December 1, 2015
Updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy Federal Action Plan Includes Key Sex Ed Activities
Today, World AIDS Day, the White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 (NHAS 2020) Federal Action Plan. As previously reported by SIECUS, NHAS 2020 builds upon President Obama’s 2010 National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the first-ever in U.S. history, emphasizing the importance of sexuality education for young people and “across generations.” Additionally, NHAS 2020 addresses the role that parents, communities, and schools play in providing sexual health information and tools within “safe, inclusive, and destigmatizing” environments.
The NHAS 2020 Federal Action Plan includes the immediate fiscal year (2016), and the longer term, three–five years, actions for federal agencies to achieve “toward improving HIV prevention and care outcomes.” Not intended to be an exhaustive list of federal activities related to NHAS 2020, the Federal Action Plan identifies “strategic actions designed to help achieve the goals and measurable outcomes…of the Strategy.”
There is much to applaud within the Federal Action Plan supporting the goals of 1) reducing new HIV infections; 2) increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV; 3) reducing HIV-related disparities and health inequities; and 4) achieving a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic.
SIECUS is particularly pleased to highlight the action items related to the goal of reducing new HIV infections. Under this goal, step 1.C.3 calls to “promote age-appropriate HIV and STI prevention education for all Americans” over the next five years. This specifically includes agency action to promote and expand sexual health education in schools through the leadership of the Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition, agency partnerships such as the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the Office of Population Affairs (OPA), among others, will lead various activities to provide evidence-based resources, campaigns, and education programs particularly focused on reaching those most often marginalized.
The Federal Action Plan provides critical leadership activity toward achieving the goals of NHAS 2020, but it will take nationwide partnerships to fulfill the vision of NHAS 2020. SIECUS looks forward to working with our federal, national, state, and local partners to achieve these actions and more to advance sexuality education and improve the sexual health of all people.