Proclamation — World Hepatitis Day, 2013

Shared from White House Office of the Press Secretary.



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Each year, we mark World Hepatitis Day to bring attention to a disease that afflicts one in twelve people worldwide. Viral hepatitis is a major cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis in the United States, leading to approximately 18,000 American deaths every year. Outcomes can significantly improve with treatment, but because viral hepatitis can be present without symptoms for decades, most infected Americans do not know they have it. Today, we raise awareness about preventing and treating viral hepatitis, and we renew our commitment to combat this disease in all its forms.

Public awareness is key to halting the spread of viral hepatitis. All types of this disease pose serious health threats, and both hepatitis B and C can become chronic infections that lead to liver cancer and liver disease. Vaccines for hepatitis A and B are crucial to preventing new cases, and they are recommended for all children, as well as adults at an elevated risk of infection. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C, but through early detection and treatment, it is possible to reduce the risk of transmission, avert the worst complications, and in many cases even cure the infection.

Anyone can contract hepatitis, but in the United States it disproportionately affects the African American, Hispanic, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and people born between 1945 and 1965. Injection drug users of all ages are also at increased risk. My Administration is working to raise awareness among communities hardest hit by viral hepatitis, organizing campaigns to prevent new infections, and promoting testing and treatment.

My Administration also continues to work with our partners across the Federal Government, in States, communities, and the public and nonprofit sectors to implement programs like the Healthy People 2020 initiative and the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. This ambitious plan aims to reduce the number of new hepatitis C cases by 25 percent, eliminate mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B, and significantly increase the proportion of people who know of their hepatitis B and C infections. In addition, the Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to cover, without co-pays, hepatitis A and B vaccines as recommended for children and adults at elevated risk for infection, as well as hepatitis B screenings for pregnant women at their first prenatal visit. After June 2014, new health plans must cover screening, without co-pays, for hepatitis C virus infection in persons at high risk for infection. Plans must also cover one-time screening for hepatitis C infection for adults born between 1945 and 1965.

Viral hepatitis is a silent epidemic, and we can only defeat it if we break that silence. Now is the time to learn the risk factors for hepatitis, talk to family, friends, and neighbors who may be at risk, and to speak with healthcare providers about strategies for staying healthy. On World Hepatitis Day, let each of us lend our support to those living with hepatitis and do our part to bring this epidemic to an end.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 28, 2013, as World Hepatitis Day. I encourage citizens, Government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and communities across the Nation to join in activities that will increase awareness about hepatitis and what we can do to prevent it.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


New Training – Transgender Basics: Laying the Foundation for Continuous Learning

New TrainingTransgender Basics:  Laying the Foundation for Continuous Learning

Shared Action is collaborating with the Center of Excellence and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to develop and deliver a Transgender Basics training.  This half day training, as the title suggests, is an introduction to the topic of transgender health; in particular the transgender population and HIV. While this curriculum is designed to provide information and teach skills that will be immediately applicable to people who work in the field of HIV, it is also meant to be a jumping off point for those who wish to learn more.  The content of the training is basic and foundational, and meant for those who have little knowledge about the transgender population.

Who should attend?

This training is most appropriate for people who are new to understanding or working with transgender people.  However, this training is still relevant for those who do have significant experience working with transgender people, since many people may have “expertise” with only a subset of the transgender community (e.g. transgender women who are sex-workers), and may benefit from learning about other subsets of the community.  Additionally, many people who may consider themselves to be experts in transgender health may not have previously had the opportunity to discuss what they know and to learn from others in a training setting; rather they may have been “thrown into” their jobs and learned by doing.

By the end of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize common terms that transgender people may use to describe themselves
  • Name at least 3 health inequities that impact transgender people
  • Articulate the risk factors and social determinants that fuel these inequities
  • Expand awareness of transgender people as resilient and strong in the face of adversity, discrimination, and oppression
  • List a minimum of 3 best practices that an organization can institute to be more transgender competent

The HIV Care Continuum Initiative: The Next Step of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Shared from the Huffington Post

Three years ago, President Obama announced an historic comprehensive plan to help turn the tide on HIV/AIDS in the United States: the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The Strategy has given a new sense of direction, and purpose in our fight against HIV and AIDS.

