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Grant Colfax, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy Grant Colfax, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy

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The White House

Grant Colfax, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy

Colfax, 48, has been fighting AIDS since his residency in San Francisco right after medical school. He is Obama's top adviser on domestic AIDS policy, with goals of expanding testing and treatment and making new HIV infections as rare as possible. A 1984 Associated Press story captured Colfax's unusual upbringing with the headline "Goat boy adapts to Harvard." Growing up in Northern California on an isolated 47-acre homestead, without electricity or a telephone, he raised and showed dairy goats, studied by kerosene lamp, and was homeschooled by parents who wrote two books about their experience. Colfax and two of his three younger brothers ended up with full scholarships to Harvard. In his freshman year, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, Colfax came out as gay. "I wanted to do what I could, so I went to medical school," he said in a video released by the White House. He earned a Harvard medical degree and went on to treat patients, teach, and conduct research on AIDS prevention. He was an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California (San Francisco) and director of HIV prevention and research for the San Francisco Department of Public Health when Obama named him to his current post in March 2012. Despite progress, particularly in reducing maternal-child transmission of AIDS, there are about 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States. Colfax says the insurance expansions kicking in next year under the Affordable Care Act will help. "We have come such a long way in this fight," he said in the White House video. "But we have a long way to go to close the deal."

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