NASTAD Partners With National Organizations to Encourage Gay Youth to “Speak Out” About HIV

By Carlos De Leon, Senior Associate, Health Equity and Prevention, NASTAD

Speak Out LogoEvery person carries with them a unique story that, in some manner, affects the person that they are and they embody. It is uncommon to be given a platform and adequate time to openly and honestly talk about these experiences in depth while feeling safe and comfortable in exposing our raw selves. This is especially true for sexual minorities, same gender loving men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), especially men of color within this group. Gay men/MSM continue to be the most severely affected community by HIV and Black and Latino gay men/MSM are disproportionately affected. Young gay men/MSM, aged 13 – 24, from 2008 – 2011 accounted for the greatest percentage increase (26%) in diagnosed HIV infections. In the aforementioned youth group, Blacks and Hispanic/Latinos constituted 58% and 20%, respectively, of all young gay men/MSM in 2011 infected with HIV. Black young gay men/MSM aged 13 – 24 experienced the largest increase in diagnosed HIV infections among all racial/ethnic groups. The over representation of Black and Latino gay men/MSM newly infected or living with HIV is due to numerous issues including access to health care and institutionalized stigma. Moreover, many gay men/MSM encounter unique challenges in expressing their sexuality openly and comfortably. Continue reading

How the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is Influencing Health Department Funding and Programs for Gay Men

By Erin McElderry, Associate, Prevention, NASTAD

NHPI Program Data

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), released in 2010, is the nation’s guide towards taking measureable steps to end the HIV epidemic. It proposes a bold vision: “The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.” Within that overarching vision is a call to action to target resources towards communities disproportionately impacted by HIV—in particular gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). The NHAS stressed, “the United States cannot reduce the number of HIV infections nationally without better addressing HIV among gay and bisexual men.” Continue reading

A Blueprint for Meaningful Community Engagement and Advocacy to End HIV and Viral Hepatitis

By Emily McCloskey, Manager, Policy and Legislative Affairs

A Path to Policy ToolkitToday, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) released A Path to Policy: A Blueprint for Community Engagement and Advocacy. The toolkit is designed to assist state health departments and HIV and viral hepatitis programs build their advocacy, policy development and implementation and community engagement efforts.

Public health agencies are the central authorities of the nation’s public health system that serve an essential role in the monitoring, prevention and management of HIV and viral hepatitis. Evidence-informed, science-based, effective public health programs that increase access to prevention, care, treatment and support for people living with HIV and viral hepatitis are a key part of how we can collectively Raise the Bars. These programs are most successful in legal and policy environments that incorporate a human rights approach to HIV and viral hepatitis. Because they provide a unique perspective, state health departments must be able to advance policy, advocate for programs and work with the communities they serve.

In order for state health departments to have an impactful advocacy effort, the health department must engage with many partners and utilize different cohesive, coalition-building strategies. This toolkit is intended to provide health departments with guidance for establishing, improving or sustaining meaningful community engagement, advocating for resources and policies necessary to end the epidemics, and educating policymakers and the public about their health department’s role, programs and the importance of accelerating HIV and viral hepatitis prevention, treatment and care nationwide.

How New York is Using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to End HIV

By Dan O’Connell, Director, AIDS Institute, New York State Department of Health

New York State Department of Health AIDS InstituteIn June of this year, New York’s Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, announced a plan to bring HIV below epidemic levels in New York State by 2020. In this plan, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is identified as one of three key strategies for reducing new HIV infections to sub-epidemic levels, and is a great example of how health departments can bring the domestic HIV epidemic to its end within a rapidly changing system of HIV prevention and care services and raising the bars of the HIV care continuum.http://www.newbalanceoutlet.cc Continue reading

NASTAD Releases 2014 Online AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Formulary Database

For immediate release: June 10, 2014

Contact: Britten Pund, 202-434-8044, bpund@NASTAD.org

Washington, DC – Today, the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) released the 2014 Online AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Formulary Database (the Database) and accompanying User’s Guide. The Database details ADAP coverage of medications both individually and by drug class, marking the first time state-by-state ADAP formulary coverage data has been made publicly available in an online searchable format. NASTAD receives frequent requests regarding individual states’ formulary composition. This newly-released online format provides a method to query this data. Medications included in the Database include antiretroviral (ARV) treatments and “A1” Opportunistic Infections (A1 OI) medications, as well as treatments for hepatitis B and C, substance use treatment medications and various vaccines and laboratory tests. The Database includes formulary information from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, as of March 31, 2014. Moving forward, the Database will be updated as new information becomes available. In addition, interested parties are encouraged to contact individual ADAPs with specific questions about medication availability. Continue reading