How Black Gay Men Are Taking a Lead in the Fight against HIV

By Blake Rowley, Manager, Health Equity and Prevention, NASTAD

White House ONAP Director, Douglas M. Brooks, with Blake Rowley.

White House ONAP Director, Douglas M. Brooks, with Blake Rowley.

The health disparities faced by Black gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have become one of the most salient issues of the day. A number of issue briefs, memoranda, and speeches addressing the State of the Black Gay Union have stated the importance of this issue; however, far less has been done to address the issues this community faces or empower key stakeholders. The Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership Initiative (YBGLI) is a national coalition of young Black gay, bisexual, same gender loving men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) from around the country addressing issues disproportionately affecting their peers, especially HIV prevention, care and treatment. Additionally, the YBGLI seeks to build and cultivate young leaders within the Black gay community, creating space for more young Black gay men to take the torch when the time comes and continue the fight against HIV. Further, YBGLI seeks to develop the capacity and knowledge of the larger young Black gay male community. 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

How Health Departments Are Addressing the Viral Hepatitis Epidemic in the U.S.

By Maria Courogen, Director of the Office of Infectious Disease, Washington State Department of Health

Maria Courogen

Maria Courogen, Washington State AIDS Director, speaking at the launch of the updated Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.

In my role in Washington State, I oversee the state health department’s work in the areas of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. In my role as a member of NASTAD’s Executive Committee and Chair-Elect, I work with state health department colleagues across the country, many of whom have a similar portfolio of work, to provide leadership in the country’s response to HIV and hepatitis. As such, On April 3, I participated in an event hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the release of the next iteration of the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.

Continue reading

One Year of HIV Case-based Surveillance in Guyana: Celebrating Successes and Recognizing Challenges

By Anna Carroll, Senior Associate, Global Program, NASTAD

Sunil and Homechand are both HIV Volunteer Counseling and Testing (VCT) counselors in the Berbice region of Guyana, one of the more developed and populated regions in the country. Despite major funding challenges in the region, Sunil and Homechand continue to demonstrate their commitment to combatting the epidemic and improving the health of the Berbice population, testing between 70 and 100 people each month for HIV.       Continue reading