Saturday, April 10, marks National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) 2021. Traditionally, it’s a “day to educate the public about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people,” according to the nonprofit Advocates for Youth, which spearheads NYHAAD.
The group adds, “The day also highlights the HIV prevention, treatment and care campaigns of young people in the U.S.”
This year, the HIV awareness day also includes a call to action. Youth advocates want you to help them convince Congress to pass the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act. “REPEAL” stands for: “Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal” HIV Discrimination.
The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act aims to modernize HIV crime laws, such as those that set harsh sentences for people with HIV who allegedly don’t disclose their status before sex—even if they’re undetectable and HIV was not transmitted. (To read a collection of POZ articles about such laws and efforts to change them, click #Criminalization.)
You can support Advocates for Youth’s call to action by filling out an online form that will generate a letter to send to members of Congress.
Greetings on this World AIDS Day, and my solidarity with all around the world as we confront the impact of colliding pandemics.
This year, the world agreed on a bold plan that, if leaders fulfil it, will end AIDS by 2030. That’s so exciting.
But today we, as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, issue a stark warning. AIDS remains a pandemic, the red light is flashing and only by moving fast to end the inequalities that drive the pandemic can we overcome it.
Where leaders are acting boldly and together, bringing together cutting-edge science, delivering services that meet all people’s needs, protecting human rights and sustaining adequate financing, AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections are becoming rare.
But this is only the case in some places and for some people.
Without the inequality-fighting approach we need to end AIDS, the world would also struggle to end the COVID-19 pandemic and would remain unprepared for the pandemics of the future. That would be profoundly dangerous for us all.
Progress in AIDS, which was already off track, is now under even greater strain as the COVID-19 crisis continues to rage, disrupting HIV prevention and treatment services, schooling, violence prevention programmes and more.
On our current trajectory, we aren’t bending the curve fast enough and risk an AIDS pandemic lasting decades. We have to move faster on a set of concrete actions agreed by United Nations Member States to address the inequalities that are driving HIV.
Through fighting the AIDS pandemic, we have learned a lot about what we need more of for AIDS and for all pandemics.
We urgently need sufficient community-led and community-based infrastructure as part of a strong public health system, underpinned by robust civil society accountability.
We need policies to ensure fair and affordable access to science.
Every new technology should reach each and everyone who needs it without delay.
We need to protect our health workers and expand their numbers to meet our urgent needs.
We must protect human rights and build trust in health systems.
It is these that will ensure we close the inequality gaps and end AIDS. But they are too often applied unevenly, are underfunded and are underappreciated.
I salute the front-line communities that have pioneered the approaches shown to be most effective, that have driven the momentum for change and that are pushing leaders to be bold. I urge you: keep pushing.
World leaders must work together urgently to tackle these challenges head-on. I urge you: be courageous in matching words with deeds.
There is not a choice to be made between ending the AIDS pandemic that is raging today and preparing for the pandemics of tomorrow. The only successful approach will achieve both. As of now, we are not on track to achieve either.
If we take on the inequalities that hold back progress, we can deliver on the promise to end AIDS by 2030. It is in our hands.
Every minute that passes, we are losing a precious life to AIDS. We don’t have time.
On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) invites stakeholders nationwide to a virtual webinar commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first report of what would become known as AIDS. The webinar—40 Years of Progress: It’s Time to End the HIV Epidemic— hosted by OIDP, United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps Officers at PACE (Prevention through Active Community Engagement) Regions 4, 6, and 9 will take place from 12:00–3:30 p.m. (ET). The webinar is open to the public.
Rachel L. Levine, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health, will offer remarks during the webinar.
May 19 is National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day devoted to eliminating HIV stigma in API communities. Learn more about the impact of HIV on these populations online at https://bit.ly/3gfhsPG and https://bit.ly/3djLa4q. ‘
If you’re looking for testing resources, you can go to https://gettested.cdc.gov and search by zip code to find local testing clinics. Pennsylvania residents can also go to www.getmyHIVtest.com and order a free HIV test kit through the mail.
