Zero HIV Stigma Day (July 21, 2023) #ZeroHIVStigmaDay (

Zero HIV Stigma DayCross-posted from

July 21st marks Zero HIV Stigma Day, spearheading a movement and uniting people, communities, organizations, and entire countries to raise awareness and take action against HIV stigma, which reinforces and amplifies the HIV pandemic and related inequalities. While occasions such as World AIDS Day bring needed awareness to HIV in general, there has never been a global awareness day specifically to challenge the impact of stigma, which persists despite biomedical advancements in HIV prevention and care.

Zero HIV Stigma Day is a joint initiative of NAZ and IAPAC, in collaboration with the Global HIV Collaborative and Fast-Track Cities InstituteHIV stigma refers to irrational or negative attitudes, behaviors, and judgments towards people living with or at risk of HIV.

This day represents a movement to unite people, communities, and countries to help raise awareness about HIV stigma and learn about ways to help stop it. This observance is also in honor of Prudence Mabele, the first Black South African woman to publicly share her HIV status.

This year’s theme, “Human First”, emphasizes the human first dimension of people living with and affected by HIV. The theme also recognizes the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Zero HIV Stigma Day Resources

Read more about HIV stigma and how you can stand up to HIV-related stigma here. Additional resources through The Center for HIV Law and Policy can be found here

The Human Rights Campaign officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQI+ Americans. You can read more here.

Let’s Stop HIV Together provides additional support here so you know what to do when you witness HIV stigma.You can access IAPAC’s toolkit here, which includes infographics, logos, sample social media posts, and other useful information.

PACHA recently passed a resolution, “From Vision to Reality: A Call to End HIV Stigma”, which defines HIV stigma and discusses the harms that it causes. Read the full resolution here. Stay tuned for a blog post to learn more about PACHA’s stigma-related activities.

The HIV Caucus is dedicated to the vision of a country and world where people living with HIV have what they need to live and thrive. Learn more here.

Watch this short video about HIV stigma:

2023 – 2024 Chair’s Challenge: Access, Engage, & Activate: Centering and Re-centering Key Populations (Dave Kern, NASTAD Board Chair)

2023 – 2024 Chair’s Challenge: Access, Engage, & Activate: Centering and Re-centering Key Populations


Cross-posted from

2023 – 2024 Chair’s Challenge: Access, Engage, & Activate:

Centering and Re-centering Key Populations

Dave Kern, NASTAD Board Chair

July 12, 2023

I am the Deputy Commissioner for the Syndemic Infectious Disease Bureau at the Chicago Department of Public Health. My team and I provide support to our city’s HIV, STI, mpox, viral hepatitis, and TB responses. I got my start in HIV work in Chicago in the late 1990s and was hired by the Chicago Department of Public Health for the first time in 2000.

In 2004, I attended my first in-person NASTAD meeting, and I was so impressed with the quality of the content and the connections that I made – it was eye-opening to know that I wasn’t alone in the work that I was doing. In 2006, I moved from Chicago to join NASTAD as director of prevention and lead the organization’s work in HIV and viral hepatitis prevention.

In 2010, I moved to Washington State to lead the state’s infectious disease prevention programming before finally moving back to Chicago in 2016 to take on my current role. Together, these experiences have given me an important perspective on the work from a local, state, and national level, and while I’ve moved around quite a lot in my career, NASTAD has always been a consistent presence in my professional life. Now, as Board Chair, I feel like I have come full circle.

Over the past few years, NASTAD’s Board Chairs have issued challenges to the membership. However, I honestly struggle to ask people who work at health departments to do more right now. I want to take a moment to recognize that many of us in the public health field are tired, deflated, and at times overwhelmed. Despite this, I know that NASTAD’s membership still feels inspired to do more and to do better for the communities that we serve because that’s who we are as leaders – people who always want to do better despite the constraints we’re experiencing. So, the first part of my Chair’s Challenge is to NASTAD – we need the organization to continue centering its membership and help us take care of ourselves and one another better.

So now let’s talk about the people and where we must do better to end the epidemics and to honor our moral obligation as public health servants to ensure members of our communities are appropriately protected and cared for. For my Chair’s Challenge, I am asking us to center or re-center:

  • Persons of transgender experience
  • Persons who use drugs
  • Persons aging with HIV
  • Gay, bisexual, and other same-gender loving men, Black and Latino men in particular

Within these populations, BIPOC individuals are disproportionately impacted, so we must prioritize efforts to increase access and services for these communities, in particular. I am also calling for whole-person approaches for engaging these populations with humility and long-term commitments, for focusing beyond HIV and hepatitis, and for being okay sitting in places of discomfort. I want to remind us that syndemic approaches marry very well with the centering and re-centering of key populations given that syndemic approaches strive to address the impact caused by infectious disease, drug use, mental health, and the social determinants of health that put these populations at increased vulnerability for poor health outcomes.

