Communicating about HIV and Viral Hepatitis in Complex Times

By Meico Whitlock, Senior Manager, Communications, NASTAD

Cross-posted from AIDS.gov

Meico WhitlockLast month, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) attended the fourth annual Plain Talk in Complex Times conference in Arlington, Virginia. This year’s theme was “Communicating in a Time of Change.” The conference was hosted by the MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy in collaboration with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and brought together leaders and decision-makers in fields such as public health, health communications, digital media, usability, accessibility, translation, interpretation, readability, design, and plain language to discuss communicating effectively with health consumers.

Sessions covered a range of topics such as writing for mobile device users, providing high quality care to linguistically diverse populations, and communicating effectively with numbers. A number of sessions also focused specifically on technology and provided helpful tips for tasks such conducting low-cost usability testing, enhancing website accessibility, producing podcasts, and graphic design for print materials. Continue reading

Ending Viral Hepatitis: Policy Recommendations to End the Silent Epidemic

By Oscar Mairena, Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Policy & Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

NASTAD Viral Hepatitis Policy AgendaHealth departments are at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to prevent new infections and create systems of care for people living with chronic viral hepatitis. Health departments, however, are at a critical transition point as implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues and more effective treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV) come to market – a transition that requires federal investment in national and state-specific public health infrastructure in order to meet the changing needs of people living with and at-risk of viral hepatitis.

Today, on the first day of the biannual National Viral Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting, NASTAD is releasing a policy agenda to combat viral hepatitis in the U.S. The policy agenda, Breaking the Silence on an Epidemic: Policy Recommendations to End Viral Hepatitis, provides recommendations for policymakers to better equip state and local health departments to provide the basic, core public health services to combat viral hepatitis; increase surveillance, testing and education efforts nationwide; and effectively reach the goals set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other Viral Hepatitis Interagency Working Group members, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Continue reading

Strengthening the HIV Continuum of Care in South Africa

By Anna Carroll, Associate, Global Program, NASTAD

NASTAD staff visit the Hlalanikahle Clinic with Mpumalanga Department of Health Staff, the Health Facility Manager and Facility Based Support Group Facilitators

NASTAD staff visit the Hlalanikahle Clinic with Mpumalanga Department of Health Staff, the Health Facility Manager and Facility Based Support Group Facilitators

Since 2002, the number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries has increased dramatically, from 300,000 in 2002 to 9.7 million in 2012. Despite this striking improvement, this represents only 34% of people currently eligible for ART under the 2013 WHO guidelines.

The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) Global Program has worked hard to reduce this massive treatment gap in South Africa, where an estimated 5.6 million people are living with HIV and AIDS, the greatest number of people in any country worldwide. In 2009, the South African government initiated the Integrated Access to Care and Treatment (I ACT) Program as one important component of its national response to the HIV epidemic. As a primary partner to provincial departments of health in South Africa, NASTAD began working in partnership with the Free State and Mpumalanga Provincial Departments of Health (PDoH) to support the implementation and development of I ACT in these provinces. Continue reading

The Health Department Response to HIV in Latino Communities

By Daniel Olavarria, Associate, Health Equity

National Latino AIDS Awareness DayNASTAD is proud to observe National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). Established in 2003, NLAAD is dedicated to drawing attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS on the growing Latino communities across the United States, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The 2013 theme is “Commit to Speak”/“Comprométete a Hablar”. Every October 15th, partners across the United States raise their collective voice to promote HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing, treatment, and overall awareness for Latino communities.

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Youth Ambassadors – Call for Applicants in Dallas, Texas

By Daniel Olavarria, Associate, Health Equity

Deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Individuals are strongly encouraged to submit their applications before the final deadline.

NASTAD Youth AmbassadorsThe National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) is looking to identify young Latino gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) who are up-and-coming leaders doing innovative work on a volunteer basis in their communities/schools to improve the well-being of other gay men/MSM.

With an emphasis on creative utilization of social media as the cornerstone of this program, NASTAD is seeking to advance the work being done by youth leaders who have identified challenges in their communities and have formulated forward-thinking solutions. This program is intended to expand the way that NASTAD connects with young people, facilitate opportunities for these men to partner with health departments and to network with each another. Continue reading