Groups advocate to end hiv/aids
by, 08-09-2011 at 07:23 PM (4080 Views)
HIV/AIDS Advocacy Organizations Donna Novak, RN, MSN, CRNP
In the United States, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a human rights issue that brings into focus such social factors as racial and sexual discrimination and stigmatization, access to health care and mental health services, substance use, and inadequate housing. In order to provide holistic and culturally competent care to people living with HIV/AIDS, nurses need to understand the myriad issues that challenge these patients.
This summer, as part of a Health and Social Policy course I’m taking at Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing, I researched organizations that are taking leadership roles in advocating for people living with or affected by this disease. Here are a few local and national organizations, with a brief description of the resources they offer to nurses and all who are interested in being part of the movement to end the AIDS epidemic.
1. The AIDS Library at Philadelphia FIGHT Website: www.aidslibrary.org
Philadelphia FIGHT is a good place to start when looking for HIV/AIDS information, education and local resources. The AIDS library is a project of Philadelphia FIGHT, a comprehensive AIDS service organization located on 1233 Locust Street in Philadelphia. The library publishes the annual Greater Philadelphia AIDS Resource Guide, which can also be accessed online. The Guide lists health care services, resources for housing, jobs, food, transportation, and activism/advocacy organizations. Every June is AIDS Education Month, and FIGHT holds events throughout the month that focus on HIV prevention and outreach, prison health care, youth empowerment, and movements for change.
2. Positive Women’s Network (PWN) Website: www.pwn-usa.org
PWN is a network of HIV positive women and allies that are dedicated to promoting human rights and advocating for women living with HIV/AIDS. Their focus is on leadership development, and they provide trainings on advocacy skills, media, and communications. PWN has aligned with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and has five policy priority areas: criminalization, reproductive justice, economic justice, prevention justice, and women-centered care . The PWN website provides news and updates, and access to advocacy toolkits, presentations, fact sheets and policy papers. For those who wish to get involved on a local level, the website lists regional contacts.
3. Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) Website: www.nursesinaidscare.org
The mission of ANAC is to promote the professional development of nurses involved in the delivery of health care to people with or affected by HIV/AIDS. ANAC’s goal is to promote the health and welfare of their patients and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Their mission includes advocacy for HIV infected persons and promotion of social awareness about issues related to HIV/AIDS. ANAC’s policy agenda is disseminated through position statements and papers that are posted on their website, and include support for HIV risk assessment and risk reduction education, safe injection facilities, substance use treatment on demand, and medical use of marijuana. ANAC has regional chapters for nurses who would like to get involved on a local level.
4. ACT UP Philadelphia Website: www.actupphilly.org
ACT UP stands for the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. This organization is committed to ending the AIDS crisis using direct action tactics. Their goal is to end the AIDS epidemic “within the context/ through a lens of ending health disparities that are a clear result of inequality and injustice.” ACT UP is currently focused on lack of housing for people with AIDS, and on June 30 held a march from Philadelphia’s City Hall to a presidential fundraiser at The Bellevue, to demand that Mayor Nutter and President Obama fund housing and treatment. ACT UP meets every Monday evening at the Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany in Philadelphia and invites new members to join their diverse group of advocates.
5. Advocates for Youth Website: www.advocatesforyouth.org
Advocates for Youth focuses on adolescent and reproductive sexual health, and is unique in that it integrates strategies related to HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancy prevention. The organization promotes research-based best practices such as youth development/life skills and empowerment programs, and champions youth-adult partnerships and youth involvement in the design, implementation, and evaluation of adolescent health programs and policies. Advocates is a leader of the national legislative strategy to eliminate federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which brought together 39 organizations to support comprehensive sexuality education. The website’s “Take Action for Change” tab lists current priorities, and allows viewers to sign petitions supporting such issues as creating safe schools for GLBT students, stopping Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill, and ending federal funding of abstinence-only sex education. Advocates is also the founder of Amplify, a website for youth activists at www.amplifyyourvoice.org.
6. HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA) Website: www.Preventionjustice.org
The HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA) is a network of over 70 groups and organizations advocating for effective and just HIV prevention policies for the United States. With the slogan “HIV/AIDS is not just a disease; it’s proof positive of injustice,” HIV PJA advocates for marginalized communities and makes human rights issues central to the AIDS response. Their website features slides from strategy webinars, teleconferences on HIV prevention research, and community forums. Members can sign up to be on an active email discussion list, and join working groups on HIV issues such as: poverty and economic justice, LGBTQ rights, and imprisonment. The group supports the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) calling it “a catalyst for progressive change that has already begun to improve the United States’ approach to ending our HIV epidemic.”