“HIV/AIDS” is now called “HIV” in two federal health agencies

What’s in a name? Or, in that case, what is not in a name? On October 1, the federal government’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention was renamed the Division of HIV Prevention (DHP). Similarly, the National Center for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis became the National Center for the Prevention of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis (NCHHSTP). Leaders of both agencies announced the updated names as well as structural changes within the DHP in a “Dear Colleague” letter.

Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH, is the director of DHP, and Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH, is the director of NCHHSTP.

“The decision to remove AIDS from our titles was not taken lightly, and it is the result of many years of discussions about our organization’s core mission and has been informed by discussions with our partners over the course of of the last decade,” the letter reads. “We believe our new titles more accurately reflect the organization’s focus on high-impact HIV prevention, preventing new HIV infections, improving health outcomes for people living with HIV and reducing health disparities and inequalities related to HIV.

The Division of HIV Prevention is a division of NCHHSTP, which in turn is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

These should not be confused with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, led by Anthony Fauci, MD, which directs much HIV research and treatment and is among the larger National Institutes of Health (NIH) . However, the NIH and CDC are federal agencies within the Department of Health and Human Resources.

The structural and organizational changes to the Division of HIV Prevention were undertaken, according to CDC.gov, “to foster increased collaboration between scientific and programmatic activities to effect meaningful and lasting change in communities affected by HIV.” With its new structure, DHP is well positioned to adapt to innovations in HIV prevention and continue to accelerate progress toward the goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States. United “..‘”

A graphic illustrates the organization of the Federal Division for HIV Prevention as of October 1, 2021.Courtesy of CDC.gov

The agency’s reorganization is illustrated in the table above and listed in the text below:

Manager’s office
  • Division Director: Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH
  • Senior Deputy Director: Vacant
  • Deputy Director of Program and Operations Management: Renata Ellington, PhD
  • Chief doctor : John Brooks, MD
  • Associate Director, Office of Health Equity: Vacant
  • Associate Director, Office of Computing and Data Management: Vacant
  • Associate Director, Office of Performance Improvement: Norma Harris, PhD (interim)
  • Associate Director, Office of Policy, Planning, Partnerships and Communications: Laura Landers Eastham, MPH
  • Associate Director, Office of Science: Irene Hall, PhD
  • Chief Executive Officer, Behavioral and Clinical Surveillance Branch: Buzz Prejean, PhD
  • Branch Head, Detection and Response Directorate: Vacant
  • Chief of Service, HIV Prevention Capacity Development Service: D. McNaghten, PhD
  • Division Head, HIV Research Branch: Athena Kourtis, MD, Ph.D.
  • Manager, HIV Surveillance Service: Angela Hernandez, MD, MPH
  • Head of Service, Laboratory Service: Walid Heneine, PhD
  • Head of Division, Directorate of Prevention Communication: Jo Stryker, PhD
  • Head of the Program Development and Implementation Branch: Stanley Phillip, DHA
  • Head of Service, Quantitative Sciences Service: Cindy Lyles, Ph.D.
  • Head of Service, Translation and Evaluation Service: Lisa Belcher, Ph.D.

In their letter, Daskalakis and Mermin say the new structure “modernizes our organization and better positions us to address our top priorities with renewed energy, direction and focus. These priorities include:

  • Accelerate the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative using HIV prevention indicators to guide program improvement and jurisdictional support;
  • Center health equity in all DHP internal and external activities;
  • Expand jurisdictional support to provide grantees with the technical assistance and tools they need to address their HIV prevention priorities, such as HIV inequalities and syndemics;
  • Improve the research-to-practice cycle to translate the latest evidence into programs and use programmatic priorities to inform the science of HIV prevention;
  • Lead national efforts to identify HIV clusters and epidemics and support timely and community-appropriate response; and
  • Conduct multidisciplinary research to generate the data, evidence, surveillance and tools needed to apply the best science to HIV prevention and treatment efforts.

For profiles on Daskalakis, see “The Activist Doctor” and “Meet the ‘Queer Health Warrior’ Who’ll Lead Federal HIV Prevention Efforts”.