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Re-Entry, HIV Linkage, and Overdose Prevention Webinar

 

 

 

Re-Entry, HIV Linkage, and Overdose Prevention

Phil Wilson Announce Retirement founder of Black AIDS Institute!

Black AIDS Institute Launches Bold Vision for the Future: Announces Retirement of Longtime Leader Phill Wilson, New Board Members, New Staff, New Partnerships, New Programs

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Posted in: News, News 2018

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Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of a new strategic plan to prepare for the next generation of Black HIV/AIDS response, the Black AIDS Institute is announcing several changes within the organization, including the retirement of its longtime president and CEO, Phill Wilson, later this year.

Wilson launched the Black AIDS Institute in 1999 with a clear mantra (“Our People, Our Problem, Our Solution”) and mission: to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black leaders, institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view.

“In order for a movement to endure, there must be a plan for the future,” said Wilson in a statement. “Stepping down as the president and CEO of the Institute, where I have had the privilege of serving for the last 19 years, is bittersweet for me. I have been involved in this fight for almost my entire adult life.

“In 1983, when I started doing this work, none of us could have imagined this mysterious new disease, first identified at UCLA Medical Center, would become the defining health issue of our generation. We are at a turning point. Are we going to build on the remarkable advances we have made over the last decade and continue to push forward and finally end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, or are we going to go back to the dark days of despair and death?

“The Institute is committed to doing everything in its power to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially in Black communities. The time is right. The organization has the infrastructure and capacity to do the changes set forth by the board to prepare for a new generation of capacity building, advocacy, mobilization and service delivery. I am very proud of the work we have done over the last 19 years and of the organization’s commitment to new leadership. That commitment is more important now than ever before.”

Pursuing new executive leadership is part of a larger effort on the part of the Institute to prepare for the next generation of HIV/AIDS response in Black communities.

Ahead of the Curve

From the African American HIV University and Black Treatment Advocates Network to the groundbreaking “State of AIDS in Black America” reports and acknowledgments of Black excellence at the annual Heroes in the Struggle Gala Reception and Awards Celebration, the Institute has been relentless in its focus on Black communities.

The organization enlisted traditional Black institutions—such as the NAACP, Black fraternities and sororities, Black journalists in mainstream media and Black-owned publications—to commit to raising awareness, fighting stigma, increasing HIV/AIDS literacy and mobilizing Black people. It launched the Black Hollywood Task Force on HIV—currently co-chaired by Jussie Smollett, star of the Fox musical drama Empire, and veteran actress and humanitarian Vanessa Williams—to leverage the power of celebrity to amplify messages about prevention, testing, treatment and ending stigma.

“We have always been ahead of the curve in understanding HIV/AIDS and how it relates to the Black community,” says Institute board chair Grazell Howard. “This change is a continuation of that legacy. The search for new executive leadership is a part of a new strategic plan. We have brought on new board members like former Rep. Donna M. Christensen, Dr. David Cook, David Munar and Gina Brown to help us expand our policy work, expand our clinical services and add Black-women programs. We’ve also re-energized our Black Hollywood Task Force on AIDS with new ambassadors and supporters like Ledisi, Karamo Brown, Taraji P. Henson, Alfre Woodard and Van Jones.”

Munar, president and CEO of the Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago, says, “Almost every milestone in the fight against AIDS domestically and, in some cases, internationally has been paved by the Black AIDS Institute, and that’s a credit to the Institute and its many supporters and affiliates across the country.”

Codifying Wilson’s Vision

Wilson leaves the Institute well positioned to take on the challenges of future.

The organization is staffed by the next generation of HIV/AIDS activists and organizers, whose work embodies the Institute’s commitment to helping Black communities save themselves through their lived experience. “Every day is Black AIDS Awareness Day at the Black AIDS Institute,” says Raniyah Copeland, the Institute’s director of programs. “Our staff are of the communities we serve. We are Black men and women. We are Black people living with HIV/AIDS or at high risk of infection. We live, work, pray and play in the communities we serve. We don’t need to do ‘outreach’ because we are there 24-7.”