Since the Strategy’s release, scientific developments have advanced our understanding of how to best fight HIV. We now understand that to prevent long-term complications of HIV, treatment is recommended for all adults and adolescents living with HIV in the United States.

This is a significant shift; previous recommendations were to hold treatment until people showed signs of immune decline. Recent research also shows that an important benefit of earlier treatment is that it dramatically reduces the risk of HIV transmission to partners. Furthermore, HIV testing technology is faster, and more accurate than ever before, and HIV drug treatment is less toxic, and easier to administer.

All of this has powerful implications for how we focus our efforts.

And there is a clear need to do so: data released since the Strategy shows that along the HIV continuum of care — which is the progression from diagnosis to receiving optimal treatment — nearly 200,000 persons living with HIV in the United States are undiagnosed, and only one in four has the virus under control.

Today we are thrilled to announce two new developments specifically focused on addressing many of the factors that lead people to fall out of the continuum of care.

First, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the HIV Care Continuum Initiative.

The Initiative directs Federal agencies to prioritize addressing the continuum of HIV care by accelerating efforts and directing existing federal resources to increase HIV testing, services, and treatment, and improve patient access to all three.

To ensure we succeed in this effort, the President’s Executive Order establishes an HIV Care Continuum Working Group. The group will coordinate federal efforts to improve outcomes nationally across the HIV care continuum, and will be co-chaired by the White House Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy and HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. The working group will provide annual recommendations to the President on actions to take to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.

Second, today HHS announced a new multi-year demonstration project that brings togetherOASHCDC, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in a collaboration to expand the capacity of community health centers, local health departments, and their grantees to better integrate HIV prevention and treatment across the continuum of care. HHS will invest $8-10 million a year to support health centers and local health departments in integrating public health practice, and clinical care. The project will target areas with high numbers of racial and ethnic minorities, who are disproportionately affected by the epidemic, and communities with a substantial unmet need for comprehensive HIV services.

These two actions complement many of the ways we are already addressing the importance of continuum of care now.

The National Strategy shares its third anniversary with the Affordable Care Act, landmark legislation that is vital to our fight against HIV/AIDS.

Already, the law has expanded access to HIV testing, and ends the practice of putting lifetime caps on care when patients need it the most. Beginning in 2014, it will bring to an end to insurance practices like denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, including HIV infection.

Beginning this October, when the online Health Insurance Marketplaces open for enrollment, millions more Americans will have the opportunity to enroll in affordable coverage that includes HIV testing and other preventive care, with coverage set to begin January 1, 2014.

And the health care law also allows states to expand their Medicaid programs. Many people living with HIV will no longer have to wait for an AIDS diagnosis to become eligible for Medicaid.

The law aligns with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s overall goals to reduce new infections, improve access to care, and reduce HIV-associated health disparities.

This includes fighting HIV stigma and discrimination. It includes advocating for the health of communities at greatest risk for HIV, including young, black, gay men and transgender people. It includes supporting research, in order to find more prevention and treatment breakthroughs.

And it means making smarter, more coordinated investments to fight the epidemic. That’s why the president’s Executive Order is so important.

Just a few months ago, President Obama spoke of realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation in his State of the Union. Thanks to remarkable advances in HIV treatment and prevention, we have the opportunity to reach that landmark sooner than most of us would have imagined even just a few years ago. The HIV Care Continuum Initiative will help us get there even faster.

Read the HIV Care Continuum fact sheet here.

AIDSVu Maps Depict Impact of HIV in America

Shared from


Yesterday, National HIV Testing Day, marked the third annual update to AIDSVu Exit Disclaimer, an interactive online tool that maps the HIV epidemic across the United States.

A project of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, AIDSVu displays HIV prevalence data at the national, state and local levels and by different demographics, including age, race and sex.