Proposed cuts to HIV programs would make ending HIV epidemic more difficult (AIDS United Blog)

AIDS United

Cross-posted from AIDS United

July 14, 2023


Proposed cuts to HIV programs would make ending HIV epidemic more difficult
AIDS United VP: ‘The HIV community will not tolerate these cuts’

(202) 599-8259

WASHINGTON — The Republican-led Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee released Thursday its proposed bill covering fiscal year 2024.

The proposal would cut nearly $500 million to programs that are ending the HIV epidemic. These cuts are spread across multiple programs, including, $238.5 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, $226 million from the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and $32 million from the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund.

The cuts are part of larger cuts to the CDC (an 18% cut), the Department of Health and Human Services (a 12% cut) and the National Institutes of Health (an 8% cut).

Carl Baloney Jr., AIDS United’s vice president for policy and public affairs, criticized the proposal, saying:

In the last decade, under Presidents Obama, Trump and Biden, we have made great strides toward ending the HIV epidemic. Indeed, for the last 30 years, efforts to end the HIV epidemic have found support among Republicans and Democrats alike. The proposal released today is a significant departure from that.

Trump introduced the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative in 2019, and Biden has continued and strengthened the program. The initiative was a major step forward in coordinating the various federal efforts to end the epidemic and has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the same way the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program has. Republicans today propose to gut that program and severely hamper the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program’s ability to provide care for people living with HIV. Do Republicans in Congress really want to undo that part of Trump’s legacy and over three decades of bipartisan cooperation?

But what’s more important than the impact on Trump’s legacy or the departure from bipartisanship, is how this proposal is an attack on people living with and vulnerable to HIV. These cuts would ruin lives. People living with HIV would lose health care. Without proper treatment and care, people living with HIV would not be able to reach and maintain an undetectable viral load — a important indicator of health, and also a critical tool to prevent the spread of HIV as someone with an undetectable viral load cannot pass the virus along to anyone.

This budget proposal would also completely zero out funding for Part F of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, including the AIDS Education and Training Center program that is responsible for training health care professionals like doctors, nurses and pharmacists on HIV prevention and treatment strategies. I cannot overstate how badly the elimination of support for Part F of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program would be to the HIV workforce. These draconian and shortsighted cuts would be devastating and would set us back years in our fight to end the HIV epidemic.

And from the very earliest days of HIV, the virus has been a disease of inequality. Black and Brown communities have always been hardest hit by the epidemic. We must invest in projects led by and serving people of color. That’s why the Republican-controlled Congress created the Minority AIDS Initiative in 1998. It is shocking that Republicans are now seeking to slash funding for the Minority HIV/AIDS Funds in half and completely remove funding for Minority AIDS Initiative programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

These cuts are all part of a larger agenda of dismantling our public health system. This system is fragile and needs many more investments. These cuts would make people sicker and increase the number of HIV transmissions.

These cuts are egregious and unacceptable. The HIV community will not tolerate these cuts.

AIDS United’s mission is to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. through strategic grant-making, capacity building and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV-related policy for populations and communities most impacted by the U.S. epidemic As of January 2021, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $118 million to local communities, and we have leveraged more than $184 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to, syringe access, access to care, capacity-building, HIV prevention and advocacy.

CMS Proposes Medicare Coverage for PrEP, Invites Public Comment by August 11 (

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services LogoCross-posted from

Content From: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

On July 12, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the posting of a proposed National Coverage Determination for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Using Antiretroviral Drugs to Prevent Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection.

CMS proposes coverage of PrEP using antiretroviral drugs (whether oral or injectable) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent HIV infection in individuals at high risk of HIV acquisition. CMS also proposes to cover the administration of injectable PrEP using antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV infection. PrEP involves the use of antiretroviral drugs on an ongoing basis or before and after HIV exposure. When taken as directed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. Further, CMS is also proposing to cover additional HIV screenings up to seven times annually and a single screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV) for these high risk patients.

PrEP medications are currently covered under Medicare Part D, but may have cost-sharing and deductibles. Under the proposal, both oral and injectable forms of the medication would be covered for certain individuals under Part B as an “additional preventive service,” and without requiring payment of Part B coinsurance or meeting the deductible. People with Medicare should talk to their doctor or health care provider to see if this medication is right for them.

You can find more details, and how to submit a comment on this proposed National Coverage Determination by August 11, 2023, below:

Meeting Black Women Where They Are: Sistas Organizing to Survive (SOS) Celebrates 15 Years (

Meeting Black Women Where They Are: Sistas Organizing to Survive (SOS) Celebrates 15 Years Cross-posted from

“SOS is a community mobilization that works! Nothing else that I can think of has been as longstanding and has had the impact on Black women that SOS has [in Florida].” Kalenthia Nunnally, Director of Blessing Hands Outreach, Inc. and Chair of the Miami-Dade County Chapter of Sistas Organizing to Survive (SOS) shared this when spoke with her and two other leaders about the Florida Department of Health’s (FDOH) longest-running HIV initiative for Black women.

In our conversation, Ms. Nunnally, Leisha McKinley-Beach, National HIV Consultant and Founder of the Black Public Health Academy, and Kara Johnson Williams, MPA, MNM, HIV AIDS Program Coordinator at the Florida Department of Health in Orange County for the Area 7 HIV/AIDS Program Office, shared their thoughts about SOS, the Florida HIV/AIDS grassroots mobilization and initiative for Black women.

