How Hackathons and Mobile Apps Can Help Change the Way We Do Health Care

By Shaan Michael Wade, Intern, Communications, NASTAD

Smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate and live. Need to find the nearest grocery store? There’s an app for that. Can’t figure out what to wear? There’s an app for that too. The increasing popularity of smartphones greatly expands possibilities for phone-based behavioral interventions for HIV prevention and care. Although Android and iPhone users have hundreds of HIV/STD-related mobile apps to choose from, most fail to attract attention. These unsuccessful attempts at creating apps that resonate with the needs of target populations highlights a key issue in prevention and care services. As health department HIV programs nationwide are intensifying prevention, care, and treatment strategies to end the epidemic, hackathons may be another innovative tool at their disposal. Continue reading

A Common Patient Assistance Program Application Form for HIV Medicine: Improved and Available

Cross-posted from

NASTAD Common HIV Patient Assistance Program Application Form

A new streamlined application form is available to help low-income individuals who are living with HIV access antiretroviral (ARV) medicines through HIV patient assistance programs (PAPs).

Need for a Streamlined Application Form

PAPs are programs operated by pharmaceutical companies to provide free ARV medicines to low-income people living with HIV who do not qualify for insurance or assistance programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, or AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). Each individual company has varying eligibility criteria. Most programs have a financial eligibility level of 500% of the Federal Poverty Level, or $57,450 for one person.  Some programs have lower eligibility levels, but many also make exceptions to their eligibility criteria based on the needs of individuals applying for their program. Eligibility levels and other criteria of PAPs can be found on the Positively Aware website or the Fair Pricing Coalition‘s website. Continue reading

Communicating about HIV and Viral Hepatitis in Complex Times

By Meico Whitlock, Senior Manager, Communications, NASTAD

Cross-posted from

Meico WhitlockLast month, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) attended the fourth annual Plain Talk in Complex Times conference in Arlington, Virginia. This year’s theme was “Communicating in a Time of Change.” The conference was hosted by the MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy in collaboration with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and brought together leaders and decision-makers in fields such as public health, health communications, digital media, usability, accessibility, translation, interpretation, readability, design, and plain language to discuss communicating effectively with health consumers.

Sessions covered a range of topics such as writing for mobile device users, providing high quality care to linguistically diverse populations, and communicating effectively with numbers. A number of sessions also focused specifically on technology and provided helpful tips for tasks such conducting low-cost usability testing, enhancing website accessibility, producing podcasts, and graphic design for print materials. Continue reading

New York: A Look at One State’s Transformative Efforts to Combat the HIV/AIDS Epidemic while Leveraging Health Information Technology and Innovative Solutions

By Sheetal Shah, State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program, Project Officer and Larry Jessup, Regional Extension Center Cooperative Agreement Program, Project Officer

Cross-posted from
Larry Jessup, Regional Extension Center Cooperative Agreement Program, Project Officer

Sheetal Shah, State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program, Project Officer
To commemorate National HIV Testing Day on June 27th, we wanted to highlight the State of New York’s efforts to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic when it first emerged, and to celebrate the new and innovative tools the state is exploring to prevent HIV and to test, diagnose, treat, and care for those living with the disease.

In 2010, under the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, the Obama Administration articulated a simple, yet bold vision: “The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.” Continue reading