Young Black Gay Men: What Do We Need?

By Brandon Horsley-Thompson, Participant in the 2013 NASTAD Black Gay Men’s Technical Assistance Meeting

Brandon Horsely-ThompsonI came into the field of HIV prevention to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s been a long road full of deaths, fighting within the community, mismanagement, and numerous encounters with young Black gay men, who felt like their lives were not worth living. I recently attended NASTAD’s Black Gay Men’s Technical Assistance meeting, jam packed with information about the Affordable Care Act and enrollment, state based population specific HIV continuums of care for Texas and Tennessee, and new advancements in biomedical prevention – PrEP and home testing. The meeting put into context how all of these systems interplay with the health department and its constituents and provided strategies for working with Black gay men in this ever shifting landscape. However, at the beginning of the second day of the meeting, I was asked “What do you need as young Black gay man?” I sat silent for some time. What did I need? Emotionally? Mentally? Support systems? Was the facilitator talking about the collective “you,” as young Black gay men or me individually? I had never considered the question as I had gone about this work, and needless to say, I was stumped. I spoke from the heart. Continue reading

Maintaining Focus on the HIV and STD Epidemics among Gay Men – A CONCEPT from the Louisiana Department of Health

By Isaiah Webster III, Senior Manager, Health Equity/Prevention

Louisiana Wellness Center ProjectBefore there was AIDS, there was GRID or “gay-related immune deficiency.” Given the mystery and hysteria of 1982, GRID seemed like an appropriate moniker for an immune system “plague” that seemed to mostly afflict gay men. However, scientists quickly realized that GRID wasn’t a “gay plague” at all; rather it was a social disease capable of afflicting almost anyone. GRID became known as AIDS, caused by a retrovirus known as HIV – the human immunodeficiency virus.  Continue reading

Mise en place d’un système intégré de surveillance pour la tuberculose et l’infection au VIH en Haïti

Ecrit par Dr Erlantz Hyppolite, Manager de recherche pour la NASTAD Haïti, et Anna Carroll, Associé, NASTAD Global Program

“Nous ne pouvons pas gagner la bataille contre le SIDA si nous ne combattons pas également la tuberculose.”

- Nelson Mandela, XVe Conférence internationale sur le SIDA, Bangkok, Thaïlande Continue reading

HIV Law Should Reflect Medicine’s Reality

By Randy Mayer, Chief, Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis, Iowa Department of Public Health

(Originally reported in The Des Moines Register)

Recent advances in HIV prevention and care have been nothing short of remarkable.  It appears we have finally turned a corner on the HIV epidemic.

Randy Mayer, Chief, Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis, Iowa Department of Public Health

Randy Mayer, Chief, Bureau of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis, Iowa Department of Public Health

Medications can now prevent HIV infection if taken before or after exposure.  Combinations of medications can nearly eliminate the ability of infected persons who strictly adhere to medication regimens to transmit the virus.

Testing soon after infection, promoting immediate treatment regardless of symptoms, and ensuring continued access to medications and adherence to treatment regimens help greatly decrease HIV transmission.  Public health programs help those newly diagnosed with HIV to notify and advise their partners to be tested. Continue reading