To End the HIV Epidemic, We Must Build the HIV Workforce Capacity in the Southern U.S.

March 11th, 2019 | Viewpoint


Since the release of the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) in 2010, the HIV prevention landscape has changed dramatically. Overall rates of HIV infection have declined, and more people living with HIV know their status and are connected to care.

Individuals living with HIV who are in care and achieve viral suppression will not transmit HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex. However, disparities persist, particularly among young African American and Latino gay and bisexual men, and individuals living in the Southern United States. Persistent stigma, discrimination, poverty, lack of access to health coverage and health care, limited transportation, and other structural barriers contribute to adverse HIV health outcomes.

Southern states today account for an estimated 46% of all people living with an HIV diagnosis in the U.S., despite having only about one-third (38%) of the overall U.S. population.

This map reflects JSI’s commitment to building the capacity of HIV prevention and care program staff to address the needs of people vulnerable to and living with HIV. The map illustrates select technical assistance activities delivered through CBA@JSI and the Health Resources and Services Administration-funded Access, Care, and Engagement (ACE) TA Center.

The High-Impact Prevention (HIP) strategy, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) achieves NHAS goals by directing resources and activities toward the right people in the right places. JSI partners with CDC to support the capacity building needs of HIV programs and services in communities throughout the South through CBA@JSI.

CBA@JSI developed an innovative strategy to enhance the capacity of staff to meet the evolving HIV prevention needs in their communities. Building on our relationships with a community-based organization (CBO) and health department staff, and the experiences of our team – many who were raised and have worked extensively in the South – CBA@JSI launched the HIP in the South Institutes series. The Institutes provided a unique opportunity for the CBA@JSI team to collaborate with state, local, and CBO partners to create content and develop peer-to-peer exchanges that focused on identified community needs.

Each of the two-day institutes – held in seven different states – were slightly different but all fostered an environment for sharing, collaboration, and partnership development.  Participants shared and discussed their experiences, successful practices, and concerns related to a variety of topics, such as funding, data reporting needs, and the challenges working effectively and respectfully with diverse populations. They expressed appreciation for the diverse perspectives and opportunities to network with peers.

The HIP in the South Institutes also reinforces our commitment as the CBA@JSI team to uphold the overall mission of JSI to improve the health and well-being of underserved people and communities. By working in partnership with communities, we are able to leverage their strengths to ensure effective, respectful, and appropriate responses to local context, needs, and challenges.

Interested in learning more about CBA@JSI or the HIP in the South Institutes, email Juli Powers, Project Director.

Learn more about the CDC’s HIV Prevention in the South:

Written by Juli Powers 

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