Obama appoints first gay African-American to head the White House Office of National AIDS Policy

President Obama has appointed Douglas M. Brooks as the Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). Mr. Brooks will be the first openly gay African-American appointed to the position. He is also open about his HIV status, but is not the first HIV+ person to serve in this position. His most recent position was Senior VP for Community, Health, and Public Policy at the Justice Resource Institute.

US Politics Today reports:

Douglass policy expertise combined with his extensive experience working in the community makes him uniquely suited to the task of helping to achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach, President Obama said. I look forward to having him lead our efforts from the White House.

A component of the White House Domestic Policy Council, ONAP coordinates the ongoing implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the HIV Care Continuum initiative, while working together with public and private partners to advance the federal response to HIV/AIDS. ONAP also works with the White House National Security Council, the State Departments Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and international bodies to ensure that Americas response to the global pandemic is fully integrated with prevention, care, and treatment efforts around the world. Through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative, the U.S. has made enormous progress in responding to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, working with countries heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS to help expand access to treatment, care, and prevention.

President Obama’s appointment of Douglas Brooks is significant and shows that the President is keeping up with efforts to reduce HIV infections, among other issues pertaining to HIV and AIDS. Douglas Brooks comes at a time when the HIV infection rate in the black community is on the rise, especially gay black men.

US Politics Today has more on Mr. Brooks appointment.