Category Archives: Prevention

Last call: Get involved in planning HIV prevention and care in Pennsylvania

The HIV Planning Group (HPG) is a group of volunteers who offer a range of HIV-related experience from around the state. There primary function is to develop the multi-year Comprehensive HIV Care Service Plan. The 5-year Plan provides guidance to the Department of Health, and other organizations in the state, in addressing HIV disease in the state. It covers a range of topics regarding prevention, testing, access to care, quality treatment, and helping people stay in care. You can access a pdf of the 2017-2021 plan here.

In addition, HPG members review the Department of Health’s applications for funding from The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Heath Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). They also provide input and recommendations to the Division of HIV/AIDS on other care and prevention related issues.

Applications for HPG membership can be found at StopHIV.com.

HPCP flyer

Intervention Groups May Help Lower HIV Risk Among Gay, Bisexual Youth

From the Pharmacy Times

Research published in AIDS and Behavior show that parents in an intervention group with gay or bisexual sons can employ effective communication tactics, specifically about condoms and HIV, and other parenting behaviors to help keep their children healthy.

The study is the first to show evidence of positive effects in a randomized controlled trial with the parents of gay or bisexual sons, according to the authors. They added that these results are important because approximately 80% of all HIV infections among teens are from the gay and bisexual population. There were very few previous public health interventions seeking to lower the HIV risk among this group, according to the study.

“By focusing on the parents, this study shows we might be able to reduce HIV risk among gay and bisexual male youth,” said David Huebner, professor of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, in a press release. “Parents represent an untapped yet promising resource in preventing HIV infection and improving sexual health among this underserved population.”

Read the full article.

Health Alert: If you’re sexually active, get a full screening for sexually transmitted infections

The CDC is reporting the number of new sexually transmitted infections continues to go up, with the highest number of STIs in the U.S. ever.

The newly released CDC 2020 STD Surveillance Report found that at the end of 2020:

  • Reported cases of gonorrhea and primary & secondary (P&S) syphilis were up 10% and 7%, respectively, compared to 2019.
  • Syphilis among newborns (i.e., congenital syphilis) also increased, with reported cases up nearly 15% from 2019, and 235% from 2016Early data indicate primary and secondary syphilis and congenital syphilis cases continued to increase in 2021 as well.

As a result, the CDC is recommending that anyone who is sexually active get a full screening for STIs. To find local testing clinics near you, go to https://gettested.cdc.gov/. Most clinics are free.

To find out how to prevent STIs, you can go to the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/default.htm.

S.T.I.s Are on the Rise, Still

From the New York Times

Rates of many sexually transmitted infections continued to climb during the first year of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement posted to its website on Tuesday. While overall there were 2.4 million infections recorded in 2020, down from a record high of 2.6 million in 2019, diagnosed cases of certain sexually transmitted diseases surged.

Cases of congenital syphilis, which occurs in newborns who contract the disease from their mothers, reached the highest numbers in 26 years, rising by 235 percent since 2016. Rates of primary and secondary syphilis rose by 7 percent from 2019 to 2020; gonorrhea cases rose by 10 percent in the same time period.

Read the full article on the New York Times Website.

The “Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign is recruiting community members

Lets Stop HIV togetherThe Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign is recruiting community members to be a part of audience-specific community listening session groups. These groups will provide an opportunity for the campaign to hear from community members impacted by HIV. The groups will discuss attitudes, values, and beliefs at the individual and community level related to HIV and how these might shape health behaviors.

The community listening session groups for this year are:

  • Transgender women
  • MSM
  • Older adults with HIV
  • Heterosexual, cisgender, Black men and women
  • Young Adults
  • Spanish speaking Hispanics/Latinos

Audience specific announcements are included here as attachments. If there are individuals in your network that may be interested in sharing their insights and experiences with the campaign, please pass on the appropriate announcement and encourage them to fill out the screening questionnaire. The deadline to apply is 11:59 PM EST on March 25, 2022.

The campaign is looking for a diverse group of people who are:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Fluent in English (ability to speak Spanish is a plus)
  • Living with HIV or HIV negative status
  • Comfortable sharing experiences with HIV and other related experiences
  • Available to participate in two virtual community discussions between late April and June 2022, each lasting approximately 2 hours. If you are selected, we will follow up to schedule specific dates and times.

Available to participate in two virtual community discussions between late April and June 2022, each lasting approximately 2 hours. If you are selected, we will follow up to schedule specific dates and times.

All participants will be compensated $150 per session (two sessions for a total of $300) for their participation. Some prep time may be requested, such as reviewing documents prior to the session.

If there are any questions related to the opportunity, please reach out to the recruitment coordinator Kevin Hernandez at khernandez@fhi360.org.

