06.15.21

Reps. Lee and Gonzalez-Colon Urge Biden to Appoint Global AIDS Coordinator and Members to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (PR-At Large), Co-Chairs of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, sent a letter urging President Biden to nominate a Global AIDS Coordinator as well as appoint a full roster of members to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, including people living with HIV, people of color, transgender/gender non-conforming individuals, and young people.

The Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) serves a critical role in implementing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program as well as the key diplomatic U.S. representative in the global fight against AIDS. As the PEPFAR planning process for 2021 largely complete, Administration risks delaying the ability to influence the strategic direction of the program.

“This nomination also intersects with a great opportunity to demonstrate U.S. leadership in ending the HIV pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “On the heels of the UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS and the 40th anniversary of the first CDC recognition of AIDS, it is imperative that the U.S. show its longstanding commitment as the global leader in the fight against HIV by prioritizing strong PEPFAR leadership.” 

“At a time when progress in the fight to end HIV is threatened by global economic insecurity, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and worldwide political instability, it is vital that the U.S. assert its historic leadership role,” the lawmakers continued. “The U.S. commitment to capitalizing on the life- saving progress made by our investments in global HIV/AIDS research and programming has the world on track to end the epidemic at home and abroad, and these gains should not and must not be abandoned.”

The lawmakers also thanked President Biden for appointing Harold Philips as the Director of the White House Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. This position, which has remained vacant since 2017, will have a key role in furthering the White House’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030.

For the full letter, click here.