The HIV Care Continuum Initiative: The Next Step of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President

Cross-posted from AIDS.gov

Secretary Sebelius and Valerie Jarrett

Three years ago, President Obama announced an historic comprehensive plan to help turn the tide on HIV/AIDS in the United States: the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The Strategy has given a new sense of direction, and purpose in our fight against HIV and AIDS.

Since the Strategy’s release, scientific developments have advanced our understanding of how to best fight HIV. We now understand that to prevent long-term complications of HIV, treatment is recommended for all adults and adolescents living with HIV in the United States. Continue reading

NASTAD Applauds Supreme Court Rulings on Same-Sex Marriage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2013
Contact: Meico Whitlock, 202-434-8094, www.NASTAD.orgNASTAD Gay's Men's Health Equity

Supreme Court Decisions on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Represent Tremendous Progress for Gay Men’s Health Equity; Still Much Work to Do to Achieve Full Equality for People of All Races, Ethnicities and Sexual Orientations

Washington, DC – Today’s Supreme Court rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) align with NASTAD’s ongoing efforts to address health equity among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races and ethnicities. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and NASTAD’s policy statement on gay men/MSM both stress the importance of reducing stigma related to HIV/AIDS, and routinizing HIV care as a part of overall health care. NASTAD’s work in reducing the stigma faced by gay men/MSM, and addressing structural barriers that lead to poor health outcomes among gay men/MSM are significantly advanced by a social recognition that same-sex unions are valuable and worth codifying. Continue reading

Monitoring Health Department Supported HIV Testing Programs

By Natalie Cramer, Director, Prevention, NASTAD

2012 National HIV Prevention Inventory Testing Survey ReportLast fall, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) released the first report of our 2012-2013 National HIV Prevention Inventory on health department HIV testing programs. This report is a follow-up to previous NASTAD reports on rapid HIV testing and testing in health care settings and contributes to our continuing efforts to monitor health department supported HIV testing programs. Findings in this report contribute to the development and prioritization of our technical assistance activities and guide education and advocacy efforts. Continue reading

Early HIV Diagnosis: New Opportunities for State Health Departments

By Liisa Randall, Consultant, NASTAD

National HIV Testing Day 2013Each year on June 27th, we mark National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) as an opportunity to further promote HIV testing as an important HIV prevention tool and as the critical first step to linking individuals living with HIV with medical care and support services that can help them stay healthy and improve their quality of life.

Missing an opportunity to diagnose acute HIV infection has important public health implications. Health departments play an important role in HIV testing in that health department HIV prevention programs conduct more than three million tests each year. During the acute phase of HIV infection, individuals are highly infectious and research has demonstrated that acute infection contributes disproportionately to HIV transmission. Research also suggests that treatment of early HIV infection with antiretroviral therapy (ART) may delay disease progression and may also decrease the severity of acute disease.

Continue reading

What the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act Means to Public Health

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

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

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

This month, Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation, HR1843, the Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage or Allow Legal (REPEAL) HIV Discrimination Act. The REPEAL Act calls for laws and policies that demonstrate a public-health oriented, evidence-based, medically-accurate and contemporary understanding of HIV transmission, risks of transmission based on means of exposure, current health implications of living with HIV and the benefits of treatment and comprehensive support services. Continue reading