This year, we are excited to have expanded the maps to show the latest HIV prevalence data for 20 U.S. cities by zip code or census tract. For the first time, AIDSVu will provide ZIP code level maps for seven additional U.S. cities – Fort Lauderdale, Memphis, Orlando, Palm Beach, San Diego, Tampa and Virginia Beach. Most HIV cases in the United States are diagnosed in large metropolitan areas, like these cities newly mapped on AIDSVu. The maps of HIV prevalence data can now be viewed alongside maps of social determinants of health like poverty, lack of health insurance, and educational attainment to better visualize the correlation of prevalence and social factors affecting health in our communities.

As an individual, you can use these maps to see the HIV epidemic in your state, or your city, and take control of your status by using AIDSVu’s testing center locator to find a testing center.

Visit today Exit Disclaimer to view the maps, download your own custom presentations, or locate a testing center to “Take the Test, Take Control”.

Funds Available for New Media Planning

Shared from


We know that using new media can help HIV/AIDS service organizations extend the reach of their programs and messaging. At the same time, new media is helping to advance the goals of theDigital Government Strategy (DGS), which calls on us “to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives”?

In order to use new media effectively, organizations need to develop communications plans to guide their efforts. To support that critical planning process—and the goals of the DGS—John Snow, Inc. (JSI) is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity.

Funding is available for up to eight national or local HIV/AIDS organizations to assist, stimulate, or support using new media to help expand the reach of HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care activities. Organizations selected for this funding may receive up to $9,000.

New Media Meeting

Source: Mike Sheridan

Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m., EDT, on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.

Funding is available to HIV/AIDS organizations that provide services to communities of color and other minority groups in the 50 states, Washington, D.C.,  the six U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

JSI will award these planning microfunds with funding made available through HHS Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund.

You can read the funding announcement here [PDF 67KB]. Please submit your application materials via this form Exit Disclaimer.

Social Media Evaluation Tools

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website is an excellent resource for HIV prevention resources.  Specifically, I’d like to highlight their resources on Social Media Evaluation Tools.   In particular, CDC’s National Prevention Information Network’s (NPIN) launched a Webcast Series earlier this year.  The series, “In the Know:  Social Media for Public Health,” consisted of six webinars hosted from February through June 2013.  The topics included:

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn & Slideshare
  • Gaming & Mobile
  • Facebook & Image Sharing
  • Google+ and YouTube
  • Measurement & Evaluation

If you missed the series, copies of the slides and recordings can be found at:

Especially helpful was the last webinar on Measurement & Evaluation.  While many organizations launch social media campaigns, there are often a lot of questions from funders and the community around how effective these campaigns can be.  In order to demonstrate effectiveness or the reach of a campaign a good evaluation plan is needed.  The webinar covered important standards to consider when setting up your social media evaluation plan, and then went into detail about what tools are available to help you track your social media campaign.  If you currently are using social media like Facebook or Twitter, I highly encourage you to watch the recording of the webcast.

Additional tools for evaluating Social Media are listed below:

  • Effective Intervention’s website:

  • CDC’s Social Media Tools, Guidelines & Best Practices

  • National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Social Media Tool Kit


National Transgender Health Summit Experiences

This blog is guest authored by Rachel L. Kaplan, PhD, MPH.

Many thanks to Jordan Blaza for this opportunity to share some thoughts on my experience at the 2013 National Transgender Health Summit (NTHS). The NTHS was held in Oakland, California on May 17th and 18th. Cosponsored by the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the conference aimed to “provide a multidisciplinary program presenting cutting edge research in transgender health and evidence-based clinical training curricula for healthcare providers of all backgrounds.” The program was comprised of four tracks that were chaired by experts in the field: Research Track (Jae Sevelius, PhD), Medical Training Track (Madeline Deutsch, MD), Mental Health Track (Lin Fraser, EdD, MFT and Dan Karasic, MD), and Health Policy Institute (Kellan Baker, MPH, Masen Davis, MSW, and Jamison Green, PhD). A sure sign of the potential for a great conference is the inability to choose between equally promising sessions and events. It was difficult to decide with so many interesting, relevant, and engaging topics.

