WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seeking input to fulfill a pledge to develop a national strategy to combat HIV/AIDS, White House officials announced Aug. 20 a series of community discussions on HIV/AIDS to take place in various cities across the country. The first event will take place in Atlanta on Aug. 25 at the 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference.

“HIV remains an serious challenge to the American people and I am committed to developing an effective National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” President Barack Obama said in a release. “The National HIV/AIDS Community Discussions will provide an opportunity for members of the public to give their input on how we can best address this crucial issue. With the insights from communities across the country, we will have a strategy that is focused on the goals of reducing HIV incidence, getting people living with HIV/AIDS into care and improving health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.”

White House officials say national attention must be re-focused on the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic. More than 56,000 new HIV infections occur each year in the U.S.

Columbia, S.C., will host one of the White House community discussions. Other events will be held in Washington, D.C.; New York, N.Y.; San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, Calif.; Houston, Texas; Albuquerque, N.M.; Jackson, Miss.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Puerto Rico; and the Virgin Islands. The White House said specific dates for each of these events would be announced at a later date.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.