By Jacqueline Peters | September 17, 2015
Administrative Specialist & Trainer, ETR
The last time I was in DC was in the mid-nineties. Four presidents and two generations later, I found myself heading to the nation’s capital for the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). I would be representing ETR’s Community Impact Solutions Program (CISP) in our booth and around the conference.
I am new to the world of AIDS service and prevention, and this was my first foray into a national conference focused entirely on HIV/AIDS. I was excited. I was nervous. I was curious.
I was ready for USCA 2015.
By Tanya Henderson, PhD | September 3, 2015
Project Director, Community Impact Solutions Program, ETR
September 18 is the 8th annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD). NHAAAD focuses on the challenging issues facing the aging population regarding HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment
The campaign, spearheaded by The AIDS Institute, seeks to:
At ETR’s Community Impact Solutions Program, we think it’s also important for everyone of every age to understand the message that unsafe practices can put anyone at risk for HIV. Whether you’re young or old, your age will not protect you.
Suzanne Schrag | August 13, 2015
Editor/Product Manager, ETR
John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight segment on Sex Education has certainly been getting some air play around the country, as well as here at the ETR offices. If you haven’t yet seen it, it’s well worth watching. (Note: Language may not be suitable for work—use your headphones just in case.)
Oliver points out the glaring inconsistencies in what young people in the United States are being—and not being—taught about sex. He offers up a very funny video at the end of the segment that would truly be a huge improvement to many of those that have been shown in sex ed classrooms across the U.S.
There’s plenty of bite, of course, in pointing out what’s not working, or what’s just plain wrong, about sexuality education in this country. But what is the best way to give kids the straight-up facts in a manner that will actually shape their choices and influence their behaviors?
By Brittany D. Chambers, MPH, CHES | July 28, 2015
Doctoral Student, University of North Carolina, Greensboro | 2014 Kirby Summer Intern, ETR
When you think about adolescent pregnancy, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Most people think about the negative issues.
“Dropping out of high school.”
“Depending on government assistance."
By Gina Lepore MEd | July 20, 2015
Research Associate, ETR
Yes means Yes. Yes, I want you. Yes, I want this. Yes, I want to be here. Yes, I am consciously choosing this now. Yes, I respect your boundaries. Yes, I will ask if I am in doubt. More, please!
Last September, California became the first state to pass legislation that sets a new standard for sexual consent on college campuses receiving state funding for financial aid. This legislative act followed policy changes on consent at several universities across the country. Systems have continued to adopt affirmative consent standards, including the State University of New York (SUNY) system.
Although considerable progress has been made in recent years in supporting survivors of assault, the same is not true when it comes to changing attitudes and beliefs about the abusive approach to sex that causes assault in the first place.
By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | July 15, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR
Yesterday, I heard that the United Nations had met their goal to treat 15 million people with HIV before the end of 2015. Officials were pleased to have reached this point early. The report also mentioned drops in the number of new cases and reductions in worldwide deaths from HIV.
There’s actually all kinds of encouraging news about the HIV epidemic. More people are accessing treatment, people with HIV are living longer, cases among children are down by 58%, tuberculosis-related deaths among people with HIV are down, and investments in prevention and treatment are up.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says we are on our way to an AIDS-free generation, and we can end the epidemic by 2030.
Like many others in the health care and prevention education worlds, this kind of news feels personal to me.
By William Spatafora | June 22, 2015
MPH Student, Tulane University | 2015 Kirby Summer Intern, ETR
“Why? He’s a boy.”
These were the first words out of my cousin’s mouth last month when I asked if her 12-year-old son had been vaccinated against HPV. “Isn’t the HPV vaccine given just to girls, to protect against cervical cancer?”
By Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, MCHES | June 18, 2015
Senior Editor, ETR
If your work involves talking to people about sexual health, you must be talking to them about STDs. Or STIs. Or both. Right?
As the great STD-STI terminology challenge continues, just about everyone has had to choose one term or the other. Well, everyone except for the people who use both interchangeably to mean the same thing. Or those folks who use each in distinct ways to mean different things.
I asked a few of my ETR colleagues to share their current thinking and preferred term for their work. Here’s what they had to say.
By Annika Shore, MPH | May 28, 2015
Professional Development Consultant, ETR
A study has recently come out that has everyone in my field talking. I’ve seen posts about it in newsletters and blogs about it on social media. Announcements were made in all my professional networks. This new study shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual teens are more likely to experience a pregnancy than their heterosexual counterparts.
