Dallas – The Southern Black Policy & Advocacy Network (SBPAN) has released a first-of-its kind HIV advocacy needs assessment in conjunction with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The report brings together often-disparate data sets in order to provide a more complete picture of HIV and advocacy needs for black communities in the South than ever before. The report, titled “HIV Advocacy Needs Assessment: Health Policy and Advocacy Opportunities for Black Communities in the South,” includes cross-comparisons of: statewide HIV prevalence rates, HIV care continuum data, Ryan White HIV/AIDS program data, Medicaid expansion, statewide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) coverage, community mobilization and advocacy perceptions and opportunities, and the black public health workforce. The US South accounts for 51% of new HIV cases annually despite representing just 38% of the U.S. population.

“Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” is a ten-year US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initiative that seeks to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the US by 75% within five years and by at least 90% within ten years. All nine states included in SBPAN’s report have priority EHE Phase 1 jurisdictions, meaning they are among the communities in the US most heavily impacted by HIV. This report highlights the necessity for “A Plan for America” that is responsive to the realities of black communities in the South who are most affected by HIV.

“Too often data is insufficient in enabling real comparisons,” says Venton Hill-Jones, head of SBPAN, “so we sought to fill this knowledge gap. EHE work really necessitates a localized approach to improve health outcomes. With this document, we are ensuring that communities have this incredibly timely and important information that they need in order to make their EHE plans and, ultimately, advance the end of HIV in the South.” SBPAN worked with a diverse body of advocates, community-based organization leaders, public health professionals, and persons living with HIV across all nine states represented in the report. This is a first step in building out a broader advocacy network focused on Black communities in the South, and advancing not only HIV but also other health and workforce disparities. (Southern Black Policy & Advocacy Network Press Release The report may be viewed at static1.squarespace.com/static/5b7dd0e94cde7aeb74d84a7b/t/5e3ce97b8792a018e5926ee8/1581050505465/SBPAN_NeedsAssessment_lowres.pdf)

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