The Institute recently brought on new staff members to strengthen its capacity, like Maxx Boykin (previously with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago), to work on a new advocacy-and-policy initiative; Maya Merriweather, to work on mobilization; and Saron Selassie, to strengthen the Institute’s monitoring and evaluation work. On World AIDS Day 2017, the Institute launched a new website and a redesigned Black AIDS Weekly, the organization’s electronic newsletter, to more effectively reach people who use smartphones to access health information.

Jesse Milan Jr., president and CEO of AIDS United and chair emeritus of the Institute’s board, notes that the Institute has also been developing programs to help end the epidemic through its Los Angeles-based direct-service efforts. On this Feb. 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Institute, in partnership with St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, a federally qualified community-health center in Los Angeles, will launch the first Black PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) clinic in Los Angeles. Later this spring, the partnership will open a Black men’s primary care clinic in the Leimert Park area of L.A. A Black gay men’s drop-in center will launch in Compton during the fall. “The PrEP clinic, the men’s primary care clinic and the Black gay men’s drop-in center will help us achieve a new dimension of our mission,” says Milan.

“We are proud to build on Phill’s bold and unapologetic legacy through direct service, new policy, initiatives to address Black women and HIV, and other efforts that will codify Phill’s vision of ending AIDS,” Copeland says.

Rather than resting on past successes, the Black AIDS Institute is “going where the epidemic’s trajectory is calling it to go,” says Munar, who calls the new initiatives “excellent examples” of how the organization is transforming in ways that will allow it to thrive without Wilson at the helm. “It’s exactly what every community needs to be doing. The Institute wants to do it first in its own backyard, then help others across the country replicate similar strategies.”

“Such approaches are particularly important in the South,” National Capacity Building Manager Leisha McKinley-Beach says. “The Institute has become one of the driving force for ending the AIDS epidemic in America due in part to its work in Southern states, where most Blacks live, and awareness-raising about what’s happening there. We have been on the front line of training and capacity building in the South. I am particularly excited that we are going to be housing our policy and advocacy work in the South, and looking forward to having Max join me in Atlanta.”

“We can’t achieve our goals in the HIV/AIDS epidemic nationally unless we work harder in the South to reduce new infections, bring more people into care, and eliminate stigma and discrimination,” says Milan. “The statistics and reality in the South are dire, especially for African Americans, and we must focus on them now.”

Passing the Mantle

“For those of us who have been doing the work and standing with Phill shoulder to shoulder for many years, it will be hard to imagine this work without him,” Munar says. “But this transition is not about Phill Wilson; it’s really about a mission, a vision, a commitment to mobilize a community, to leverage influence wherever we can, to eliminate AIDS and make this world a better place for people who are affected by HIV.”

“It is with great pride and role modeling that the Black AIDS Institute shows that you can have an organization that can grow a budget; have a vibrant and fully engaged board of directors; and be founded by a brilliant, courageous, creative man who knows when it is time to pass the mantle,” Howard says.

“This is an important moment,” Munar says. “Phill is passing the baton on to a newer generation. He’s leaving the organization on a strong footing so that it can continue to march forward.”

Freddie Allen is editor-in-chief of the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Allen is also a frequent contributor to the Black AIDS Weekly. You can follow him on

Cuts that Hurt: What the President’s FY18 Budget Proposal Means for HIV services and people of color

 

 

 

 

 

President Trump’s FY18 budget proposal included several cuts that would directly impact people of color (POC) living with or vulnerable to HIV. It is important to remember that the President’s budget recommendations are only the start of the budget process. Congress makes the final decision on funding for the government.

YOU CAN HELP: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to save our services for HIV prevention and care. Please join us for this year’s HIV/STD Action Day on September 6 2017, the day before the start of the 2017 United States Conference on AIDS, and speak to your Member of Congress directly or organize an effort in your own local district.

Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF)

The President’s FY18 budget request eliminates funding at this critical time in the SMAIF’s existence. Each year, the SMAIF provides over $50 million to support a wide range of activities designed to support communities of color (including, but, not limited to projects that: (1) get and keep people of color in care; (2) build leadership among people of color at the local level who are either living with or affected by HIV, and (3) address Hepatitis C in those living with HIV).