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

From POZ Magazine online…

Black woman and man standing together
“Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign that promotes NBHAAD at https://www.cdc.gov/stophivtogether/index.html

Monday, February 7, marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) 2022. By numerous measures, Black Americans are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic. NBHAAD highlights related challenges while raising awareness about prevention, testing, treatment and more.

“This #NBHAAD we are focused on equity,” tweeted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of HIV Prevention, adding: “We must end unequal access to #HIV prevention & care, & address root causes that contribute to disparities in HIV such as poverty, stigma, systemic racism, & unequal access to healthcare & education.”

In 2020, African Americans represented 12% of the U.S. population age 13 and older but accounted for 43% of new HIV diagnoses, according to AIDSVu.org, which analyzes HIV data and creates related infographics and interactive maps.

Disproportionate HIV rates are more pronounced in the South, where in 2020, Black Americans accounted for 52% of new HIV diagnoses but made up only 19% of the population in that region.

See the full article.

What to know about HIV and transgender men

From Medical News Today online…

Most scientific studies relating to HIV and transgender people focus on transgender women — research about HIV and transgender men is limited.

trans man holding trans flag

According to research from 2018, this is because HIV prevalence is thought to be higher among transgender women: approximately 25–31%, compared with 0–3% among transgender men.

Other research, from the University of California San Francisco, suggests that trans MSM have an increased risk of contracting HIV, including those who do sex work.

This research states that in one study, most trans MSM reported not consistently using a condom during receptive anal and frontal sex with non-trans male partners. Participants also reported low rates of HIV testing and a low perception of the risk.

Read the full article.

Study: Combining PrEP with U=U yields incredible results

From HIVplusmag.com

When people use a combination of HIV prevention methods, researchers found there was a significant drop in HIV transmission.

Published in the academic journal HIV Medicine, the study found that using several methods such as taking PrEP, early HIV diagnosis from frequent testing, and proper antiretroviral treatment decreased transmission by 80 percent.

The research was evaluated at 56 Dean Street, which is a sexual health clinic and part of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London.

“We witnessed an 80% reduction in the number of HIV diagnoses between 2012 and 2017, following the introduction of a number of HIV prevention measures (PrEP introduction, early HIV diagnosis through frequent and facilitated access to HIV testing and timely ART used as treatment-as-prevention) were key to the success of this model,” lead author Nicolo Girometti, told Contagion. Girometti is also a consultant in HIV medicine at 56 Dean Street.

Read the full article.

HIV & STI National Strategic Plans Call for Enhanced Coordination of Efforts

From HIV.gov

The recently released STI National Strategic Plan (STI Plan) and HIV National Strategic Plan were developed concurrently with the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan and each calls for a more integrated approach to addressing the syndemic of HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis, and substance use and mental health disorders. Together, these three plans aim to enhance coordination of the activities of federal agencies and diverse community stakeholders to reduce morbidity and mortality, stigma, discrimination, health inequities, and disparities; improve outcomes; and fortify the public health and health care infrastructure to support prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment across these infectious diseases. As federal agencies begin work to develop implementation plans for each of these five-year plans, we will explore opportunities to enhance integration of prevention, care, and treatment of STIs, HIV, viral hepatitis, and behavioral health issues by leveraging capacity and infrastructure across the domains and breaking down operational and funding silos.

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Such silos result in missed opportunities every day to test people for multiple infections and to scale up services in settings where people at risk receive other services. These missed opportunities translate directly into lost time and resources and may result in harm to people who remain undiagnosed, untreated, and at risk of severe outcomes or of transmitting HIV, an STI, or viral hepatitis to others. A reciprocal, integrated approach in our responses to infectious diseases and substance use and mental health disorders that puts patients first through a status-neutral and no-wrong-door approach will maximize their ability to access services that meet their health needs.

For example, HIV testing, prevention, and care programs can identify opportunities to screen for other STIs, viral hepatitis, and behavioral health issues and provide treatment and/or linkage to appropriate services. Current CDC PrEP guidelines recommend STI screening as part of PrEP care and the HHS HIV Treatment Guidelines provide information on screening, treatment, and prevention of herpes and syphilis.

Similarly, STD clinic patients represent a population at increased risk for HIV; so STD specialty clinics play a vital role in reaching people at risk for HIV who are not engaged in HIV prevention programs or other health care services, including those who are uninsured and those who seek confidential services. In addition, STD specialty clinics serve a high proportion of racial and ethnic minorities, gay and bisexual men, and transgender people so are ideally positioned to reach these populations disproportionately affected by HIV who could benefit from PrEP or PEP or reach people with HIV who are either unaware of their status or are not virally suppressed and could benefit from linkage to or reengagement in care.