Is $1 Enough for Viral Hepatitis Prevention?

By Emily McCloskey, Manager, Policy and Legislative Affairs

Is 1$ Enough for Viral Hepatitis Prevention?Today, NASTAD released an infographic analyzing viral hepatitis funding. State health departments receive less than $1 dollar in federal funding for every person living with viral hepatitis for the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator (VHPC) program. The VHPC program is the only national program dedicated to the viral hepatitis epidemics and provides the only public health infrastructure for the prevention of viral hepatitis and linking individuals to care and treatment. In order to meet the goals established by the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, the VHPC program must continue to be funded in all existing jurisdictions and increased resources are necessary to coordinate prevention efforts at the state and local levels. Continue reading

The Register’s Editorial: Lawmakers should repeal bad HIV law

By The Register’s Editorial Board

Originally published in The Des Moines Register

The Des Moines Register

The Des Moines Register

Sometimes Iowa lawmakers pursue legislation without a good grasp of the their decisions. That occurred in 1998 when the Legislature gave in to a knee-jerk response to a high-profile national news story about a man from New York who was HIV-positive who had intentionally exposed women to the virus. Continue reading

An Emerging Epidemic: The Public Health Response to Hepatitis C Infection among Young People who Inject Drugs

By Oscar Mairena, Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Policy and Legislative Affairs

Panelists at the NASTAD and Harm Reduction Coalition Congressional Briefing.

Panelists at the NASTAD and Harm Reduction Coalition Congressional Briefing.

Last year, the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator (VHPC) in Massachusetts, Dan Church, wrote a post about the increasing rate of acute hepatitis C (HCV) infection among young persons who inject drugs in Massachusetts and the health department’s efforts to prevent new infections, identify existing cases, educate individuals vulnerable to acquisition, and enhance surveillance and data collection to better address the epidemic. Since then, more health departments have reported this trend, especially among young persons who begin using prescription opioids and transition to injecting heroin. Earlier this week, NASTAD partnered with the Harm Reduction Coalition to host a Congressional Briefing, An Emerging Epidemic: The Public Health Response to Hepatitis C Infection among Young People who Use Drugs, to bring this issue to light, educate Congressional staff and reinforce the role of public health in addressing emerging health concerns. Continue reading

Share Knowledge and Take Action: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Michelle Allen, Associate, Policy and Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day LogoToday, NASTAD joins in the observation of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) to recognize the impact of HIV on women and girls across the country. Since 2006, this day has been observed to raise awareness and encourage communities to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The facts are clear, of the 50,000 adults and adolescents newly diagnosed with HIV in 2011, one in five was female. Among women, women of color account for nearly two-thirds of new AIDS diagnoses, and at some point in their lifetimes, 1 in 32 Black women and 1 in 106 Latinas will be diagnosed with HIV. Most of these women, roughly 86%, were infected with HIV by having condomless, heterosexual sex. Educating women, across all communities is an important piece of preventing further spread of the epidemic, and that makes this year’s theme, “Share Knowledge. Take Action,” that much more important. 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.

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