, and has served on the boards of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, AIDS United, and the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition.

After that, organizations from around the country have been cheering the President's announcement. Here are just a few comments:

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research (New York, NY)

“We are eager to see strong leadership carry out the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s renewed focus on evidence-based policy and effective programming, especially with respect to populations hardest hit by AIDS in America, including gay men and other men who have sex with men, and African American and Latino men and women.”

San Francisco AIDS Foundation (San Francisco, CA)
“Douglas is the right person at the right time to step into this role. As new infections increasingly concentrate in the African-American community, and especially among Black gay men, it is more important than ever that our young people see a future for themselves in the face of someone like Douglas so that they can harness their innate resilience to create healthy and successful lives.”

AIDS United (Washington, DC)
“We have the opportunity to finally end the epidemic. I’ve been fortunate to work directly with Douglas, and have great confidence that he knows how to convene the right public and private partners to engage in the right conversations that will result in real progress.”

National Minority AIDS Council (Washington, DC)
“As the most heavily impacted population in the country, it is critical that Black gay men – especially those living with HIV – are represented at the highest levels of our government’s response to the epidemic.”

Lifelong AIDS Alliance (Seattle, WA)
“His tireless work to support the communities most greatly affected by HIV is steeped in compassion and personal commitment supported by epidemiological data. This appointment will help drive our common objective to end AIDS today and subsequently put a dent in HIV incidence within the United States and worldwide.”

The AIDS Institute (Washington, DC)
“Achieving these goals in an environment of constrained budget resources and within the changing landscape of the Affordable Care Act provides unique opportunities and challenges. We are confident Brooks possesses the leadership and passion to guide the White House through the next few years as we together aim to fulfill the President’s desire to realize an AIDS-free generation.”

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