Harold J. Phillips to Lead Office of National AIDS Policy

Harold J. Phillips, director of ONAP. Photo by Keith Mumma/Photography courtesy Kalamazoo College

On June 5, 2021, the White House announced the appointment of Harold J. Phillips to lead the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), part of the Domestic Policy Council in the Biden White House. Ambassador Susan Rice, President Biden’s Domestic Policy Advisor and head of the Domestic Policy Council, announced the appointment, recognizing the fortieth anniversary of the MMWR report of the first reports of what later became known as AIDS. An out gay PLHIV, with a Master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, Mr. Phillips began work at ONAP on June 7, 2021.

Before his appointment to head ONAP, Phillips has worked in the HIV/AIDS field for more than two decades, including both community and federal government positions. He most recently served as the Senior HIV Advisor and Chief Operating Officer of the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative in the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Phillips also served on the CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention and Treatment (CHAC) from 2003–2010, among other positions administering Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs.

One of Mr. Phillips’ tasks will be to lead the development of a new National Strategy on HIV/AIDS which updates the HIV National Strategic Plan released in January 2021. This strategy will build on the existing plan, incorporate the priorities of the Biden-Harris administration, and include additional input from other federal agencies to help better address social determinants of health and improve health equity.

In a message to colleagues on his first day as Director of ONAP Mr. Phillips remarked, “I look forward to continuing the work we have begun to end the HIV epidemic. President Biden is committed to ending the HIV epidemic and has called for bold and accelerated steps to achieve this aim.”

—Reporting by Hank Trout

Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick.