By Guest Blogger Britten Pund, Manager, Care and Treatment, National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD).
Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day – a day, in the words of President Obama, when we as a nation and those around the world, “recommit to building on the great strides made in fighting HIV, to preventing the spread of the disease, to continuing our efforts to combat stigma and discrimination, and to finding a cure.”
The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) is proud to take part in World AIDS Day and to continue our efforts to combat HIV/AIDS every day of the year.
Founded in 1992, NASTAD is a nonprofit national association of state and territorial health department HIV/AIDS program directors, who administer HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis health care, prevention, education and supportive services. (These programs are funded by state and federal governments.)
NASTAD’s mission is to strengthen state and territorial-based leadership and expertise, as well as reduce the incidence of HIV and viral hepatitis infection, while providing care and support to all people who live with HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis. NASTAD works in tandem with its membership and their staff to make decisions and reach common goals in pursuit of this mission. Its members also have considerable expertise in identifying programmatic needs and responding to the challenges of the HIV and viral hepatitis epidemics nationwide.
As part of their responsibilities, NASTAD members administer Ryan White Program Part B and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) by organizing systems of health care and supportive services for uninsured and underinsured individuals living with HIV. NASTAD members also administer HIV prevention programs and many are also responsible for surveillance, viral hepatitis and STD programs and refugee health and family planning programs, funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
NASTAD works closely with its members and other national organizations to achieve its commitment to increase access and reduce barriers to adequate HIV prevention and care services for disenfranchised communities. NASTAD has published several important documents focusing on addressing health disparities among communities of color, including:
- Why We Can’t Wait: The Tipping Point Among African Americans and HIV/AIDS
- Breaking Through the Silence: Key Issues and Recommendations to Address HIV/AIDS Among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the United States
- Adelante! Strengthening the Response to HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis in Latino Communities.
NASTAD’s commitment to reducing health disparities is also woven throughout all its programs and is central to its mission. Additionally, NASTAD has released a Statement of Urgency regarding the HIV epidemic in gay men, calling for increased federal funding for prevention programs and committing that state HIV/AIDS directors will examine existing programs and develop innovative programs targeting gay men.
NASTAD programs are organized as follows:
Care and Treatment: NASTAD's Care and Treatment Program provides programmatic and policy technical assistance to state and territorial HIV/AIDS programs in a number of care and treatment-related areas.
NASTAD’s Care and Treatment Program produces the National ADAP Monitoring Project Report, a yearly in-depth analysis of AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). This report is universally recognized as the main source for the most current and comprehensive information on ADAPs. ADAPs provide life-saving HIV treatments to low income, uninsured and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories. Ryan White Part B programs provide necessary medical and support services to low income, uninsured and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS in all states, territories and associated jurisdictions.
Prevention: NASTAD's HIV Prevention Program is focused on building the capacity of health departments to implement and manage effective HIV/AIDS prevention programs. NASTAD produces several prevention focused publications, including A New Blueprint for the Future: Ending the Epidemic through the Power of Prevention and its companion document, the NASTAD Prevention Policy Agenda. The Blueprint provides guidelines for state and territorial health departments to ensure they have the financial, political and programmatic resources necessary to meaningfully scale up domestic HIV prevention efforts.
NASTAD’s prevention program also includes a viral hepatitis component. Viral hepatitis is the name collectively used for liver infections caused by five major recognized types of hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D and E). HIV and hepatitis A, B and C overlap greatly in their modes of transmission, and populations at the greatest risk all have drastic, long-term medical, economic and social consequences if they are infected by one or more of the viruses. NASTAD’s Viral Hepatitis Program provides guidance and information for state HIV/AIDS programs to: 1) develop appropriate staff expertise on viral hepatitis; 2) inform them of existing materials and resources on this subject; and 3) enable them to conduct an assessment of how to incorporate viral hepatitis issues into their existing programs.
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: NASTAD has prioritized addressing racial and ethnic health disparities as an overarching goal of its work, setting the stage for forward movement toward policies and programs that seek to reduce health disparities in vulnerable, yet resilient populations. NASTAD acknowledges and grapples with a complex web of social factors in creating programs that reduce and ultimately seek to eliminate the spread of HIV and viral hepatitis in minority communities.
Global AIDS Technical Assistance: NASTAD’s Global Program is part of a unified U.S. response to the global AIDS pandemic and focuses on increasing the capacity of resource-constrained countries to plan and deliver HIV prevention, care and treatment activities by working with both government entities and non-governmental organizations.
NASTAD’s programs are supported by the Government Relations Program, which leads government affairs activities. The Government Relations team participates and leads a variety of community coalitions to advocate for increased resources and sound policies for the prevention of HIV and viral hepatitis and for the care and treatment of individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
Britten Pund is a Manager with the Care and Treatment Program at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). Ms. Pund has been with NASTAD since 2006 and is responsible for the research and production of the National ADAP Monitoring Project and ADAP Watch.