I was happy to see that this new research was getting people in my community talking about an issue I care deeply about: the health and well-being of youth—especially the health and well-being of youth who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. However, this is not new information. This research confirms something we have known for many years and is not, in fact, “shocking.”
The shock people are feeling, I think, is due to the fact that this study requires us to reflect on our own assumptions about the lives and sexual behaviors of young people.
By Karen L. Parker-Simons | March 17, 2015
Health Education Coordinator, Florida Department of Health
I began working in HIV/AIDS Prevention in February 2007. At the time I had never heard of World AIDS Day, never mind National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. That first year it slipped by me without my catching it.
But, by 2008, I finally knew about it. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is something very special. This wasn’t just another awareness day for which I would have to think up events. No, this day spoke TO me—it was ABOUT me! I am an American Indian from the Dumna/Kechayi Yokuts Tribe of California. Not only could I loudly proclaim to everyone in my Department, “Hey! Know what? There is an American Indian working in this section!” I could also take a very important message to the communities I knew and loved.
By BA Laris, MPH | March 12, 2015
Research Associate, ETR
In recent years, there has been a major shift in the way we approach HIV treatment and prevention. Research has shown (for example, see Gardner’s 2011 report here; and the AIDS.gov background here) that we will have our greatest impact when we focus on two major steps.
These are deceptively simple prescriptions. But if you work in HIV care and treatment settings, you know there are a myriad of physical, social and emotional issues that can make it difficult for people to stay engaged in continuous treatment. This challenge is one that our Community Impact Solutions team addresses in our work providing capacity building for community-based organizations. We develop strategies and deliver coaching and support to strengthen HIV programs. Our approaches are both research proven and real-world practical.
By Karin Coyle, PhD | March 3, 2015
Senior Research Scientist, ETR
Most evidence-based sexual health programs include skill development as a core element. This underscores the value of optimizing instruction for skills. Education literature provides guidance on the optimal instructional sequence for teaching behavioral skills. There are a number of other important considerations for skill instruction that compliment this type of instructional sequence, and some common pitfalls to avoid.
By Joan Singson | February 25, 2015
Program Manager, ETR
I used to walk in and out of drab motels and dive bars in the middle of the night, distributing condoms and encouraging people to test for HIV. Yup! Been there, done that. The strategies we used to help reduce the spread of HIV in the early 1990’s were not for the faint of heart.
Those of us who were involved back when old school was hip hop and Wu-Tang-Clan was the bomb could probably rattle off a hundred ways to recruit individuals for HIV counseling, testing and referral. Organizations were motivated by the message that “anyone can get HIV,” and funding streams asked them to cast a wide net and bring in as many individuals as possible for testing.
Since then, the business of recruitment has evolved.
By Alex Williams | December 1, 2014
Today is December 1, also known as World AIDS Day. Every year on this day there is a temporary global shift in attention to reflect on the impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). In the United States, the day is marked by observances, reflections, tributes, concerts, ceremonies, memorial services and themed awareness-raising events.
In the United States, nearly 648,500 persons diagnosed with AIDS have died, and approximately 50,000 persons acquire HIV annually. Today, an estimated 1.2 million persons in the United States are living with HIV.
Although these figures suggest despair, there have been significant advances since the first AIDS diagnosis in June 1981. The theme for this year's observation is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation," noting the shift from widespread hopelessness to the eventual eradication of HIV.
By Karin Coyle, PhD
ETR's research team is testing some exciting new programs that ask middle and high school students to consider the ways romantic relationships influence their sexual choices and risks. We call this “contextualizing” sexual and reproductive health education—that is, using the context of relationships to build health-promoting information, attitudes and behaviors.
By Anne Freiwald, MPH | March 18, 2014
I recently found myself at the 40th birthday party of a male friend. At the end of the evening, I was the only woman at the table, listening to male friends discuss online dating, sexual activities and preferences. They were comparing notes on how to meet new partners, including the use of some cool new dating apps. Most of these men were newly divorced or separated, and it was what some might call a racy conversation—each wanting to outdo the other.
The conversation was rich with the sorts of questions, assumptions and perceptions researchers like me get lost in. I was listening for themes and thinking about areas where I needed to gather additional information.
My inner researcher sat up and started asking myself questions. “What do STD rates look like among men in this age cohort?” “How likely is condom use in this population?” “How would they know if had a STD?” “Where would they get checked? Would they get checked?”