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

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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

NASTAD at USCA 2014: How Women are Being Impacted along the HIV Care Continuum by Violence

By Michelle Allen, Senior Associate, Communications, NASTAD

Gender-Specific Care ContinuumEvery year since 1988, the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) has convened the annual United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). USCA brings together service providers, healthcare professionals, advocates, people living with HIV/AIDS, and policymakers to increase the strength and diversity of the community-based response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic through education, training, new partnerships, collaboration and networking. Continue reading

“All the Threads of the Tapestry are Equal in Value,” Dr. Maya Angelou

By Dr. Shanell L. McGoy, Director of HIV/STD, Tennessee Department of Health

Shanell McGoy

Dr. Shanell L. McGoy

Dr. Maya Angelou’s pen was silenced earlier this year; yet her bold, brilliant, and beautifully crafted words will live forever.  Her words speak of love – self-love and love for others, resilience, and the richness of diversity.  Dr. Maya Angelou wrote, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value.”  The 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States are as richly diverse as the tapestry Dr. Angelou describes in her poignant quote.  HIV/AIDS knows no boundaries, no specific race or ethnicity, age, gender, sexual preference, education level, profession, income, or religion.  Though we know that there are well documented HIV-related disparities that exist across a variety of demographics, we can be proud of our collective progress to reduce these disparities. Continue reading

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