Illinois health dept. discusses plans for PrEP assistance

By Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer, Windy City Media Group

Cross-posted from Windy City Media Group

Dr. Mildred Williamson

Dr. Mildred Williamson

With the 26th annual World AIDS Day commemorated Dec. 1 across the globe by communities, governments and organizations, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) HIV/AIDS Inter-Agency Taskforce unveiled strategies for the implementation of a program to dramatically improve access and affordability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication for at-risk individuals statewide. Continue reading

Six Lessons for Health Departments Using PrEP as an HIV Prevention Tool

By Dave Kern, ‎Manager, Infectious Disease Prevention Section at Washington State Department of Health

Dave Kern

Dave Kern

In Washington State, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of antiretroviral medication to prevent HIV infection, and what it means for our work. We’ve been inspired to acknowledge our fears, both known and hidden, and to seize the hope and promise that’s evolving before our eyes. We’ve given ourselves space to be curious, to make mistakes and to be OK with not creating the perfect plan. More importantly, we’ve made the decision to act, even as we continue to define our commitment. Continue reading

Improving the Sexual Health of Black Gay Men: A Health Department Approach

By Justin T. Rush, Nicholas A. Rango Fellow, NASTAD

2014 ManDate Conference

2014 ManDate Conference

At the beginning of her term as Chair of the National Alliance of State and Territorial Directors (NASTAD), Maria Courogen, Director of the Office of Infectious Disease for the Washington State Department of Health, charged health department HIV and viral hepatitis program staff across the nation with an ambitious yet important task: meet people where they are; go into communities where HIV is most prevalent and truly engage in those settings in a meaningful and equitable way. The notion was a simple and impactful one, leaning on the idea that people are not just their HIV status. Instead, there is a myriad of experiences – some stigmatizing – that many groups, most notably Black gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), encounter and it takes understanding and working through those experiences to truly have an impact. Continue reading

No More Silos – PrEP is One Component of Gay Men’s Sexual Health: A Health Department Approach to PrEP

By Barry Callis, Director of Behavioral Health and Infectious Disease Prevention, Office of HIV/AIDS, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Dawn Fukuda, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS, Bureau of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Barry Callis and Dawn Fukuda

Barry Callis and Dawn Fukuda

Many of us in the Office of HIV/AIDS at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) were huddled excitedly around our computer screens when the first reports of success from the iPrEx clinical trial were released. It was December of 2010, and at long last, we had confirmed proof that an antiviral medicine (Truvada) could protect against HIV infection before exposure, and that it worked for gay and bisexual men and transgender women. It was a possibility we had only dreamed of in the early 1990’s, when effective antiretrovirals were first widely available as treatment. Continue reading

The Use of Fotonovelas for HIV Awareness and Prevention in Florida

By April S. Hogan, MPH, Community Prevention Team Lead, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Section, Bureua of Communicable Diseases, Florida Department of Health

Fotonovelas Cover

Click to see a larger version.

A fotonovela is a story told with photographs and dialogue that is very popular in Latin and Central America. The fotonovela medium includes pictures of real people that illustrate a story narrative similar in the format of a soap opera. The documented history of the fotonovela is varied, although it is known that Hispanic/Latino fotonovelas date back to the 1940s. Continue reading