The Community Impact Solutions Project is a frequent contributor to the ETR Blog. Read about the latest in the HIV Prevention world.
By BA Laris, MPH | February 26, 2019
Program Manager, ETR
Today, cancer is the leading cause of death of people living with HIV (PLWH). A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that between 1996 and 2009, there was a 50% increase in cancers of people living with HIV compared to the general population. Non-AIDS-related cancer deaths increased from 11% to 22%. People living with HIV had higher rates for 4 out of 5 forms of cancer.
By BA Laris, MPH | February 5, 2019
Program Manager, ETR
I recently had the privilege of attending an engaging and provocative conference in Ontario, Canada. The Ontario HIV Treatment Network hosted HIV Endgame 3: Breakthrough Initiatives research conference in December. The conference provided two days of presentations and discussions to propel members of the HIV network both in Ontario and globally towards ending the HIV epidemic.
I was invited to deliver an interactive workshop on linkage to care. In the workshop, we explored one of our most promising behavioral strategies for achieving the end of AIDS: using a strengths-based approach to reach those who are not yet in medical care.
By BA Laris, MPH | July 18, 2017
Research Associate, ETR
I am always trying to make connections. I want to think about problems in new ways. Like most trainers, I like to find strategies that help me translate ideas into bite-sized morsels. I believe play is good for learning, too. Recently, I had a serendipitous opportunity to put all of these interests to work.
By Dharmit Shelat, MD, MPH | May 25, 2017
Graduate Assistant, Tulane University | 2017 Kirby Summer Intern, ETR
ETR recently hosted an exciting event in New Orleans. It was Be The Change: Implementing Core Strategies for Sustainable Organizations for Impact in the South.
The institute focused on sustaining HIV prevention programs in the southern regions of the U.S. This was my first introduction to ETR’s Community Impact Solutions Project. They offer tools, resources and technical assistance to help HIV prevention organizations perform at their best.
By Ayn N. Whyte, MS—Diné | March 14, 2017
STD/HIV/AIDS Prevention Program Manager, Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board
As many of our communities prepare to recognize National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I am compelled to honor the group of individuals who envisioned and made this day a reality. I am blessed to work today with many of these people in raising awareness and promoting testing among our people.
By BA Laris, MPH | September 2, 2016
Research Associate, ETR
The other day I was part of a group text that made me want to laugh, cry, celebrate and scream all at the same time. My 19-year-old son had shared a photo of his first day in his biology lecture hall. He included an estranged family member. I had once told him I wished this person was more integrated into “normal” family exchanges.
Once again, I found that my son has the uncanny ability to push me to grow and accept, challenge myself, and live my principles—more than any other person I have ever met personally or professionally.
And that brings me right to the point of this post: situational leadership.
By Donald Powell, MHS | June 6, 2016
Senior Director of Policy & Development, Exponents
When I was first asked to prepare something to commemorate National Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, writing has always been my primary way to educate, process emotions and create.
But as I sat at my computer, I began to feel a little apprehensive. As an African American man with southern origins, I started to second guess my right to attempt this endeavor. Was I the person to speak to this commemoration?
I have worked as an HIV preventionist for more than two decades. In that time, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside several powerful men and women of Caribbean descent. They have transformed and enhanced my understanding of how the intersection of ethnicity, HIV, gender identity and sexual orientation often plays out in Caribbean communities, and in other Black American communities as well. So I speak today to honor the achievements of this community and what I have learned from them.
By Vanessa Johnson, JD, with Jacqueline Peters | April 28, 2016
Director, Ribbon Consulting Group
Jacqueline Peters: This is the fourth in a series of posts about women who have chosen to become trainers and facilitators for the CDC’s WILLOW program. I hope you’ll take a look at Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 as well. These women are inspiring!
Vanessa Johnson: My personal fight with HIV is tied to the loss of family members, friends and co-workers in the 25 years since I was first diagnosed myself. It is in their memory, and because of my own motivation to live the best life I can, that I am involved in the field. My journey has taken me beyond the disease itself. I am exploring and advocating for the essential services we need to keep our communities disease-free and offer protections for people who are still severely stigmatized.
By Christina Murphy, with Jacqueline Peters | April 27, 2016
HIV Navigator, Indigenous Peoples Task Force
Jacqueline Peters: In Part 1 of this blog post, I described some of my experiences as a trainer for the WILLOW training of facilitators in Atlanta. In Part 2, I asked Alesia Miller to share some of her thoughts about the experience and the program. Today we hear from another participant, Tina Murphy.
