The Public Health Imperative to Integrate Drug User Health into Broader Health Care Systems

By Amy Killelea, Associate Director, Health Systems Integration, NASTAD

Principles of Harm Reduction“We must meet people where they are, and help more people on the path to better health … Together we can work toward the same mutual goals – to reduce the consequences of drug use, to prevent overdose deaths, and to help people live safer and healthier lives.” Michael Botticelli, Acting Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) speaking at the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference in Baltimore. Continue reading

Illinois health dept. discusses plans for PrEP assistance

By Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer, Windy City Media Group

Cross-posted from Windy City Media Group

Dr. Mildred Williamson

Dr. Mildred Williamson

With the 26th annual World AIDS Day commemorated Dec. 1 across the globe by communities, governments and organizations, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) HIV/AIDS Inter-Agency Taskforce unveiled strategies for the implementation of a program to dramatically improve access and affordability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication for at-risk individuals statewide. Continue reading

Six Lessons for Health Departments Using PrEP as an HIV Prevention Tool

By Dave Kern, ‎Manager, Infectious Disease Prevention Section at Washington State Department of Health

Dave Kern

Dave Kern

In Washington State, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of antiretroviral medication to prevent HIV infection, and what it means for our work. We’ve been inspired to acknowledge our fears, both known and hidden, and to seize the hope and promise that’s evolving before our eyes. We’ve given ourselves space to be curious, to make mistakes and to be OK with not creating the perfect plan. More importantly, we’ve made the decision to act, even as we continue to define our commitment. Continue reading

Improving the Sexual Health of Black Gay Men: A Health Department Approach

By Justin T. Rush, Nicholas A. Rango Fellow, NASTAD

2014 ManDate Conference

2014 ManDate Conference

At the beginning of her term as Chair of the National Alliance of State and Territorial Directors (NASTAD), Maria Courogen, Director of the Office of Infectious Disease for the Washington State Department of Health, charged health department HIV and viral hepatitis program staff across the nation with an ambitious yet important task: meet people where they are; go into communities where HIV is most prevalent and truly engage in those settings in a meaningful and equitable way. The notion was a simple and impactful one, leaning on the idea that people are not just their HIV status. Instead, there is a myriad of experiences – some stigmatizing – that many groups, most notably Black gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), encounter and it takes understanding and working through those experiences to truly have an impact. Continue reading

Raising the Bars: Addressing the Deterrent Effects of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination

By Lucy Slater, Director, Global Program, NASTAD

RTB Post #8 GraphicNASTAD’s Global Program builds the organizational, programmatic and human resource capacity of regional/state public sector HIV program counterparts around the world.

The HIV Care Continuum can help to identify needs and measure progress toward stronger outcomes in achieving an AIDS-free generation. NASTAD’s Global Program works with peer public health agencies in countries around the world to strengthen the HIV Care Continuum by providing targeted training, technical assistance and supportive supervision. The previous blog posts describing how we are “Raising the Bars” can be found below: Continue reading