HIV Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

HIV Technical Assistance and Capacity Building image
HIV Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

The highest rate of HIV diagnosis in the US are found in the Southern region, particularly among Georgia, Florida and Louisiana (24.9, 22.9 and 22.9 diagnoses per 100,000 people). Southern states (AL, AR, DE, DC, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV) accounted for approximately 46% of all people with HIV, including an estimated 86% (960,351) of people were aware of their infection at the end of 2015. Knowledge of HIV status and the health of people with HIV vary widely across the US, with Southern states generally behind other regions in some key indicators across the HIV care continuum. The majority of new diagnosis (74%), in 2017, in the southern US region are people of color, mostly Blacks and Latinx.

However, even with increased emphasis on HIV prevention since the publishing of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in 2010, CDC’s High Impact Prevention approach and the HIV continuum of care, current prevention efforts are persistently challenged by people living with HIV who are unaware of their infection and/or not receiving consistent antiretroviral treatment and care; inequitable access to prevention services and tools among diverse populations; sustained disparities in HIV rates caused by social determinant of health; constrained resources for HIV prevention and lastly, a decreased HIV risk perception.

CDC announced the competitive availability of fiscal year 2019 funds to implement a capacity building assistance (CBA) program to strengthen the capacity and improve the performance of the nation’s HIV prevention workforce. CenterLink’s LGBT HealthLink along with three (3) additional Core Partners, My Brother’s Keeper, Inc (MBK), University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Express Personal Health (EPH) Black AIDS Institute (BAI), are the co-recipients of this funding. Specifically, the proposed ACCESS TO PREVENTION AND CARE CAPACITY BUILDING ASSISTANCE PROJECT (APAC) will focus on regional technical assistance that supports clinical HIV testing and prevention for persons with HIV in the southern region, comprised of AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV and with approximately 57 CDC-funded programs.

The work of this project will support the HIV prevention workforce serving HIV-negative persons at greatest risk for HIV infection which includes Blacks/African Americans; Hispanics/Latinos; all races/ethnicities of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM); people who inject drugs (PWID); transgender persons and other vulnerable populations. CenterLink’s role in this project is imperative in reaching LGBT communities that may be at significant risk of acquiring HIV and ensuring equity in HIV prevention services for these respective populations.

Overall, it is imperative for HIV prevention efforts to be tailored to their respective audiences to be relevant, cost-effective and achieve meaningful outcomes. In addition, strengthening collaboration among health care providers, community-based organizations, LGBTQ organizations and state and local health departments to support programs that address barriers to HIV care, antiretroviral therapy prescription, medication adherence, and sustained viral suppression among communities of color that are vulnerable to HIV acquisition, could be beneficial in eliminating racial/ ethnic disparities.