Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sex Positive Mid Week Hump

Stopping HIV? The Truvada Revolution - Part 2

A drug called Truvada is the first FDA-approved means of preventing HIV infection. If an HIV-negative person takes the pill every day, he or she is nearly 99 percent protected from contracting the virus. Controversy continues to surround the broad uptake of Truvada, but the landscape of safer sex and HIV prevention changes fundamentally from this point forward—particularly within the gay male community, the population hit hardest by HIV in America. In this episode of VICE Reports, VICE explores the future of the Truvada and its revolutionary impact on ending HIV/AIDS.

Yet after 3 years of FDA approval, the debates, dialogues and dissent continues as some see the usage of this drug as a "party drug," that negates the options of using condoms in lieu of "bare backing," or "getting bred," as a sexual behavior. Of all this we must then, can't deny that in Arkansas communities of color we have disparities ranging from the social determinants of health which also includes access to insurance whether it be through Ryan White programs, migration to the affordable care act or accessing Arkansas Health Care Independence Act that could preclude this segment of the population to not only accessing this drug but meanwhile adhering to the daily regimen.

Also in this mix, we also can't deny the angles of how Arkansas's public health response continues to be steeped in a "when we know better, we do better," attitude that should warrant additional public inquiries and considerable engagement from consumers, stakeholders and allies alike, yet it appears that there's no surge in interest as to how this dilemma is being strategized or exactly what is the game plan for the state.

So where are on this? To date there are entities such as Lee County Cooperative, Jefferson Comprehensive Care Systems, ARCare, Arkansas Human Development Cooperation and Greater Delta Alliance that serve as grantees to provide HIV intervention, outreach and testing services
utilizing CDC prevention funding. ADH deployed staff for public engagement awareness at the recent Blues on the River and Riverfest events in which they alerted attendees to their "Know Now" campaign visualization campaign.

Plus there is the Community Connectors Initiative that has five designated independent contractors across the state seeking to do further innovative localize testing, counseling and linkage to care navigation.

However, since a May 2014 Arkansas HIV Planning Group meeting in where agencies were to present on their activities there has been no further updates, outcomes shared or strategies as to the effectiveness of their efforts. Furthermore, questions surrounding the denial of local CBO's and faith based entities applying for 2014 "Awareness Day " funding have to this date still been unanswered although ADH representatives stated that both written notice and verbal explanations would be provided by the scheduled June 2015 meeting.

Issues concerning STI testing appointments in area health clinics and other culturally sensitivity training for their staff have gone basically unresolved without further discussions or system's testing to determine shortfalls or gaps. And this is just for starters as to the state of HIV prevention and intervention in Arkansas.

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