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HOPWA In Focus: Recognizing the 33rd World AIDS Day

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Dear HOPWA Grantees, Project Sponsors, and Friends:

On December 1, 2021, the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH) will commemorate the 33rd World AIDS Day. On this day, we will stand in solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDS and pause to honor the memory of the more than 32 million people who have been lost to HIV/AIDS worldwide since the beginning of this epidemic. Since the first World AIDS Day in 1988, we have made significant progress in reducing HIV infections and improving health outcomes for individuals with HIV, both domestically and around the world. However, this work is not yet finished and has been further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government’s theme for World AIDS Day 2021 is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.” This theme reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as well as the values of equity and inclusion that underlie the Administration. This theme also highlights the importance of elevating the voices of those with lived experience with HIV as experts and partners in the fight to address HIV, particularly in communities that are at the highest risk for HIV.

OHH, which administers the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program, continues our work to elevate the role of housing as a structural intervention to end the HIV epidemic. This past year, we were excited to make $41 million in HOPWA competitive funding available to 20 state and local governments and nonprofits nationwide through our Housing as an Intervention to Fight AIDS funding opportunity. The goal of this funding is to provide opportunities for communities to create and implement new housing and supportive service models that align with initiatives aimed at ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The selected projects demonstrated innovation in their plans, including incorporating culturally competent approaches to service provision, coordination with local housing and service providers, and advancing racial and LGBTQ+ equity.

On this World AIDS Day, we are also proud to acknowledge that HUD will have an expanded presence in the National HIV AIDS Strategy 2022-2025, which will guide the work of the federal government and other public and private stakeholders in delivering equitable HIV prevention, care, treatment, and supportive services nationwide. The Strategy will promote collaboration across agencies to meet the needs of people living with HIV and to proactively work to prevent new HIV infections. The Strategy will also highlight the importance of addressing social determinants of health to reduce health disparities among racial, ethnic, and sexual and gender minority groups who are most vulnerable to contracting HIV. By working to expand access to housing for individuals with HIV, and by increasing awareness of the role of stable housing in HIV prevention efforts, we can promote access to critical healthcare and supportive services needed to help end the epidemic.

On December 1, 2021, as the world recognizes the 33rd World AIDS Day, I hope you will join OHH in recognizing the progress our country has made to end the HIV epidemic and renew your effort to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in your community. On World AIDS Day, we stand in solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDS and unite on the shared goal of ending the epidemic. On World AIDS Day, we stand in remembrance of those we have lost, and in honor of their memory, we continue the work. Learn more about how our federal partners are recognizing World AIDS Day.

Thank you for your continued support of the HOPWA program and ending the HIV epidemic.

Rita Harcrow, Director
Office of HIV/AIDS Housing

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