SAMHSA Feed

April 26, 2011

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SAMHSA, Behavioral Health and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Part II)

By Gretchen Stiers, PhD, HIV/AIDS Policy Lead, Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gretchen Stiers

Gretchen Stiers, SAMHSA

As the HIV/AIDS policy lead at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), I am pleased to return to the blog to discuss more of the activities that SAMHSA is engaged in to support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). In my last post, I discussed SAMHSA’s commitment to addressing the behavioral health problems that can put individuals at greater risk for HIV infection, co-occur with HIV infection, and hinder access to treatment and maintenance in care for mental and substance use disorders as well as for primary medical services. I also discussed SAMHSA’s efforts to examine the funding criteria that allow States to use five percent of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funds for HIV/AIDS services, and our support of the 12 Cities Project. Today, I would like to provide an overview of how some of our current behavioral health activities are aligned with each of the three goals of the NHAS. Behavioral health refers to emotional health in general and the choices/actions that affect wellness. Behavioral health problems include substance abuse or misuse, alcohol and drug addiction, serious psychological distress, suicide, and mental and substance use disorders.

Goal 1: Reducing New HIV Infections

To reduce the number of new HIV infections, the NHAS calls for us to re-orient our prevention efforts by realigning resources to serve the populations at highest risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV including those with mental and substance use disorders1. The NHAS recommends that HIV testing and other comprehensive HIV prevention services be coupled with treatment and services for individuals with mental and substance use disorders. To help assess the need for additional services, SAMHSA is conducting a needs assessment to determine the distribution and frequency of HIV testing in SAMHSA-funded substance abuse and mental health treatment clinics. We will use the results from the assessment to determine areas for expanding HIV testing capacity in SAMHSA-funded clinics and centers. While many behavioral health service providers are not HIV specialists, their patient populations may be engaging in behaviors that put them at higher risk for HIV infection or hinder access to HIV treatment and maintenance in care. SAMHSA will develop resources, technical assistance and training to help substance abuse and mental health treatment providers offer HIV prevention services (such as access to rapid testing) and to increase their capacity to link people with HIV/AIDS to primary care in a timely manner.

Continue reading "SAMHSA, Behavioral Health and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Part II)" »

March 02, 2011

3

SAMHSA, Behavioral Health and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Part I)

By Gretchen Stiers, PhD, HIV/AIDS Policy Lead, Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gretchen Stiers

Gretchen Stiers, SAMHSA

As the recently appointed Federal inter-agency liaison for HIV/AIDS at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), I am pleased to join the discussion here on the AIDS.gov blog about how the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) is being implemented across the Federal government. In support of the NHAS, SAMHSA is engaged in a variety of activities that address the behavioral health needs of people at high risk for or living with HIV/AIDS as well as efforts to improve coordination across the government and with State, Tribal and community partners. In this post, I’ll highlight just a few of these activities but I’ll be blogging again soon with more information about other NHAS-related activities underway at SAMHSA.

Behavioral Health and HIV/AIDS
As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. SAMHSA’s new strategic plan, “Leading Change: A Plan for SAMHSA’s Roles and Actions 2011-2014,” aims to improve the Nation’s behavioral health, transform health care in America, and achieve excellence in operations. Strategic Initiative 5, Health Reform, specifically addresses the behavioral health problems of people at highest risk for or living with HIV/AIDS and emphasizes SAMHSA’s commitment to implementing the NHAS. In fiscal year 2011 and beyond, SAMHSA remains committed to addressing the behavioral health problems that can put individuals at greater risk for HIV infection or that co-occur with HIV infection and can hinder access to treatment and maintenance in care.

Continue reading "SAMHSA, Behavioral Health and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Part I)" »

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