June 11, 2014 – The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) are launching “Addressing Stigma: A Blueprint for HIV/STD Prevention and Care Outcomes for Black and Latino Gay Men.” The blueprint contains 17 recommendations for reducing public health stigma that prevents Black and Latino gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) from receiving optimal health care. Health departments will receive four courtesy copies via mail to distribute across programs (i.e., HIV prevention and care, STD programs).
Through support from the MAC AIDS Fund, NASTAD and NCSD conducted a three-year study of stigma and its impact on public health practice for Black and Latino gay men/MSM. This work included a national survey of more than 1,300 respondents; the convening of a Blue Ribbon Panel of stakeholders and medical providers; the publication of “Optimal Care Checklists” for providers and for Black and Latino gay male patients; and the convening of a National Stigma Summit on Black and Latino Gay Men’s Health.
The recommendations contained in the blueprint follow many consultations with national organizations that serve Black and Latino gay men/MSM, health departments and community stakeholders. Specifically, the blueprint looks at how stigma and other social determinants impact the HIV Care Continuum for Black and Latino gay men/MSM – examining “the bar before the bars,” which explores all the issues facing these men prior to an HIV or STD diagnosis.
“We know that Black and Latino gay men are not linked and retained in care as successfully as White gay men; the question is how can we address this?” said Julie Scofield, Executive Director for NASTAD. “One of the ways we can address this is by looking seriously at stigma and structural biases that prevent these men from achieving a higher degree of viral suppression. It’s critically important that we address this, and we’re so pleased to partner with NCSD on this effort.”
“NCSD is pleased to join NASTAD in this important work, as we know HIV and other STDs represent on-going syndemics among gay men, and especially gay men of color,” stated William A. Smith, Executive Director of NCSD. “We believe that health departments have a leading role in addressing the stigma that so often hampers better sexual health outcomes. This role is present in the direct work that health departments carry out each day, but also in their capacity as leaders in their jurisdictions to assure competent care for gay men is being delivered through the transforming health care delivery system.”
This month NASTAD and NCSD are also re-launching an updated survey assessment to continue efforts to monitor stigma in public health practice. The information gathered from this survey will provide additional information to further health department and community efforts to reduce stigma in public health practice.
NASTAD represents the nation’s chief state health agency staff who have programmatic responsibility for administering HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis health care, prevention, education and support service programs funded by state and federal governments. The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) is a partnership of public health professionals dedicated to promoting sexual health through the prevention of STDs. NCSD provides dynamic leadership that strengthens STD programs by advocating or effective policies, strategies, and sufficient resources by increasing awareness of the medical and social impacts of STDs.