December 19, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Gay nat’l AIDS director to depart White House
Grant Colfax, Office of National AIDS Policy, Obama Administration, gay news, Washington Blade

White House HIV/AIDS director Grant Colfax has signaled his intention to depart the White House (Photo public domain).

The openly gay head of White House efforts to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic has signaled his intention to depart the Obama administration.

Grant Colfax, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, will depart the White House on Jan. 13, a White House official said, after having been named to the position a year-and-a-half ago.

At the Office of National AIDS Policy, a component of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Colfax was responsible for leading prevention efforts through education initiatives and helping to coordinate treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS — both within the United States and overseas.

Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, commended the work that Colfax has done against HIV/AIDS upon news of his planned departure.

“As the President’s top adviser on domestic HIV/AIDS policy, Grant has been central in ensuring that our efforts to combat the domestic epidemic are science-based, meet the needs of populations most affected by HIV, and break down HIV-related stigma and discrimination,” Muñoz added.

Muñoz ticked off several accomplishments the Obama administration has achieved under Colfax, including advancement of the President’s National AIDS Strategy and reducing the wait lists under AIDS Drug Assistance Programs to zero.

“He has been instrumental in efforts such as developing and launching the HIV Care Continuum Initiative to increase HIV testing and treatment rates, decreasing the AIDS Drug Assistance Program waitlists, bolstering the Ryan White Program, and working with the National Institutes of Health to launch a new HIV Cure Initiative,” Muñoz said. “Grant will truly be missed and we wish him well in his next steps.”

Prior to coming to the White House, Colfax was most recently the director of the HIV Prevention Section in the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

In response to an inquiry on Colfax’s plans after his departure or the process for finding a replacement, Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said, “I have no personnel announcements to make.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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