By Matthew Rose · NMAC Policy and Advocacy Manager
In recent years our movement has seen tangible progress and scientific breakthroughs that are building real pathways that will help end the HIV epidemic. However, NMAC knows that more must be done to educate and engage all communities in order to eliminate systemic barriers and establish best practices for enrolling people of color onPrEP.
Data shows that in the United States people of color, particularly MSM of color, make-up the majority of people living with HIV and account for the majority of new HIV infections annually. Unfortunately, PrEP is not reaching these communities despite the fact that they need it the most. As a result, NMAC is taking steps to make sure that important tools in the HIV prevention toolkit are made more accessible.
Thanks to special funding from Gilead, NMAC has created PrEP Working Groups in five key southern cites to identify ways community organizations can maximize PrEP services for people of color. Based upon data collected through assessments conducted by both community partners in local cities and NMAC’s own national survey of PrEP navigator programs, we have established blueprint plans that will outline best practices meant to ensure these programs better reach people of color.
NMAC’s intention in targeting these five southern cities is to engage local leaders who live in communities hardest hit by HIV. Because we believe that we cannot achieve success without engaging all members of the communities: we will engage Black and Latinx MSM college students and collaborate with local CBOs, university health & counseling centers, AIDS education & training Centers, health clinics, city health departments, and LGBTQ associations to identify barriers and determine best practices to reaching these communities.
At our 2017 Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit NMAC will sponsor a Learning Collaborative for leaders from cities with pre-established PrEP Working Groups and those members of our own PrEP Working Groups. This LC will allow navigators to share plans, exchange ideas, and learn about best practices that have worked in addressing the epidemic within their own communities. Based upon the data collected and feedback received from these working groups, NMAC will publish a blueprint guide specifically focused on Best Practices for Reaching People of Color to be launched at the 22nd USCA in 2018.
Yours in the Struggle,
Policy and Advocacy Manager