Digest (March 1, 2023)

Mar 01, 2023

HIV, STI, Viral Hepatitis, and Harm Reduction Digest

March 1, 2023

NACCHO News and Announcements

NACCHO’s Smoking Supplies Survey

If you are an organization that offers or has considered offering harm reduction services, we invite you to complete NACCHO’s brief 10 – 15 minute survey on smoking supplies. The goal of this optional survey is to help NACCHO better understand the implementation of smoking supplies (i.e., the distribution of supplies such as pipes, mouthpieces, hygiene and first aid supplies, etc. to reduce the risks associated with smoking drugs) to inform future work and advocacy. Please contact Kat Kelley, Senior Program Analyst, HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis with any questions at [email protected]. In addition, please complete this survey by March 17, 2023.

Impact of Mpox on LHDs

NACCHO 2022 Mpox Survey

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) conducted a brief survey to gather information from LHDs on experiences, impact, and response efforts related to the Mpox outbreak. The survey was led by the organization’s Research and Evaluation and HIV, STI, and Viral Hepatitis teams and distributed online via Qualtrics Survey Software™ to a convenience sample of LHDs. Check out the findings from the survey here as well as our blog to read more.

RIM RFA Deadlines Extended

Good news! NACCHO has extended the deadline for both RIM RFAs to March 10, 2023 at 11:59 pm ET. Learn more about the RFAs here:

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Strengthening Local Public Health among Afghan Refugee, Immigrant, and Migrant (RIM) Communities - NACCHO

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Strengthening COVID-19 Prevention and Mitigation Strategies among Refugee, Immigrant, and Migrant (RIM) Communities - NACCHO

DIS Scholarship Opportunity

This meeting will be held in person in New Orleans, LA on May 16-18, 2023, with pre-conference events starting on May 15, 2023. DIS will have the opportunity to attend numerous sessions focused on STI prevention and control, as well as sessions specific to their workforce with opportunities to network with other DIS. The preliminary schedule for the conference can be viewed here. Scholarships will cover conference registration, lodging, travel, and per diem expenses. Please note that this scholarship will not be awarded to previous scholarship recipients. For more information regarding the scholarship and to apply, please visit: DIS Scholarship Application (2023) (google.com). If there are any additional questions regarding this opportunity, please contact: Daisha Washington ([email protected]) or Leo Parker ([email protected]).

HIV, STI, and Hepatitis Resources and News

Webinar Series Exploring Syphilis among Communities of People who Use Drugs

The United States is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of drug overdose and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including syphilis. These epidemics are closely connected, with high rates of STIs among people who use drugs, high rates of substance use disorder among STI clinic clients, and a strong association between substance use and congenital syphilis; this is in part due to shared root causes and risk factors, such as unstable housing, involvement with the criminal justice system, poor access to healthcare, and stigma and discrimination including from medical providers. NACCHO with AIDS United, NASTAD, NCSD, and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board will be co-hosting a webinar series exploring syphilis among communities of people who use drugs.

This series consists of five monthly sessions with the first webinar, “If You’re Not Seeing It Yet, You Will: Collaborating to Address Syphilis Among People Who Use Drugs” taking place on March 28th, 2023, at 3pm ET (2pm CT, 1pm MT, 12pm PT, 11am AKT). In the first webinar we will provide an overview of the latest syphilis data with a focus on its connections to substance use and people who use drugs, as well as the key systems and stakeholders working at this intersection. Interactive breakouts will follow based on sector – harm reductionists will gather with STI experts and harm reduction experts will welcome STI staff. A brief Q&A will close the session. Please register here.

Racial Equity Technical Assistance from Health

NASTAD’s PS19-1906 Component A: Ending the Epidemic (EHE) Technical Assistance (TA) team, in partnership with racial and health equity consulting firm, Health Justice, is offering direct technical assistance (TA) to EHE-funded health departments and community-based organizations to provide targeted support around advancing racial equity within their HDs/organizations.

If your HD/organization needs support in advancing racial equity in its work to end the HIV epidemic, we invite you to place a direct TA request to receive focused support from the Health Justice team which will be funded by the CDC.

Please direct TA requests to Donovan Cousan at [email protected] & include the following details:

  1. Jurisdiction and HD/Organizational Name
  2. What TA you are requesting, objectives, and how you intend to respond
  3. The main point of contact for the request
  4. Dates of request & support given

We appreciate your support in helping us prioritize the operationalization of race equity across our EHE jurisdictions. Please reach out to Donovan Cousan if you have questions or concerns.

PrEP4All and Killelea Consulting Make the Case for Investing in National HIV PrEP Preparedness

In a new Perspectives article, “Investing In National HIV PrEP Preparedness,” published on February 25th in the New England Journal of Medicine, PrEP4All’s Acting Executive Director Jeremiah Johnson and former Managing Director of Advocacy & Organizing Kenyon Farrow along with Amy Killelea of Killelea Consulting and Johns Hopkins University make the case for the Biden Administration, Congress, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to immediately advance a National PrEP Program as part of a broader effort to improve public health responses for marginalized communities.

“A new approach to accessing HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could provide a blueprint for responding to other public health emergencies” the authors argue. “Over the past year and a half, health policy experts, community PrEP advocates, and health care service providers have laid the groundwork for scaling up innovative efforts in HIV prevention, as recommended by the [CDC]. Advocates are calling for a program that empowers the federal government to secure fair public health prices for PrEP medications and related laboratory tests for uninsured persons; builds capacity throughout a PrEP provider network, which encompasses clinical care providers as well as nonclinical community based organizations and other partners that can reach people who aren’t accessing traditional health care sites; and invests in community education efforts.”