  • POC  IMPACT:  The  proposed  elimination  of  the  SMAIF  would  remove  a  key  resource  that promotes innovative and cost-­effective programs specifically tailored for communities of color and that influence HIV related programs across the entire Department of Health and Human Services.

Cuts to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program will
↑ Increase health inequities
↓ Reduce support services for persons living with HIV

Although  praised  by  the  Administration,  the  President’s  FY18  budget  request  decreases funding for the Ryan White program by $59 million (eliminating funding for  the  AIDS  Education  and  Training  Centers  (AETC)  which  train  medical  professional and Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) programs).

  • POC IMPACT: The proposed cuts to the AETCs will reduce access to important training programs that help the healthcare workforce prepare to meet the needs of clients seeking HIV-related services – particularly, people of color.
  • POC IMPACT: The proposed cuts to the SPNS will stall: (1) evaluation of treatment models; (2) dissemination and replication of successful interventions; (3) capacity-­building in the health information technology systems of the Ryan White program.

Cuts to HIV Prevention will likely cause
Community-­Based Organizations (CBOs) near you to lose funding or close
+30,000 more Americans will become HIV-­positive
‐ 1,000,000 fewer HIV tests will be performed

The President’s FY18 budget request reduces the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Tuberculosis by $186.1 million. The proposed cuts to CDC would scale-­down local HIV prevention activities  that  have  just  started  to  reach  communities  of  color,  including  support  for  pre-­exposure  prophylaxis (PrEP) as well as efforts around treatment as prevention which would deeply harm the communities most vulnerable to HIV.

  • POC IMPACT: The proposed cuts to CDC threaten the existence of CBOs as cuts to their HIV prevention funding would greatly reduce services including testing, linkage services, prevention campaigns, and health education programs. Thousands more people will be unaware of their HIV status and those who need care will not be linked to life‐sustaining services.

Cuts to Medicaid will likely cause Millions to lose their Medicaid Coverage

The President’s FY18 budget request cuts $610 billion (over 10 years) to this joint federal/state program that provides healthcare services for people with limited income and resources. Medicaid remains one of the largest payers of insurance for people living with HIV.

  • The proposed cuts to Medicaid would especially impact communities of color and put their health and well-­being at-­risk since they will lose their access to HIV prevention and treatment services.

Cuts to National Institutes of Health (NIH) will Adversely impact the Office of AIDS Research (OAR)

The President’s FY18 budget request reduces funding by nearly $5.8 million. Such a large cut would likely harm researchers’ ability to find new prevention strategies and to make sure treatment options meet the needs of those on treatment.

  • POC IMPACT: The President’s FY18 budget request proposes the elimination of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). With an emphasis on health disparities experienced by persons of color when they access healthcare services, AHRQ produces the annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report as well as periodic updates on the National Quality Strategy.
  • POC IMPACT: The proposed cuts to NIH greatly undermine current long­‐term research on HIV vaccines and the hunt for a cure for HIV. Both Black and Latinos continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV and in need of HIV-­related services.

Cuts to the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program will likely cause more than 33,000 homeless People Living with HIV (PLWH) to lose housing support services

Despite being praised by the Administration, the President’s FY18 budget request proposes cutting HOPWA by approximately $26 million dollars.

  • POC IMPACT: The proposed cuts to HOPWA would reduce funding to below FY16 levels (although the 2016 levels were deemed inadequate and the HOPWA formula was updated by the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act (HOTMA) in 2016).
  • POC IMPACT: The proposed cuts to HOPWA would reduce funding to below FY16 levels (although the 2016 levels were deemed inadequate and the HOPWA formula was updated by the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act (HOTMA) in 2016). Several thousand fewer homes will be available for homeless or housing unstable PLWH.

Cuts to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will
‐ Reduce the SAMHSA Minority AIDS Initiative Funds by $17.7 million

The President’s FY18 budget request decreases SAMHSA funding by $374 million.

