MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT & CEO
I got a call in May 2016. “Jesse we are searching for the interim President & CEO of AIDS United…. Are you interested?” Without missing a heartbeat, I thought to myself, “You must do this – now!” My life changed immediately. I could never have predicted all the other changes coming in 2016. For all of us living with, working for, and affected by HIV in America, 2016 was a year of unexpected change.
None of the public opinion polls predicted the outcome of the presidential election. The result meant the HIV community and AIDS United needed to prepare for a transition of power from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. AIDS United began planning in earnest how to build on the progress we had achieved in the previous eight years and address the new President and majority in Congress on how to achieve our cherished vision of a world without AIDS.
This new environment demands a new kind of commitment. A commitment to what we call Leadership for Now.
AIDS United had a lot of work to do. We had no time to waste. With the leadership of a strong executive team and our dedicated program and policy staff, AIDS United was ready for a renewed national call to action to end the HIV epidemic in America.
Leadership for Now means defending what we have accomplished and fighting for social justice.
AIDS United recognizes the unique challenges the transgender community faces in HIV care. In 2016 we urged a funder to help us address their leadership needs. AIDS United knows that policies like the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid are needed to support people in great need who are living with HIV. Immediately after the election we banded together with four national partners to convene a first-ever joint community forum to mobilize our community for an incoming president and Congress committed to replacing and repealing that law.
We are fortunate to have a team of the best advocates I know. The AIDS United Public Policy Committee combines the clout of 44 leading HIV organization members from across the country. They work to develop consensus on major healthcare and policy issues facing the HIV community on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and in state capitals.
We are equally blessed to have a program team with tremendous capacity building skills, and who bring professional passion and acumen for making critically needed cash grants to organizations making a difference for people living with HIV.
This annual report is dedicated to those who refuse to back down in the face of adversity and draw strength from each other to make certain we reach the day when every infection is prevented, everyone who needs care gets it, and the mysteries that surround HIV are unlocked and solved forever. That’s the kind of Leadership for Now that these challenging times demand. That’s the kind of leadership that I hope makes you proud to support AIDS United.
JESSE MILAN JR. J.D.
President & CEO