The piece comes at a critical time for advocacy for a National PrEP Program, as advocates urge the CDC to outline an initial 2023 investment for a National PrEP Program that breaks with status quo block grants and incomplete funding approaches that have failed to get PrEP to communities of color. Stakeholders are also looking to the Biden Administration to chart a viable political course forward for additional Congressional investment in a National PrEP Program in FY24.

“Ending the U.S. HIV epidemic requires systemic reforms that center health equity, efficiency, and innovative delivery models. We believe Congress and the Biden administration should support a national PrEP program to shift our federal public health paradigm in a way that improves responses to other health concerns, especially for marginalized communities.”

The proposed national PrEP program has received the support of 120 organizations, along with over 6000 signatures and over 1500 letters to Congress and the White House from advocates, community members, and PrEP users.

SURE Housing RFP Deadline Extended

The Supporting Replication of Housing Interventions in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS (SURE Housing) Program is designed to reduce disparities in HIV and housing outcomes among youth and young adults (ages 18-24), people who have been justice-involved, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) community. As such, the SURE Housing Program Team is soliciting proposals, and will distribute 10 awards across these three priority populations to promote the replication of interventions that address their unique barriers to health and housing. This notice is to inform all potential applicants we have extended the RFP deadline to March 8, 2023, at 11:59pm Eastern Time. Thus far, many applications received have indicated an intent to serve the LGBTQ+ population. We strongly encourage additional organizations to submit applications to serve the youth and young adults or justice-involved populations, as appropriate to skill and experience, as well as demonstrated need. Any organization that has already submitted a proposal to serve the LGBTQ+ focus area and who wishes to modify their application to serve the youth and young adults, or justice-involved population may submit a new application by the deadline of March 8. This new application will supersede any previous applications submitted.

To learn more about the SURE Housing Initiative kindly follow the link below. If you have any question or comments concerning the RFP or deadline extension, kindly email [email protected] with your organization’s name in the subject line of the message.

Inclusive Sexual Health Services Tool

The National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH) is launching a new tool “Inclusive Sexual Health Services: Practical Guidelines for Providers & Clinics” to cultivate a clinical environment that supports primary care providers in the delivery of inclusive sexual health services. This guide is organized into six sections, starting with workforce and staff training and then following with the overall client flow during a health care visit. It also includes an appendix outlining specific STI screening recommendations for specific populations. We recognize some of these practices may not be relevant to all institutions/health centers because of various policies, resources, and/or state laws. Developed by NCSH’s Health Care Action Group, which is comprised of leading health care provider organizations, this tool is available at no cost through NCSH’s website; you can use it in your clinical practice and share it with your colleagues. This guide was adapted from the American College Health Foundation’s Implementation Guide for Sexual Health Best Practices in College Settings and also cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2021 Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines.

HIV is Not a Crime: Awareness Day and New CDC HIV Criminalization Legal and Policy Assessment Tool

HIV criminalization laws and policies increase stigma, exacerbate disparities, and may discourage HIV testing. Current scientific and medical evidence should inform state laws and practices that criminalize actions by people with HIV. States should consider updating or repealing outdated laws and practices. This HIV Criminalization Legal and Policy tool was developed to assist states’ decisionmakers in assessing their HIV criminalization laws alignment with current scientific and medical evidence, and their intersection with HIV data privacy laws.

The tool enables an objective assessment of a jurisdiction’s laws, regulations, and executive orders that control HIV surveillance and prevention. The tool can also help identify opportunities to strengthen legal and policy protections for people with HIV — protections that are also likely to benefit public health more broadly—by aligning them with evidence-based best practices.

To commemorate the observance of HIV Is Not a Crime Awareness Day, HIV.gov recently spoke with Harold J. Phillips, MRP, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy about HIV criminalization for their latest FYI video series. Watch to hear directly from Mr. Phillips as he discusses HIV criminalization and the importance of modernizing HIV criminalization laws.

News to Note

Herpes Can Be Devastating but Treatment and Testing Remain Scant - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Upcoming Opportunities

Register Now for STD Engage 2023

Early bird prices now until March 3! The event will take place in New Orleans, LA on May 16-18, 2023; pre-conference events on May 15.
Register Here.

NCSH Open Forum

Mark your calendars! We are very excited to announce that our next NCSH Open Forum—Results from a National Survey of Young Adults on Communicating with Partners about Sexual Health and Relationships—will take place on Thursday, March 16 from 2:00-3:00pm ET. You can register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZckceqorD4uGdB14ennR2yUXUFezs-HuaJH.

During the Forum, we will share the results of a national survey of 1,256 young adults, which explored young adults’ communications with partners about sex, sexual health, and relationships, the barriers young adults face, the perceived benefits of open communication, and the skills and information they seek to be better communicators. (Just a little context, if this sounds familiar – at the NCSH annual meeting in September, we shared results from 16 focus groups on these topics). We will also engage in a discussion about the implications for messaging and our work moving forward.

NCSH Open Forums explore emerging issues in sexual health and provide an opportunity for discussion amongst coalition members, whether that be on changing STI screening guidelines, or the impact of new trends. They will typically include a presentation and time for open discussion.

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