All youth deserve access to comprehensive sexual health education. National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) is an opportunity to work together to make this a reality. By educating youth about the basics of HIV, how to protect themselves, find testing, treatment and care services, and confront HIV stigma in their communities, we are empowering them to take an active role in ending the HIV epidemic for future generations.
Today’s youth have many of the same hopes and dreams as previous generations. But we must also recognize they are distinct in many ways too. Their widespread passion for advocacy and social change sets them apart. They also face unique challenges and barriers when it comes to achieving those dreams.
In 2018, youth aged 13 to 24 made up 21% of the 37,832 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas. Most new youth diagnoses were among gay, bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (MSM). Most of these new diagnoses occurred among young Black and Latinx MSM. Yet, in 2018, youth were the least likely age group to be aware they had HIV, remain in care, or achieve viral suppression. One of the most important things we can do to change this trend is to provide accurate, age-appropriate, and culturally sensitive information about HIV.
An open letter from Deron C. Burton, MD, Acting Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…
March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health. As we continue our work toward ending America’s HIV epidemic, we acknowledge the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. For some women, the impact of COVID-19 has made it more difficult to access HIV services. On NWGHAAD, join us in making sure all women have continued access to HIV testing (including self-testing), prevention, and treatment and care. Together, we can prevent new HIV infections and help women with HIV stay healthy.
In recent years, we have seen progress toward reducing HIV diagnoses among women in the United States and dependent areas. From 2014 to 2018, HIV diagnoses decreased 7% among women overall, including a 10% decline among Black/African American women. While these numbers are encouraging, there is still much work to do to address gender and race-related disparities. In 2018, more than 7,000 women received an HIV diagnosis. Black/African American women made up 57% (4,097) of those diagnoses, followed by White women (21%; 1,491) and Hispanic/Latina women (18%; 1,269). Making the most of the full toolkit of HIV prevention and treatment strategies can raise awareness and help to prevent new HIV infections among women.
Many women without HIV can benefit from proven prevention options such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and the related support services associated with these interventions. Women with HIV should be offered treatment and the appropriate services that help people with HIV get in care, stay in care, and adhere to antiretroviral therapy (ART) so that they become virally suppressed to protect their health and the health of their sexual partners. Condoms provide additional protection for women regardless of status to prevent HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and unplanned pregnancy. Despite the promise of these tools to help end the HIV epidemic, they only work when the people who need them most can access them. Recent CDC data reveal that only 7% of women who could benefit from PrEP were prescribed PrEP. We must continue to help women get the tools they need to protect their health, including addressing structural barriers such as systemic racism that perpetuate health disparities.
As part of the HHS Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America initiative, CDC and other federal agencies are working together to prevent new HIV infections by ensuring everyone has access to HIV prevention options, such as PrEP. To address cost barriers, HHS launched Ready, Set, PrEP, a nationwide program that makes PrEP medications available at no cost to people who don’t have insurance that covers prescription drugs. The program also addresses transportation barriers by giving people a choice to have their PrEP medications sent directly to their home or health care provider. For women who don’t qualify for the Ready, Set, PrEP program, Gilead’s Advancing Access Program and other state PrEP assistance programs are available.
To raise awareness about the many HIV prevention options for women, we encourage you to download and use materials from CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign. The new materials broaden our portfolio and build on the existing HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and stigma resources. You can also watch our new webisode, “Hey Friend: Let’s Talk Sexual Health,” which features Black women discussing sexual health. On NWGHAAD, keep the conversation going by sharing social media content from our digital toolkit using the #StopHIVTogether and #NWGHAAD hashtags.
Thank you for your continued commitment to HIV prevention during this challenging time. By ensuring women have equal access to quality HIV prevention and care services, we can achieve health equity and end the HIV epidemic.
On 1 December WHO joins partners in paying tribute to all those working to provide HIV services, and in calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to maintain essential HIV services during COVID 19 and beyond. It is a call to focus on vulnerable groups who are already at risk and expand coverage to children and adolescents. And in 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, it is a call for more protection and support to these health workers who have long been on the frontline of HIV service delivery. We can all contribute to the effort to end AIDS and make the world a healthier place.