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September 2010

September 28, 2010

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HHS Convenes Second Meeting of NHAS Implementation Group

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HHS NHAS Implementation Group

Working towards the December 9 deadline for submitting its National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) implementation plan to the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services convened the second meeting of its department-wide NHAS Implementation Group yesterday.

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Changing How We Think about HIV Awareness

By Deb LeBel, AIDS.gov Partnerships Specialist

AIDS.gov funded 17 organizations serving communities of color, other communities at highest risk of HIV, and people living with HIV. The funding was intended to stimulate and support the organizations' efforts to use new media to plan for and support HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care activities and to share best practices within communities at highest risk of HIV. These projects received their microgrant awards in April and completed their funded activities in early September. Each project proposed the populations they wanted to reach and tools they wanted to use (from social networking to video and texting and more), so we've heard a wide range of project results so far.

Today, we start a four part series to share what these projects have learned. Because of the recent observance of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (September 27), we start with a look at how four of the programs worked to address the needs of men who have sex with men (MSM).

St. Hope Foundation

In Houston, St. Hope Foundation - the Fusion Center Exit Disclaimer worked with its community and young adult advisory boards and others to launch www.myFusiontea.org Exit Disclaimer. The website targets young African American MSM (YAAMSM), encourages holistic wellness, and provides HIV prevention information. Tim’m T. West, the Project Coordinator, said

[Our effort] truly changed the face of how we think about HIV awareness and prevention...[and] enabled FUSION to launch…a new way of mobilizing YMSM about HIV awareness and prevention.

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September 27, 2010

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Focusing HIV Prevention Efforts on Gay and Bisexual Men

By Brian Bond, Deputy Director of Public Liasion (Cross-posted from the Office of National AIDS Policy Blog)

Today is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. For me, every day is an “awareness day” about HIV/AIDS.  I feel it is important for me to talk about it, because I am increasingly concerned that many in the LGBT community don’t. I am worried about the kids out there and the generation that hasn’t seen the devastating impact of this epidemic the way my generation has.  Now more than ever we need to be talking about HIV/AIDS.  Just a few days ago The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new heartbreaking data showing that one in five gay and bisexual men in 21 major US cities are living with HIV.  I am one of those men. I have been living with HIV since 2001.  

I have the privilege of serving as the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and President Obama's Liaison to the LGBT community.  I want to share a personal perspective on the importance of the recently released National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States that was issued by the Obama Administration in July. While I work closely with the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), I was not directly involved in writing the plan, but I clearly have a personal stake in the mission.

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National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Dr. Howard Koh

Dr. Howard Koh, HHS

Since the first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981, gay men have been in the eye of the HIV hurricane in the United States—and they continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic in North America. 

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new study of HIV prevalence and unrecognized infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) in 21 major U.S. cities.  The study, published in the September 24 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that young MSM and MSM of color were least likely of all population groups to know of their infection. Of course AIDS has never been simply a "gay disease," however, the scientific data are clear—MSM are at greatly increased risk for getting HIV. CDC estimates that MSM account for nearly half (48%) of the more than one million people living with HIV in the U.S.

To highlight these special risks, the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) Exit Disclaimer launched the annual observance of National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD) on September 27, 2008. NGMHAAD refocuses attention on gay and bisexual men—the population that has been most severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.The recently unveiled National HIV/AIDS Strategy recognizes the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on gay and bisexual men, and calls for reorienting attention and resources to address the special prevention and treatment needs of this community.

As the Administration begins implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, it is especially timely that we pause to recognize the impact of HIV and AIDS among gay and bisexual men and commit to ending the suffering and loss of life. We also deeply respect and honor the many community members who have led public efforts for better prevention, education and treatment. Together we can work to stem the spread of HIV among gay and bisexual men, and indeed among all Americans, to ensure that those affected get the information, care, and services they need and deserve.

On this NGMHAAD, we encourage you to help promote the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Together, we can reach the future vision of a society where HIV is rare and everyone receives needed care.

September 23, 2010

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Youth, New Media, and HIV/AIDS: amfAR Congressional Briefing

By Miguel Gomez, AIDS.gov Director

Youth, New Media, and HIV/AIDS: amfAR Congressional Briefing

Lynne Mofenson, NIH, Margarita Figueroa-Gonzalez, HRSA, & Miguel Gomez, AIDS.gov

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in a Congressional briefing sponsored by amfARExit Disclaimer, HIV/AIDS and Youth: Moving Toward an HIV-Free Generation Exit Disclaimer. During my presentation, "Youth HIV/AIDS Education 2.0: Applying New Media to Extend the Reach of HIV/AIDS Programs Exit Disclaimer" (you can view the presentation slides on SlideShare Exit Disclaimer), I addressed four major themes:

Theme 1: New media is about reaching people where there are. And many youth are online or on their phones (or both!)

The Pew Internet & American Life Project Exit Disclaimer is a great resource for data on internet and mobile use among teens and other age groups. According to their report on teens and mobile phones Exit Disclaimer, 93% of teens ages 12-17 and young adults ages 18-29 are online. Pew also found that 75% of teens own a cell phone and teens send an average of 50 text messages per day.

Continue reading "Youth, New Media, and HIV/AIDS: amfAR Congressional Briefing" »

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