By Justin T. Rush, Nicholas A. Rango Fellow, NASTAD
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
June 11, 2014 – The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) are launching “Addressing Stigma: A Blueprint for HIV/STD Prevention and Care Outcomes for Black and Latino Gay Men.” The blueprint contains 17 recommendations for reducing public health stigma that prevents Black and Latino gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) from receiving optimal health care. Health departments will receive four courtesy copies via mail to distribute across programs (i.e., HIV prevention and care, STD programs).
By Blake Rowley, Manager, Health Equity and Prevention, NASTAD
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
By Brandon Horsley-Thompson, Participant in the 2013 NASTAD Black Gay Men’s Technical Assistance Meeting
I 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