World AIDS Day is honored annually on December 1 to increase HIV awareness, destigmatize the status, and serve as a marker of collective experiences that have impacted, and by their own will, empowered the community of individuals living with HIV/AIDS. To highlight the urgent need to end the inequalities that continue to drive AIDS and other pandemics around the world, UNAIDS has chosen the theme for this year’s World AIDS Day: End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics. As well as being central to ending AIDS, tackling inequalities will advance the human rights of key populations and people living with HIV, make societies better prepared to beat COVID-19 and other pandemics, and support economic recovery and stability. NACCHO remembers and mourns the millions of people who have lost their lives to this condition and the stigma that follows it. We acknowledge the strength of this resilient community and appreciate the local health department (LHD) officials that work passionately to provide this community with the resources and healthcare they deserve.
Resources are crucial for LHDs to prescribe, refer/link to care, and educate their clientele on HIV treatment such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for HIV prevention. More LHDs have engaged in PrEP implementation since 2015, but still, fewer than half provide or support PrEP services in their jurisdictions. Preliminary results from a 2020 survey of LHDs reveal that over one-third of respondents engaged in PrEP implementation report that they do not have specific funding to support their PrEP work. Alongside PrEP services, widespread adoption and scale-up of successful of rapid antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery models is crucial in efforts to increase virologic suppression and reduce HIV transmission. To advance this work, NACCHO is supporting Cicatelli Associates, Inc (CAI) in implementing the Rapid Anti-Retroviral Treatment Dissemination Assistance Provider (DAP) Program, which aims to assist health care providers in initiating ART for HIV quickly by identifying the most innovative and effective models for providing rapid ART services and giving health departments and providers tools to duplicate them.
Health is a fundamental right, but racial inequities, gender, and sexual prejudices are substantial barriers to HIV treatment. In the U.S., 42% and 27% of HIV diagnoses respectively are among Black and Latinx people, and despite reductions in overall HIV rates since 2014, trends are increasing among specific communities, especially young gay and bisexual men of color. In 2021, report from the Center from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that four in ten transgender women surveyed in seven major U.S. cities have HIV. These findings demonstrate the pressing need for scaled-up HIV prevention and care strategies for transgender women. Health disparities have contributed to HIV treatment gaps for far too long. To combat this health inequity issue, CDC announced in July 2021 that state and local health departments were awarded $117 million to help rebuild and begin to expand HIV prevention and treatment efforts as the U.S. continues to respond to COVID-19. The awards are part of the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative, which funds 57 priority areas to expand and tailor key HIV prevention strategies to community needs.
In conjunction with the federal funds awarded to state and local health departments, NACCHO is proud to partner with National Association of State and Territorial Apprenticeship Directors (NASTAD) and others to provide technical and capacity-building assistance to local health departments funded through the EHE initiative.
Do your part this Worlds AIDS Day and share the CDC Official Digital Toolkit. This digital toolkit highlights the 2021 World AIDS Day themes and the people who answered the call during the #MyVoiceMyAction campaign. Earlier this year, the National Prevention Information Network collected quotes, photos, and videos from people worldwide whose lives are affected by HIV. Please share these voices through social media messages, graphics, videos, and more this month and throughout the year.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for members of every community to help move the nation closer to an HIV-free generation.
For health departments in EHE jurisdictions:
Interested in technical assistance or peer learning? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your technical assistance request or to join our listserv for local health department EHE staff.
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Brooks, K. (n.d.). Rapid Anti-Retroviral Treatment Dissemination Assistance Provider (DAP). Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.caiglobal.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1263&Itemid=2051
HIV.gov June 02, 2. (2021, June 02). U.S. statistics. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://bit.ly/3G4TBvJ
Grant, L., & Smith, D. K. (2021, October 8). 2020 PrEP Survey Objectives and Methods. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.naccho.org/uploads/downloadable-resources/Programs/Community-Health/NACCHO-PrEP-NSHC-2021-Final.pdf
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HIV infection, risk, prevention, and testing behaviors among transgender women. (2021, April 15). Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2021/nhbs-transgender-data.html
Jurisdictions. (2021, September 07). Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/endhiv/jurisdictions.html
World AIDS Day toolkit. (2021, November 16). Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/worldaidsday/index.html