Christina Murphy: It has always been my passion and calling to be in the service of helping others, in all communities, especially in our communities of color. I care deeply about the ongoing health disparities and social justice issues we all continue to face. My journey started with Tobacco Prevention/Cessation. It continues to build on that foundation, and now I am doing HIV prevention work.
By Alesia Miller with Jacqueline Peters | April 22, 2016
Willow Leader, Empower U & Trainer, ETR
Jacqueline Peters: In Part 1 of this blog post, I described some of my experiences as a trainer for the WILLOW training of facilitators in Atlanta. I asked one of the participants, Alesia Miller, to share some of her thoughts about the experience and the program.
Alesia Miller: My motivation to be a WILLOW leader has changed from the beginning up to now. As I continue along in this process, I've experineced the changes of how this disease is experienced by the newly diagnosed versus the long term survivors.
By Jacqueline Peters | April 21, 2016
Logistics Specialist & WILLOW Trainer, ETR
I am an excited and fortunate woman. I recently completed the process to become a Certified Trainer for the WILLOW program. I’m meeting some incredible people and being given the opportunity to make a genuine difference in the HIV prevention effort. And after my experiences so far, I know one thing for certain. In WILLOW, people have stories to tell.
By Thomas Davis | April 4, 2016
HRC Youth Ambassador
I haven’t always been an outspoken young man. I learned to be outspoken when I was diagnosed with HIV.
After the counselor told me, “Your test is positive,” I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted examples. I wanted to hear stories from people like me. But there was not a lot of representation from young Black men going through this.
I thought, “Okay. I need to be the example. I am not afraid to share this.” So I started to tell my story among my friends and in my community.
By Dontá Morrison | March 30, 2016
In honor of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, we need to reflect on the advances youth themselves have made in the fight against HIV. I’m an advocate who works closely with the younger generation. I’ve been privileged to hear some remarkable stories about the steps they’re taking to get the word out.
Young people I know are sharing messages about prevention. They’re talking about the importance of peers knowing their HIV status. They may have limited knowledge about the scientific aspects of the virus. Many lack the financial privilege to run a PR campaign. They still operate from a place of great passion.
It’s my belief that it is because of that passion we should take note of their tactics and incorporate them into our efforts.
By Pamela Jumper Thurman, PhD | March 16, 2016
Director, National Center for Community Readiness at Colorado State University
What will you be doing on the spring equinox this year? Like many others in American Native communities, on March 20, I will be honoring National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD). This is an important day, both because of its history and because of what it reflects about the fight against HIV in Native communities today.
Indigenous peoples in the United States—American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders—have a long history of being treated as invisible by the general culture. This was true in the early times of this nation, and it was true in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Sadly, this is continuing, even today. The risks for our people have not been accurately documented, and education for our communities has been inadequate.
By Vignetta Charles, PhD | March 10, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR
My Facebook feed was filled with wonderful images on International Women’s Day (March 8). I’m a huge fan of Wonder Woman, so I was especially thrilled with the many images of this iconic figure who fights for justice for all. And today, only two days later, we celebrate National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
I believe Wonder Woman would be proud of the strides we’ve made to reduce the number of new HIV infections in women, especially for African-American women. This should be celebrated. And I do celebrate that. I’m especially proud of some of the amazing HIV prevention efforts that ETR has developed and/or implemented over the past three decades to contribute to this success.
But I also see that Wonder Woman still has a lot of fighting to do.
By Michael T. Everett, MHS | March 2, 2016
Project Director, ETR
This activity uses a participatory quiz to reinforce knowledge and learning. Teams develop quiz questions, then try to answer each others’ questions. Keep score. The team that knows the most wins!
By Laura Perkins, MLS | February 18, 2016
Project Editor, ETR
The Hispanic/Latino community is disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2013, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 21% of the estimated new diagnoses of HIV infection in the U.S., despite representing about 17% of the total population.
By Aunsha Hall-Everett, MA | February 4, 2016
Executive Director, REACH LA
Throughout my time working with young people, I have had the opportunity to witness amazing conversations. I recently spoke with a group of young Black gay men (ages 16-19) about some of the sexual health and health promotion efforts we are building.
Hearing them share their experiences gave me two “ah ha” moments. First, I’m getting old. Second, we need to improve intergenerational relationships and build better communication between younger and older adults.
By BA Laris, MPH | January 21, 2015
Research Associate, ETR
People are talking about HIV and AIDS. You hear it, see it, Google it. Yep. There is a lot of talk.
But are people listening?
