Young Black Gay Men: What Do We Need?

By Brandon Horsley-Thompson, Participant in the 2013 NASTAD Black Gay Men’s Technical Assistance Meeting

Brandon Horsely-ThompsonI came into the field of HIV prevention to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s been a long road full of deaths, fighting within the community, mismanagement, and numerous encounters with young Black gay men, who felt like their lives were not worth living. I recently attended NASTAD’s Black Gay Men’s Technical Assistance meeting, jam packed with information about the Affordable Care Act and enrollment, state based population specific HIV continuums of care for Texas and Tennessee, and new advancements in biomedical prevention – PrEP and home testing. The meeting put into context how all of these systems interplay with the health department and its constituents and provided strategies for working with Black gay men in this ever shifting landscape. However, at the beginning of the second day of the meeting, I was asked “What do you need as young Black gay man?” I sat silent for some time. What did I need? Emotionally? Mentally? Support systems? Was the facilitator talking about the collective “you,” as young Black gay men or me individually? I had never considered the question as I had gone about this work, and needless to say, I was stumped. I spoke from the heart. Continue reading

Maintaining Focus on the HIV and STD Epidemics among Gay Men – A CONCEPT from the Louisiana Department of Health

By Isaiah Webster III, Senior Manager, Health Equity/Prevention

Louisiana Wellness Center ProjectBefore there was AIDS, there was GRID or “gay-related immune deficiency.” Given the mystery and hysteria of 1982, GRID seemed like an appropriate moniker for an immune system “plague” that seemed to mostly afflict gay men. However, scientists quickly realized that GRID wasn’t a “gay plague” at all; rather it was a social disease capable of afflicting almost anyone. GRID became known as AIDS, caused by a retrovirus known as HIV – the human immunodeficiency virus.  Continue reading

How Health Departments Are Accelerating Improvements in HIV Prevention and Care in the United States

By Dawn Fukuda, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and NASTAD Chair

Raising the Bars: ReportAs HIV/AIDS directors in state and territorial health departments, we are no strangers to the concept of strategic planning. Community engagement, consumer advisory, and evidence-based decision making are hallmarks of our approaches—as is the capacity for our systems to evolve and adapt in response to emerging trends and population needs. Our planning and program development methods have been soundly implemented and tested over years, in some cases over decades.
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The infrastructure to deliver HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis prevention and care services, while it may look and function differently across our individual jurisdictions, has been collaboratively designed to be maximally accessible, responsive, and effective in reaching local and national health promotion objectives. We have built a system that blends social welfare, medical care, and public health in an integrated services framework, and by all accounts we have been a success. Continue reading

Health Departments Accelerate Improvements in HIV Prevention and Care in the U.S.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2014
Contact: Meico Whitlock, 202-434-8094, www.NASTAD.org

Health Departments Accelerate Improvements in HIV Prevention and Care in the U.S.

Health Departments Innovate in the Face of Changing HIV Landscape

Raising the Bars: Policy AgendaRaising the Bars: ReportWashington, DC – To enhance the ability of health departments to reach the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), today the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) released Raising the Bars: Accelerating HIV Prevention and Care in the United States and accompanying Raising the Bars: Policy Recommendations to Enhance Health Departments’ Efforts to End the HIV Epidemic. Continue reading

A Common Patient Assistance Program Application Form for HIV Medicine: Improved and Available

Cross-posted from AIDS.gov

NASTAD Common HIV Patient Assistance Program Application Form

A new streamlined application form is available to help low-income individuals who are living with HIV access antiretroviral (ARV) medicines through HIV patient assistance programs (PAPs).

Need for a Streamlined Application Form

PAPs are programs operated by pharmaceutical companies to provide free ARV medicines to low-income people living with HIV who do not qualify for insurance or assistance programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, or AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). Each individual company has varying eligibility criteria. Most programs have a financial eligibility level of 500% of the Federal Poverty Level, or $57,450 for one person.  Some programs have lower eligibility levels, but many also make exceptions to their eligibility criteria based on the needs of individuals applying for their program. Eligibility levels and other criteria of PAPs can be found on the Positively Aware website or the Fair Pricing Coalition‘s website. Continue reading