Raising the Bar: Young People, HIV and Access to Healthcare

By Isaiah Webster III, Manager, Prevention

National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness DayToday’s youth are the first generation to have never known life without HIV/AIDS. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people ages 13-29 accounted for 39% of all new HIV infections as of 2009. More than 34,000 young people are living with HIV, and health departments remain committed to linking these individuals to care. Continue reading

Addressing HIV and Viral Hepatitis Among Native Gay Men and Two Spirit People

By Lynne Greabell, Director of Member Services and Leadership Development, NASTAD

Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2012In conjunction with the seventh annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, NASTAD published an issue brief, Native Gay Men and Two Spirit People and HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Programs and Services. The issue brief, developed by NASTAD’s Native American Networking Group (NANG) and Gay Men’s Health Equity Work Group (GMHEWG), provides specific recommendations for health departments to address HIV and viral hepatitis in Native American communities, consistent with the NASTAD and National Coalition for STD Directors’ joint policy statement “Getting to Zero: Scaling-Up Health Department Strategies for Gay Men/MSM.”

Native gay men and Two Spirit people (i.e., men who have sex with men [MSM] or what we would call male-bodied Two-Spirit individuals) face unique and specific challenges and opportunities related to their health and well-being such as stigma and discrimination due to their sexual orientation and gender status. Yet tribal traditions and connections through Two Spirit and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) networking also can serve as protective factors (e.g., opportunities for cultural pride and education about prevention of disease acquisition) for Native gay men and Two Spirit people. Continue reading

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Fighting HIV/AIDS through the Affordable Care Act

By Mildred Williamson, HIV/AIDS Section Chief, Illinois Department of Public Health and Amna Osman, Director, Division of Health, Wellness and Disease Control, Michigan Department of Community Health

Amna Osman, Director, Division of Health, Wellness and Disease Control, Michigan Department of Community Health

Amna Osman, Director, Division of Health, Wellness and Disease Control, Michigan Department of Community Health

Mildred Williamson, HIV/AIDS Section Chief, Illinois Department of Public Health

Mildred Williamson, HIV/AIDS Section Chief, Illinois Department of Public Health

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a day to “Share Knowledge. Take Action.” As public health officials leading the fight against HIV and health inequities in our states, we recognize that the path to ending the HIV epidemic in the U.S. must include women and girls. So, today is a day to educate women and girls and their communities about the impact of HIV and offer a clarion call for us to take charge of our health. HIV/AIDS remains a serious public health challenge for women and girls. In 2009, women made up approximately a quarter of individuals living with HIV in the U.S. Furthermore, in 2009, African-American and Latina women accounted nearly three-fourths of new HIV infections among all women in the U.S. For African-American women and girls, the HIV infection rate in 2010 was 20 times that of White women and girls. As the backbone of our communities, women should share their stories and empower our girls and others around us. As said by the great poet Maya Angelou “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Continue reading

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Spotlight on Responding to the Epidemic Among Black Gay Men/MSM

By Blake Rowley, Nicolas A. Rango Health Equity Fellow, NASTAD

Blake Rowley, Nicolas A. Rango Health Equity Fellow, NASTADThis February, we observe Black History Month, and today we recognize National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). Today represents an opportunity to mobilize members of the Black community to learn their HIV status and make decisions to live healthy lives, regardless of their HIV status. More than thirty years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Blacks are disproportionately affected across all stages of the disease (from diagnosis to viral suppression). Continue reading