The NTHS did not disappoint. Because of my work and interests, most of the sessions I attended were within one of the Research Tracks. It was a pleasure to learn with some of the leading experts in the field about the challenges and successes in topics such as methodological considerations, recruitment strategies, and measurement decisions. Speakers and audience members discussed the pros and cons of terminology such as “natal sex” and “sex assigned at birth” as well as the decisions about gender categories and what it means to include “additional category” versus “other.” Researchers also discussed in which context(s) the term “transgender” is used as a gender category and in which context(s) the term is used as a social group and the methodological and measurement implications these different contexts present.

Overall, the atmosphere at the NTHS was both serious and celebratory. Many of the plenary speakers reminded the audience about the uniqueness of the opportunity to share a space with many like-minded colleagues within this specialized community. The world-renowned speakers’ messages were both sobering and inspiring. A lot has been accomplished and there is still so much to do. As an international public health social scientist, I was grateful that although the focus of the National Summit was on US-based transgender health, some discussion addressed the challenges and needs that exist abroad. One of the most meaningful highlights of the NTHS for me was the chance to reconnect with friends and colleagues and to meet experts in the field with whom I had only previously dialogued via phone or email. Finally, it was an excellent opportunity to hear about the incredible work that is being done in the field to address the health disparities and access challenges within the transgender community.

Rachel L. Kaplan, PhD, MPH ( is an international health researcher whose work is based in the Middle East and North Africa region. Primarily a qualitative researcher, Dr. Kaplan is interested in most-at-risk and hard-to-reach populations and the intersections of gender, culture, sexuality, conflict, and risk.

Campaign “Reasons/Razones” Encouraging HIV Testing Among Latino Gay & Bisexual Men

Reblogged from

This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launchedREASONS/RAZONES – the newest HIV testing campaign under the CDC Act Against AIDS initiative. The bilingual campaign is the agency’s first national effort to encourage HIV testing among Latino gay and bisexual men, who are among those hardest hit by HIV in the United States.

The campaign asks gay and bisexual Latinos“What’s your reason?/¿Cuál es tu razón?” for getting an HIV test through a series of campaign materials that feature men sharing their reasons for getting tested for HIV. REASONS/RAZONES uses images of family, friends, and partners to emphasize a strong sense of self, family, and community. The campaign also includes information about accessing fast, free, and confidential HIV testing.

The campaign’s bold images and messages will appear in mobile and online advertising, national and local print and outdoor/transit advertising and will be the focus of a media relations effort to generate print and broadcast news stories.

Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority in the United States and also one of the groups most heavily affected by HIV. Latinos account for 16 percent of the population, but 21 percent of all new HIV infections. Latino gay and bisexual men account for nearly almost 1 in 4 new infections among gay and bisexual men of all races.

Yet, too many Latino gay and bisexual men with HIV do not know they are infected. A recent study among gay and bisexual men in 21 American cities found that more than a third (37 percent) of Latinos living with HIV were unaware of their infection. The need for greater testing is particularly urgent among young men. CDC data show that 70 percent of HIV positive Latino gay and bisexual men between the ages of 18 and 24 do not know their status.

REASONS/RAZONES initially launched in Los Angeles on June 6 and will launch in Miami on June 26, two cities with high HIV and AIDS prevalence among Latinos. The Los Angeles community engagement launch event is timed to coincide with Gay Pride, while the event in Miami coincides with National HIV Testing Day. REASONS/RAZONES also had a presence in Washington, D.C. at Capital Pride events on June 7 – June 9. Roll-outs in other cities will follow throughout the summer months.

Please visit to download all campaign materials, view and share the campaign videos, find a HIV testing center near you and share your reasons for getting an HIV test.