  • POC IMPACT: The proposed cuts to SAMHSA would directly impact communities of color since, in 2015, 65% of those who identified injection drug use as the mode of HIV transmission were people of color.
    • Specifically, the SAMHSA Minority AIDS Initiative Funds will reduce the resources available for substance use-­related HIV prevention and treatment programs focused on engaging people of color.

GOOD NEWS→

The President’s FY18 budget proposal is just a recommendation to Congress and only the first step in the Federal Budget Process:

Step 1: The President’s Budget Request

  • The President submits a detailed budget request for the coming fiscal year, which begins on October 1.

Step 2: The Congressional Budget Resolution

  • Congress usually holds hearings to question Administration officials about federal agency funding requests
  • Congress usually holds hearings to question Administration officials about federal agency funding requests
  • The federal House and Senate Budget Committees then develops its own budget resolution (which are supposed to be filed by April 15th)
  • The full House and Senate then vote on its own budget plan (only a majority vote is required to pass)

Step 3: Enacting Budget Legislation

  • The federal House and Senate Appropriations Committees determine program-­by-­program funding levels in 12 separate bills
  • The federal House and Senate Appropriations Committees determine program-­by-­program funding levels in 12 separate bills
  • Most HIV related programing is determined in the Labor­-Health and Human Services­-Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill

TAKE HOME MESSAGE→ The final distribution of funds is ENTIRELY in the hands of Congress

HIV and Our Youth

KEY FINDINGS

1. HIV hits close to home for many young people of color.

Due to a combination of social inequities and where the disease initially took hold, HIV has disproportionately affected Black and Latino populations. The uneven impact of HIV is reflected in the starkly differing views and experiences reported by those of different races.

About three times as many Blacks and Latinos, as whites, say HIV today is a “very serious” issue for people they know.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS chart: How serious of a concern is HIV for people you know?

Almost twice as many Blacks, as whites or Latinos, say they know someone living with or who has died of HIV. One in five Blacks have a family member or close friend affected by HIV.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS 15

About a third of Black and Latino young people say they worry about getting HIV; approximately half as many whites express concern about their own risk.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS 16

2. Many are not aware of advances in HIV prevention and treatment.

In the five years since PrEP, the pill to protect against HIV, was approved by the Food & Drug Administration, only about one in ten young adults know about the prevention option.

When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective in protecting against HIV. PrEP is also a significant advance in that it provides women with the first HIV prevention tool that they can control themselves.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS 17

There are also gaps in understanding of how the medications used to treat HIV work. While most young adults are generally aware of the health benefits of antiretrovirals (or ARVs), many understate their effectiveness and few know they also prevent the spread of the virus.

ARVs work to reduce the viral load to levels undetectable by standard lab tests. Studies show that when the viral load is less than 200 copies of virus per milliliter of blood, long-term health is greatly improved and sexual transmission of the virus is extremely unlikely, if not impossible.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS chart: How effective are current HIV treatment options

3. Stigma and misperceptions about HIV persist.

Most young people today say they would be comfortable having people with HIV as friends or work colleagues, but when it comes to other situations, the stigma of the disease is evident.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS chart: How comfortable would you be

Providing insight into what may be behind the stigma, the survey also reveals a lack of understanding among some about how HIV is and is not transmitted.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS 20

4. HIV testing is occurring less than generally recommended. 

The CDC recommends HIV testing as part of routine health care, yet more than half of young adults say they have never been tested.

Black young adults are more likely – and more recently – to report having gotten an HIV test.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS chart: Have you ever been tested for HIV

5. The Internet is a go-to resource for HIV information.

After school, searching online is one of the most often named sources of HIV information by young adults (multiple responses possible). Almost as many cite some form of media as doctors for at least “some” information.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS chart: How much information about HIV have you gotten from

Four in ten say they would like more information about at least one basic HIV topic asked about. More Black and Latino young people indicate they want to know more about HIV, across all topics, as compared to whites.

National Survey of Young Adults on HIV/AIDS 24

National Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

HIV.gov Shares Communication Tools for Gay

Upcoming PMBSGN Support Group Meeting

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