At ETR’s Community Impact Solutions Project (CISP), we believe members of the HIV prevention workforce are a vital part of this HIV and AIDS conversation. They need and deserve state of the art training to understand the many changing aspects of HIV and AIDS to help protect themselves, the community and families, friends, and partners.
By Michael T. Everett, MHS | December 9, 2015
Project Coordinator, ETR
Two questions plague any responsible person in a position of authority: (1) Am I a good leader? and, (2) How am I to know?
I’ve had a few years to consider these questions myself, and they have taught me a good deal about leadership. I’d like to share three of the lessons leadership has brought to my own work and life.
By Laura Perkins, MLS | December 4, 2015
Project Editor, ETR
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV means taking a combination pill to prevention transmission of the virus. The pill, brand name Truvada, has proved to be successful at protecting at-risk individuals. Trials evaluating PrEP among gay and bisexual men, heterosexual men and women, and injection drug users indicate that the risk of getting HIV decreased by up to 92% for participants who took the medicine consistently.
This is phenomenal!
By Tanya Henderson, PhD | December 1, 2015
Project Director, Community Impact Solutions, ETR
When I first heard this quote, it really hit home with me. I was always a planner, a bit of an overachiever, but things really didn’t come together for me until I began doing work in the HIV/AIDS arena. Today, on World AIDS Day, I reflect not only on what I see as my calling, but also why I do this work.
In the early days of this new millennium, HIV/AIDS was one of the top five health disparities affecting African Americans and underrepresented minorities in the U.S. This was also true in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. I don’t think I’d fully understood to that point that a disease like HIV could run rampant, so disproportionately affecting some communities.
HIV was sexually transmitted and surrounded by great stigma and misinformation. It was sometimes passed between people who loved one another deeply. All of this tugged at my heart strings.
During this time, I first heard of the death of someone I knew.
By Michael Everett, MHS | October 15, 2015
Project Coordinator, ETR
Confinement has its costs. There are costs to being confined physically, emotionally, sexually, mentally or spatially for any period of time. You can often tell when people have grown up in isolation, or with little social interaction. They seem unprepared for social exchanges.
I have seen a version of this with members of the LGBT community. We grow up and discover that what we feel on the inside is seen as wrong in the larger world around us. We learn that who we are “goes against” religious and historical principles.
This can really do a number on you.
By ETR | September 24, 2015
We’ve just learned that ETR’s Alex Williams has been selected to receive the 2015 Dr. Mark Colomb Leadership Award from the Southern Regional Ball/House and Pageant Communities (B/HAP). We spoke with Alex about what receiving this award means to him, and why this type of work is so important. He told us:
This award recognizes a dual effort. First, it speaks to excellence in addressing HIV issues among the highest risk groups in communities of color.
Second, it specifically recognizes HIV efforts within the House and Ballroom community. This is a thriving subculture of the LGBT community which has been little known or recognized by people outside the culture. Historically, it’s also been marginalized and neglected by most HIV prevention programs.
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.
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 Michael Everett, MHS | June 24, 2015
CEO, Intimacy & Colour | Consultant, ETR Community Impact Solutions Project
We all know what it feels like to sit in the back of the room, praying we don’t get called on by an instructor. Or feel too afraid to ask a question despite the depths of our confusion on a given topic.
The culture of asking in this country is a complex one. On the one hand, as a greater society we believe in the power of help. Look at our public health policies, free HIV testing or charitable organizations. Even the values we learn in kindergarten—“Clean up the play area together”—promote helping.
On the other hand, we are not as hard wired to ask for help as we are to provide it. So this begs the question—what is our big “ask” problem?
By Cary Klemmer | April 29, 2015
MSW/PhD Student, University of Southern California
Being able to attend a national health summit for transgender folks is one amazing thing in and of itself. Being able to present and share the narratives of transgender youth at that conference is another!
Last April 17-18, I had the great honor of both attending and presenting at the National Transgender Health Summit 2015 in Oakland, California. This event was made possible due to the diligence and hard work of the conference staff, including the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health and ETR, which co-sponsored the event.
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 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 ETR | January 17, 2015
I want to change your mind. Correct a misperception. Support you in changing a behavior. I want to talk to you about something that is so important, your life depends on it.
Who do I need to be? Whom are you going to listen to? Who is going to be able to save your life?
Some interesting research on a behavioral intervention strategy called Popular Opinion Leader says that in communities at high risk for HIV, the people who can change hearts and minds are out there. And prevention programs can enlist their help in changing risk behaviors in their communities.
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.