Is there a national EtE plan?
Not yet, although ACT NOW, a national, community-led coalition dedicated to promoting and supporting EtE plans across the United States, will continue to push for a national EtE plan even in the current oppressive political climate. Although the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, first announced in 2010, marked important progress towards uniting the federal agencies around a coordinated plan, we believe we need to be even bolder with targets and strategies to truly achieve an end to the epidemic as we know it.
A lot has changed politically since 2016. Is now still the right time to launch new plans?
Now is still the right time.
The development of an EtE strategy provides a platform for local and state community advocates seeking to preserve and advance HIV initiatives, even within hostile political climates. Scaling community mobilization up via the EtE planning process is exactly what is needed in the face of escalating political challenges. And while the national state of American politics may seem very uncertain, it becomes even more imperative to capitalize on local and state-level opportunities and press for ambitious targets and objectives through an EtE framework. For many of these reasons, we are seeing initiatives move forward across the south. Advocates are initiating EtE work in order to connect with local political allies or to mobilize communities to find opportunities in spite of challenging politics.
Uncertainty around healthcare, the toll conservative politics takes on community advocates, and challenges to federal funding for key public health and social welfare programs may require us to be more creative in our advocacy and our strategic use of existing resources. However, the political context doesn’t change the scientific fact that we can end epidemics, even though it may make that goal more challenging to achieve. We believe that lessening our ambitions is the wrong response to oppressive politics; we must continue to advocate just as strongly for what is best for people living with and vulnerable to HIV.