Maximizing Health, Minimizing Harm: The Role of Public Health Programs in Drug User Health

By Mariah Johnson, Manager Viral Hepatitis/Policy & Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

Maximizing Health, Minimizing Harm: Drug User Health ToolkitIn February 2015, reports surfaced of an outbreak of new HIV cases in Scott County, Indiana. The initial 26 cases of HIV, first confirmed in December, were followed by more cases (now nearly 90 cases with the majority involving hepatitis C [HCV] co-infection). The cause was the injection of the prescription painkiller Opana. In an effort to combat the outbreak – the largest in the state’s history – Indiana Governor Mike Pence authorized an emergency 30 day needle exchange program in Scott County, administered by state health officials, which opened earlier this week. This was a major development from a Governor who has not supported this intervention in a state where needle exchange programs have long been outlawed. Yet in the face of an historic HIV (and HCV) outbreak, Governor Pence recognized the need for a public health approach guided by the evidence, just as numerous physicians, health departments, and countless community-based and national organizations have before him. Continue reading

Increasing Access to Treatment for HIV and Hepatitis via Patient Assistance Programs and Cost-Sharing Assistance Programs

By Amanda Bowes, Associate, Health Care Access and Viral Hepatitis, NASTAD

Patient Assistance ProgramsThe treatment landscape for both HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) is evolving in exciting and dramatic ways. This excitement is often curbed, however, by high priced drugs and/or restrictive insurance practices that impacted populations face in accessing health care services.  Continue reading

Increasing Access to Treatment for HIV and Hepatitis via Patient and Cost-Sharing Assistance Programs

By Amanda Bowes, Associate, Health Care Access and Viral Hepatitis, NASTADPatient Assistance Programs

The treatment landscape for both HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) is evolving in exciting and dramatic ways. This excitement is often curbed, however, by high priced drugs and restrictive insurance practices that impacted populations face when accessing health care services. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes an unprecedented expansion of access to both private and public health insurance, the cost of insurance (i.e., premiums, co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles) remain too high for some individuals, even with the availability of federal subsidies. Continue reading

Why I’m Stepping Down and Passing the Leadership Baton

By Julie Scofield, Executive Director, NASTAD

Julie Scofield, Executive Director, NASTAD

After 22 years leading the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), I have decided that it is time for a change. When I opened our doors in 1993, I was determined to help a dedicated group of state AIDS directors forge a common voice to advocate for an urgent response to the AIDS epidemic across the U.S. At that time, Ryan White programs were in their infancy, effective prevention interventions were lacking or being blocked by political forces, and the numbers of deaths from AIDS were still on the rise with little treatment to offer. Today, it is primarily the lack of political will and adequate funding that prevent us from ending the HIV epidemic here and around the world.   Continue reading

NASTAD Executive Director Julie Scofield Announces Plans to Step Down and Pass the Leadership Baton

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Meico Whitlock
202-434-8090
mwhitlock@NASTAD.org

NASTAD Executive Director Julie Scofield Announces Plans to Step Down and Pass the Leadership Baton

Leading HIV and Hepatitis C Treatment Expert Murray Penner Named New Executive Director

February 19, 2015, Washington, DC – After a remarkable 22 years leading the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), Julie Scofield will step down as executive director in March. Murray Penner, currently deputy executive director, will succeed her starting April 1, 2015. In planning her eventual departure, Ms. Scofield proposed to NASTAD’s Executive Committee in October 2013 that Mr. Penner succeed her as NASTAD’s Executive Director when she stepped down. Following the approval of that succession plan, Ms. Scofield and Mr. Penner have been leading NASTAD collaboratively to ensure his readiness to assume the leadership role. Mr. Penner was the unanimous choice to lead the organization and will become only the second executive director in NASTAD’s 23-year history. Continue reading