Monday, April 6, 2015

From NMAC: How Do You Lead With Race ...

...When You’re Talking About the Science of HIV?
by Danielle Houston  

Scientists agree that race is a social construct,not a biological division.
Black, Latino, White, Asian, Native American or otherwise, we are all human. And yet we see huge health disparities among racial and ethnic groups. These differences affect how frequently a disease affects a group, how many people get sick, or how often the disease causes death.

In HIV, we so frequently discuss the disproportionate number of infections and fatalities in Black and Latino communities, that it’s possible we’ve lost sight of the fact that HIV is not more virulent or infectious in people of color. These inequities are the outcomes of the complex relationship between individual behavior, social networks, health and health services, socioeconomic status, the physical environment, discrimination, sexual orientation, racism, literacy levels, and legislative policies. These factors, which influence an individual’s or population’s health, are known as social determinants of health.

NMAC, like other local and national organizations is changing.
Guided by a rigorous strategic planning process our mission, vision, and goals have changed and all our divisions are aligning their programs accordingly. The Treatment Division developed new initiatives, such as PrEPare For Life, to forward NMAC’s 2020 goals and strategic directions.

In the grand scheme of Treatment’s programming, we are investing in health equity through the expansion of our health literacy agenda and an acute focus on access and engagement activities in communities of color. We promote the idea that good health and quality healthcare are a right, not a privilege. We will continue to support a scientific agenda buttressed by research, data, and smart policies.

The Treatment Division goes where the virus is,
therefore our resources and programs continue to target service providers that directly work with gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color in the South and major metropolitan areas. A coverage map of Treatment Programs in the U.S. can be found here. For inquiries about out programs and upcoming trainings, please contact us directly at

TODAY, the HIV movement needs action.

TODAY, the role of community-based organizations has expanded to include connecting constituents to the clinical care systems they need to remain healthy.

TODAY, we must embrace the fact that HIV prevention and treatment are linked.

TODAY, we must mobilize our communities around health literacy and wellness.

By updating, expanding, and strengthening health literacy and wellness opportunities in the communities most impacted by HIV, we can make great strides towards improving lives today and ending the epidemic tomorrow.

Yours in the struggle,

Danielle Houston
Senior Program Manager

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