Yesterday, A. Cornelius Baker, a Senior Communications Advisor and Project Director at the Academy for Educational Development Center on AIDS and Community Health, was appointed one of the 24 new members to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). For the past two decades, Mr. Baker has worked in the local and federal government, local and national community-based advocacy and service delivery and on a variety of workgroups to advance the nation’s response to the HIV epidemic. He was recently voted as a member of the Board of Director’s for Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc., a local non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of African-American gay and bisexual men. He is the National Policy Advisor for National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition in Washington, D.C.
This council of HIV/AIDS experts is composed of a diverse group of researchers, service providers, and community leaders from around the country, including people living with HIV. The Council also includes people who are from community-based organizations that cater to the medical, legal, or mental health needs of people living with HIV and AIDS. Other appointees include Praveen Basaviah HIV/AIDS advocate who most recently completed serving for one year as a Bill Clinton fellow in India through the American Indian Foundation. Calvin Butts III, Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church and Chair of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. Dr. Jim Kim, M.D., Ph.D., President, Dartmouth College. Dr. Kim is also former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization (WHO). Rosie Pérez, Actor, choreographer, director who has been involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy work since 1991. Phil Wilson, Founder, Executive Director; The Black AIDS Institute. “We often speak about HIV/AIDS as if it’s only going on somewhere else, but we face a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. That’s why last year my administration began crafting a new National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Today, I’m pleased to have a new group of experts joining PACHA; and I look forward to hearing from the council about our continued efforts to prevent the spread of HIV infections in the United States and to provide care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS around the world,” said President Obama yesterday.
The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS provides advice, information, and recommendations to the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services on domestic and global HIV/AIDS policy issues. PACHA also serves to further the policy goals of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) and will play an important role in providing input for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Currently, there are an estimated one million individuals living with HIV in the United States, and a new HIV infection occurs every nine-and-a-half minutes in America. Of those currently infected, one in five does not know he or she has the condition, and the majority of new infections are spread by people who are unaware of their own status. Globally, there are over 33 million people living with HIV, and AIDS remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Women and children around the world are particularly vulnerable due to gender inequalities, gaps in access to services, and increases in sexual violence. “These new members also represent the best of America. I look forward to their strategic guidance in assisting HHS to do its part in developing and implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and in supporting the important work of the PEPFAR program,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The board convened for the first time today.
For more information about PACHA and a complete list of all 24 appointees, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap and http://www.pacha.gov/.