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National Commission on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Records 1983-1994
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Historical Note

The National Commission on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome was an independent body created in 1989 by federal statute (Public Law 100-607). The mission of the National Commission was to advise Congress and the President on the development of "a consistent national policy" concerning the HIV epidemic. The statute created the Commission for a period of up to four years, which expired on September 3, 1993.

The National Commission was preceded by the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, which was established on June 24, 1987, by Executive Order 12601. The Presidential Commission held over 45 days of hearings and site visits in preparation of their final report to the President, which was completed on June 27, 1988. One of the recommendations of the final report was the development of a national commission on AIDS to continue their work.

The National Commission consisted of fifteen members including five appointed by the Senate; five by the House; two by President George W. Bush Sr.; and the secretaries of Health and Human Services, Defense, and the Veterans Administration. The Commission accomplished its mission through numerous hearings and site visits.

The Commission's hearings covered the following topic concerning AIDS: healthcare, treatment, and international aspects of the HIV epidemic; Federal, State, and Local responsibilities; the Southern California epidemic; social and human issues; Executive and Legislative branch issues; current research and clinical trials; HIV epidemic in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; African American communities; Pediatric and Adolescent HIV; Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual communities among Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders; Women and HIV disease and civil rights; religious communities response; and risks of transmission in healthcare settings.

Site visits included Southern California community based organizations in order to observe their response to the epidemic. Other site visits also included the homeless in New York City, Newark, and Jersey City; AIDS in the rural communities of Waycross, Albany, and Macon, Georgia; HIV and AIDS in New York City correctional facilities; the epidemic in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; regional responses in Belle Glade and Miami, Florida; and the Native American Communities of Oklahoma, Minnesota, South Dakota, Arizona, and New Mexico.

During its tenure the Commission produced fifteen reports plus analytical and policy statements on a number of issues. AIDS: An Expanding Tragedy, the Commission's final report was issued in June 1993. The final report discusses the future of the AIDS epidemic in America and established two main recommendations on the appropriate response. The first recommendation was that leaders at all levels must speak out about AIDS to their constituencies. Secondly, we must develop a clear well-articulated national plan for confronting AIDS. The steps necessary to meet these guidelines are outlined by the Commission in Mobilizing America's Response to AIDS, which was sent directly to the President.