NASTAD Thanks Harold Phillips for his Tenure as Director of ONAP
Harold J. Phillips, MRP ended his tenure as Director for the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) on January 19, 2024. Serving for two and a half years, Harold played an instrumental role in carrying out the Biden Administration’s efforts to end the HIV epidemic.
Throughout his tenure, Harold worked closely with NASTAD in our mission to end HIV and intersecting epidemics. He presented at several of NASTAD’s Annual Meetings and National HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meetings, where he provided updates on the progress of the National HIV/ADS Strategy (NHAS) and the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) Initiative.
Additionally, Harold prioritized repealing and reforming outdated state HIV criminalization laws to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination. In the summer of 2022, Harold invited me and several NASTAD staff and members to the White House Convening on Prosecution of HIV Criminal Laws. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impact that HIV criminalization laws have on people living with HIV (PLWH) and how these laws hinder our goals of ending the HIV epidemic. It was an opportunity to learn and discuss the existence of HIV criminalization laws in almost 30 states and how they disproportionately impact Black and Latine communities, sex workers, and LGBT+ individuals. I and everyone at NASTAD deeply appreciate Harold’s commitment and dedication and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.
As we look ahead to the next ONAP Director, we hope that they will continue to work closely with NASTAD and our partners in achieving health equity for people living with and impacted by HIV. NASTAD and our partners believe that it is imperative to select someone who is living with HIV or has significant experience working directly with people living with or impacted by HIV. It is essential for people with lived experiences to be in leadership roles and have a seat at the table. Additionally, as an organization that serves health departments and community-based organizations, we hope the next ONAP director supports us in this work and prioritizes the needs of community and health departments. It is also important to select a new Director who has an detailed background working with the NHAS and EHE and utilizes a syndemic approach to address the HIV epidemic. To end the HIV epidemic, we must also address factors such as STIs, hepatitis, harm reduction, housing, and more.
NASTAD thanks Harold for his leadership during his recent tenure as Director of ONAP and we look forward to working with the new director to end the HIV epidemic.