REASONS/RAZONES is a part of Act Against AIDS, the 5-year, multi-faceted national CDC communication initiative designed to refocus attention on HIV and AIDS in the United States. Act Against AIDS focuses on raising HIV awareness among all Americans and reducing the risk of infection among the hardest-hit populations. The multiple campaign phases use mass media (radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, the Internet and other communication channels) to deliver important HIV testing and prevention messages. To learn more about Act Against AIDS, visit

Prevención de Alto Impacto y la Población Latina.

Muchos cambios están ocurriendo en el ámbito del trabajo en prevención del VIH en los Estados Unidos. Con el lanzamiento de la Estrategia Nacional para combatir el VIH y el SIDA, en Julio del 2010, se han establecido metas muy ambiciosas. Asimismo, reciente hallazgos científicos han traído al armamentario de prevención nuevas herramientas para prevenir la infección del VIH en poblaciones a  mayor riesgo.

A pesar de todos estos descubrimientos, las poblaciones hispano-parlantes en los Estados Unidos, o de origen Latino (Hispano), tienen que entender completamente estas estrategias y herramientas, y adoptarlas como propias, con el fin de que la población en pleno se beneficie de estos desarrollos.

Este blog intentará traer toda esta información nueva y ponerla al alcance de los trabajadores de salud (personal médico y no-médico);  que atienden a estas poblaciones,  que conocen y entienden sus necesidades de educación (en cuanto a prevención y  de tratamientos del VIH),  aconsejamiento/asesoramiento, apoyo psicológico y emocional y de cómo navegar el sistema médico en los Estados Unidos.

Una de las características más importantes del trabajo en VIH y SIDA es que es una actividad laboral que la persona elige de manera autónoma. Esto es, que el individuo tiene un compromiso genuino de ayudar a las personas afectadas por la infección del VIH. Por ello es importante contar con un intercambio de ideas y experiencias que, idealmente este blog va a recopilar y al mismo tiempo, brindará la oportunidad de compartir información técnica validada por investigación con el fin de estandarizar el conocimiento de las nuevas estrategias que conforman lo que se denomina como Prevención 2.0. Este nuevo abordaje  es la combinación de todas esas intervenciones que sabemos son efectivas para prevenir la infección del VIH y que son accesibles para la población que tiene mayor riesgo.

En los Estados Unidos cada año ocurren 50, 000 nuevas infecciones de VIH y se estima que aproximadamente un millón doscientos mil personas viven con el VIH y esta cifra crece cada año en decenas de miles, amplificando el riesgo de infección para otras personas. Asimismo, una serie de factores sociales, económicos y demográficos tienen un efecto directo en el tamaño de la probabilidad de infectarse para algunos individuos, por ejemplo: el estigma asociado a la enfermedad, la discriminación, el nivel de ingreso económico, grado de escolaridad y la zona geográfica donde se vive. Por todo esto es necesario intensificar los esfuerzos de prevención apoyándose en el modelo de trabajo que establece que el tratamiento de la enfermedad del VIH es una medida de prevención.

De la misma manera la Prevención de Alto Impacto (HIP, por sus siglas en inglés) ha sido diseñada para maximizar los esfuerzos de prevención para todos los individuos que están a mayor riesgo de la infección del VIH, incluyendo hombres homosexuales y bisexuales, minorías de color, mujeres, usuarios de drogas, hombres y mujeres transgénero y población juvenil.  Las estrategias de este nuevo abordaje tienen un alto margen de costo-beneficio y que son reproducibles en amplia escala, teniendo como población blanco a una población específica y atinada la cual vive en un área geográfica bien delimitada.

