World AIDS Day-5 Things You Can Do In the U.S.

Today is World AIDS Day and there are many very eloquent statements about the history and trajectory of this disease.

As innovators in health I challenge you to up your game–particularly in the US.

You can watch my Call to Action with Housing Works here

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In the United States, public and private sector investments in research, advocacy and education have yielded noticeable progress in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment since the 1980s. Yet even with this progress, in 2008 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the latest estimate of new HIV infections in the United States for 2006– which were roughly 40 percent higher than previously estimated, indicating that the HIV epidemic is worse than previously known.  Furthermore, HIV/AIDS remains a serious problem in the US—particularly among racial, ethnic and sexual minority communities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009).

HIV prevention efforts in the United States have traditionally focused on individual behaviors, not taking into account the fact that two individuals from different communities can engage in the same activities yet be at much different levels of risk for HIV.

What can innovators in health do?

  • Expand on social network analysis work that has been used in Atlanta to understand why certain members of communities bear a disproportionate burden of HIV, when at a glance they have the same levels of “individual risk activity,” of others in theor larger community (Boles & Elifson, 1994).
  • Ramp up harm reduction model uptake. Harm reduction is being used by the World Health Organization as the basis for HIV reduction efforts with commercial sex workers world-wide with tangible results (World Health Organization, 2009).
  • Read Kenyon Farrow’s blog post about how to get involved in Prevention Justice.
  • Combine reproductive services with HIV/AIDS programming. Why should women go to two places for such vital services?
  • Get tested.

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