White House Officially Names Acting HHS AIDS Policy Director to Head ONAP
As expected, the White House on Friday named Dr. Joseph O'Neill, an openly gay physician who currently serves as acting director of the HHS Department of HIV/AIDS Policy, as the new director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the AP/Nando Times reports. O'Neill will replace Scott Evertz, the first openly gay individual nominated to an executive branch office by a Republican president (Sobieraj, AP/Nando Times, 7/19). Evertz will become special assistant to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on international HIV/AIDS policy (HHS release, 7/19). Some AIDS advocates have attributed Evertz' replacement to criticism from conservatives over his association with openly gay groups and his support of condom use for HIV/AIDS prevention. Winnie Stachelberg, political director at the Human Rights Campaign, said that the group is "cautiously hoping that these (personnel) moves will reinvigorate the Bush administration's efforts to create a comprehensive HIV and AIDS strategy to battle the disease at home and abroad." She added, "This is an opportunity for the administration to reverse course, take this life-and-death issue off the back burner and reassert American leadership" (AP/Nando Times, 7/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.