Employing Consumer Workers: A Vital Strategy to End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in New York State
March 19, 2020
Amida Care has released a report, “Employing Consumer Workers: A Vital Strategy to End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in New York State,” which details the barriers to work for New Yorkers living with HIV and how to address them. Supporting the employment of people living with HIV at living-wage jobs is a critical component of ending the HIV epidemic.
The health of many New Yorkers living with HIV has improved dramatically since the early days of the HIV epidemic. Many are now physically able and mentally motivated to contribute to the workforce and their own livelihood by working again. Referred to as “consumers” of health care, individuals with lived HIV experience who seek employment are uniquely qualified to provide support services to people with similar complex conditions. Investment in consumer (or peer) workforce development is a win-win proposition for everyone: the consumer workers, the people living with HIV and other complex conditions whom they serve and support, and government agencies and taxpayers.
Since 2003, Amida Care has hired over 500 of its members by developing and investing in two major consumer workforce programs: Workforce Initiative Network (WIN) and HIV Innovator Employment Project. The report includes outcomes from these programs and commentary from workers with lived HIV experience.