The evening before we talked, the women gathered to virtually celebrate SOS’s anniversary, its 15 years of service, and its continuing efforts to encourage Black women to get tested for HIV where they live, work, play, and worship. And they noted the state of HIV and Black women in Florida remains a disproportionate challenge, whereby Black women represented 63% of the HIV cases among women in 2017 compared to 60% in 2021, the last year of completed data. Read Florida’s Epidemiological Profile Report here for more information.

The subject of the disproportionate impact of HIV among Black women in Florida—and throughout the country—is not a reason to celebrate. However, our colleagues noted the importance of recognizing the initiative’s creative and innovative ways of reaching Black women to provide education and awareness regarding HIV testing, prevention, treatment, and care, which was inspiring.

The Beginning of SOS

In June 2008, the statewide SOS initiative was started at the FDOH with Black women leaders at the helm whose efforts specifically focused on other Black women in Florida. Prior to its inception, a report about HIV in the state was released. The data showed that the Black community, compared to other racial communities in Florida, had the highest rates of new HIV infections, perinatal HIV transmission, and cases of HIV among youth aged 13-19. “How can you see that kind of data and no action to follow?” noted Ms. McKinley-Beach.

As Ms. Johnson Williams reflected on the early days of SOS, she shared that funding the initiative and creating the existing six chapters throughout the state was challenging: “We needed action to support the data because we were behind the eight-ball with HIV prevention and testing for Black women.” And action followed. Within the first two years of the existence of SOS, the initiative tested over 100,000 Black women for HIV throughout Florida.

Innovative Ways of Reaching Black Women

As an FDOH employee, Ms. Johnson Williams highlighted the importance of collaborating with the community and its members in furthering the efforts of the SOS initiative. This collaboration is reflected in the leadership structure of SOS. Most chapters are led by co-chairs, one from the area department of health and one from the community. “Those who are actually in the field have more reach to the women that we’re trying [to reach] compared to a department of health,” noted Ms. Johnson Williams. Thus, the women employ unique and innovative ways, including partnerships with local organizations and businesses, to reach Black women regarding HIV prevention and testing. They often use well-known community ambassadors and social media influencers; they also entrench themselves in the environments where many Black women congregate—beauty salons, pool parties, churches, family reunions, adult entertainment venues, and sorority events, to name a few. “Our goal is to reach the niche of Black women who have fallen out of HIV care or who are not in care—we meet women where they are,” noted Ms. Nunnally, who has served as the SOS Chair in Miami-Dade County for the past 15 years.

Looking Forward to USCHA

As the HIV community gears up for this year’s United States Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA) September 6-9 in Washington, D.C., the women shared their excitement about the presence of SOS at the conference, where the theme will be, “A Love Letter to Black Women.” Each of the women is hopeful that the conference will highlight the commitment and motivation to center Black women, as Ms. McKinley Beach noted that SOS is the Florida model of “catching Black women wherever they fall along the entire HIV spectrum.” She passionately added, “I want folks to be clear that there are some Black women who have been building, framing, and creating initiatives and programs like SOS since the very beginning. It’s beautiful to get our flowers, but it’s also important to acknowledge that Black women haven’t been waiting on a savior, we’ve been saving ourselves, and the HIV space is no different!”

Watch PACHA: American Indian/Alaska Native HIV Issues & HIV in AZ (

77th PACHA Meeting meeting with Miguel and RickCross-posted from hosted a series of live conversations with participants in the 77th Meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), which was held June 28 and June 29, 2023, in-person in Phoenix, Arizona, and virtually. The meeting highlighted efforts to end the HIV epidemic in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities and in Arizona.

Rick Haverkate (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), National HIV/HCV/STI Consultant, Indian Health Service, and PACHA member Laura Platero, JD, (Navajo), PACHA Member, Executive Director Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, discussed PACHA presentations, including topics such as tribal sovereignty and the importance of including AI/AN communities in HIV work.

John Sapero, MIL, Co-Chair, Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. and the National HIV/AIDS Subcommittee, and Director, Ending the HIV Epidemic Collaborative Research, LLC, spoke with federal HIV leaders about local HIV efforts throughout Arizona for AI/AN communities.

Kelly Vallo (Navajo/Acoma Pueblo), Native Youth Coordinator at the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, and Rick Haverkate discussed PACHA presentations about HIV education and prevention in the youth population.

Miguel Gomez, Director,, spoke with Rick Haverkate about the Indigenous HIV/AIDS Syndemic Strategy: Weaving Together the National HIV, STI, and Viral Hepatitis. Referred to as the Indigi-HAS, the Strategy complements the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and uses a syndemic approach to address HIV, hepatitis C virus, and sexually transmitted infections.

The PACHA meeting was livestreamed on and included a PACHA-to-the-People community engagement session on June 28. If you would like to provide public comment, please submit your written statement by close of business Wednesday, July 12, 2023, to