NMAC Launches “ESCALATE” Program to Fight HIV Stigma

NMAC will launch the new “ESCALATE” (Ending Stigma through Collaboration And Lifting All To Empowerment) program. Funded by a cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), “ESCALATE” will work to reduce stigma against People Living With HIV at the individual, organizational, and systemic levels.

NMAC logo“ESCALATE” will train participants in the 57 jurisdictions identified in “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE)” to recognize and address HIV stigma with a particular focus on transgender/gender nonconforming individuals, men who have sex with men, and the Black/African-American community. NMAC will work in partnership with NORC, Abt Associates, TRX Development and the University of Chicago.

“Stigma remains a major obstacle to HIV prevention, treatment, and care,” said NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata. “‘Any plans to end the HIV epidemic, whether national or local, must address that stigma in order to be successful. Using our deep experience in training community leaders, NMAC will use the ESCALATE program to educate communities how to be able to see stigma when it happens and provide tools to address it when it does. It’s a huge task but one that is absolutely necessary.”

“This new HIV stigma reduction programming will help NMAC lay the foundation towards ending the HIV epidemic by year 2030 as outlined in the EHE,” said Charles Shazor, Jr., Associate Program Manager in the NMAC’s Center to End the Epidemics. “HIV stigma is a primary contributor to health gaps and disparities around access to HIV treatment and prevention within communities of color. The ESCALATE partnership will build a newly combined force of national HIV community leaders geared towards HIV stigma elimination in the 57 jurisdictions included in EHE.”

“Stigma is a pressing public health issue. It creates systemic and personal barriers for people living with HIV, which can prevent accessing needed medical care and services that improve health outcomes and overall quality of life,” said Jane E. Fox, Principal Associate, Division of Health and Environment at Abu Associates. “Abt looks forward to teaming with NMAC and others on this timely and pivotal initiative.”

“The University of Chicago is excited to lead the implementation science advisory team that will work to support, strengthen, and sustain stigma-reduction efforts in the various jurisdictions,” said Dr. Russell Brewer, Research Associate Professor at the University of Chicago, Medicine and chair of ESCALATE’s Implementation Science Advisory Team.

NMAC leads with race to urgently fight for health equity and racial justice to end the HIV epidemic in America. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced our mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous electronic and print materials, and a website: www.nmac.org. NMAC also serves as an association of AIDS service organizations, providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics, and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the HIV epidemic.