Dear allies, friends, and colleagues,
Recently, the Trump administration has announced that it will be drafting its own national HIV “Ending the Epidemic” plan by mid-2019. This obviously raises many concerns. First and foremost, can the drafting of such a plan truly be led by the communities disproportionately impacted by the epidemic, including populations actively under attack by this administration?
In response, the national HIV & hepatitis advocacy communities have rallied around a push to draft our own national plan that represents affected communities. This effort, spearheaded by Act Now End AIDS (ANEA) has been engaging in a broad, multi-tiered process to collect as much information from around the country as possible in order to accurately reflect what we need to end the HIV epidemic for all of us.
In recognition of the ongoing overdose crisis and the central role harm reduction must play in any “Ending the Epidemic” (EtE) effort, Harm Reduction Coalition has been asked to help draft a National Harm Reduction Strategy (NHRS) to insure people who use drugs are represented in this collective effort. We are seeking community feedback on the initial draft, as well as additional policy recommendations for Congress and/or the Administration. Our timeline is tight, as ANEA is seeking to release the EtE-plan, of which the NHRS will be a key component, during the upcoming US Conference on AIDS in early September.
As such, Harm Reduction Coalition will be hosting two webinars on August 23rd and August 30th, to provide a platform for members of the harm reduction community to share their insights, feedback, and additional policy recommendations to strengthen the NHRS. We encourage anyone who’s interested and able to make it to join us by registering below.
We will give a deeper overview of the ending the epidemic initiative, the current process for developing the national harm reduction strategy and provide an opportunity for discussion and input.
Additionally, the ANEA drafting committee has uploaded a copy of the draft NHRS to Google Docs, in case folks would like to provide direct written feedback – the link and further information are below, as is a link to a working draft of the broader EtE document for context. Finally, we have set up an email address firstname.lastname@example.org so you can reach out to with questions, comments, or additional suggestions.
We look forward to collaborating with the harm reduction community to ensure that the voices and needs of people who use drugs are centered in our national response to the overdose, HIV, and viral hepatitis crisis.
Note: This link is a Google Docs document, and its permissions are set so that anyone with the link can suggest edits (but not make direct edits) – the “suggest” feature is functionally the same as Microsoft Word’s “track changes” feature