Después de 3 décadas de arduo trabajo en el campo de prevención del VIH contamos con nuevas herramientas que han demostrado su efectividad. De hecho, la inversión realizada en prevención ha contribuido a la reducción del número anual de casos nuevos  desde que se dio el pico máximo de la epidemia a la mitad de los 80s. La estabilización del número de casos es un signo de progreso  así como la disminución de la transmisión materno-infantil y la reducción de casos entre usuarios de drogas. Todo esto ha generado ahorro en el gasto de atención. Por ejemplo, se ha estimado que por cada caso de infección de VIH  prevenido se ahorra al país $360,000 dólares que es lo que costaría proporcionar atención médica y tratamiento de por vida a esa persona. Es bien importante tomar en cuenta toda esta experiencia y las destrezas que el personal de salud en general ha desarrollado a través de años de esfuerzos, ya que estas experiencias y habilidades nos ayudaran con los cambios que se avecinan.

El éxito de este blog va a depender del grado de participación de la audiencia usuaria. Es bien sabido que la población de habla hispana y de origen Latino/Hispano es muy diversa. Sin embargo, todas esas poblaciones comparten características que nos podrían ayudar a identificar estrategias de trabajo que podrían beneficiar a la totalidad de la comunidad Latina. Es importante reconocer que la experiencia laboral, día tras día, enriquece las experiencias de los trabajadores de salud y esto ayuda a identificar modelos de trabajo que han demostrado ser efectivos y prácticos; desafortunadamente en el quehacer cotidiano, esas experiencias no son diseminadas o estructuradas, dado que en este ámbito laboral no se acostumbra la publicación o diseminación.

Las estrategias que han probado ser efectivas y que reducen substancialmente el riesgo de infección  son presentadas a continuación, siempre y cuando sean diseñadas considerando los factores sociales, financieros y estructurales que se sabe ponen a ciertos grupos a mayor riesgo de la infección y estas son:

–          Practica de la prueba del VIH y enlace inmediato a cuidado médico.

–          Terapia Antirretroviral

–          Acceso a condones y jeringas estériles

–          Programas de prevención para personas que viven con VIH y sus parejas

–          Programas de prevención para personas a riesgo alto de infección

–          Tratamiento de la adicción a drogas y estupefacientes

–          Tamizaje y tratamiento de enfermedades de transmisión sexual

En el futuro revisaremos con detenimiento cada una de estas estrategias y espero que podamos discutirlas a profundidad e identificar los factores que tenemos considerar para alcanzar a la población hispano-parlante de manera efectiva.

Esperamos que esta breve introducción abra el dialogo y que compartan con nosotros sus preocupaciones, ideas y experiencias en el proceso de la implementación de la prevención del VIH de alto impacto. Como comentamos al principio esta blog, el éxito de esta ventanilla de información va  a depender del grado de participación de nuestra audiencia.  Gracias por  estar con nosotros….. OV


¿Cómo está su agencia incorporando estos nuevos cambios? ¿Qué tipo de asistencia técnica necesita su agencia para adoptar estos cambios? ¿Su agencia ha incorporado exitosamente estos cambios? Cuéntenos!

-Octavio Vallejo




PrEP Information Resources

PrEP or (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a common buzz word in the HIV prevention field lately as it is a biomedical HIV prevention strategy that is in line with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and CDC’s High Impact HIV Prevention guidelines.  While conducting our capacity building work, we have noticed an increase in inquires around PrEP.  Below is a list of resources for understanding more about PrEP that we at Shared Action have come across in the last year.

First, we at Shared Action have created a short informational fact sheet on PrEP, which can be accessed here:

Another resource is  This interactive website is the product of collaboration from San Francisco AIDS Foundation, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Project Inform, Be The Generation, other health agencies, and community-based providers.  The website has multiple webpages with more detail regarding PrEP including:

  • An Overview of PrEP
  • Previous Research
  • Facts
  • Common Questions
  • And More!

When looking for information, we always recommend going directly to the source.  Gilead, the pharmaceutical who makes Truvada for PrEP has their own webpage.  This site has all of the technical information on the drug and PrEP including research, safety information, and facts.

Last but not least, the CDC’s website contains its own information page on PrEP.  It includes fact sheets, press releases, and current research on PrEP.

Do you have a resource you prefer to use when seeking information on PrEP?  Please share it in the comments!

-Andi Zaverl