World AIDS Day: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice
November 17 2021
Each year on December 1st, we commemorate World AIDS Day by honoring the nearly 38 million people living with HIV, mourning those we have lost to AIDS, and reflecting upon our worldwide response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This year marked 40 years since the first cases of what later became known as AIDS were officially reported. Since then more than 36 million people, including 700,000 in the United States, have died from AIDS-related illness globally.
The national theme for World AIDS Day 2021—Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice—highlights the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ending the HIV epidemic by addressing health inequities and ensuring that the voices of people living with HIV are central to this work.
This is the second World AIDS Day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and though the COVID-19 vaccine has mitigated the threat of the coronavirus on public health, the COVID pandemic has presented challenges to ending the HIV epidemic. In New York State, HIV testing and the use of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. PrEP usage is critical to getting back on track in ending the epidemic, especially among populations most deeply affected by HIV—particularly people of color and LGBTQ communities.
This year’s World AIDS Day theme reflects the need to break down barriers to accessing care for communities disproportionately impacted by HIV. This includes efforts to reach key populations including gay and bisexual men; people of color; women of color; people of transgender experience; those who use drugs; and other less-resourced populations. We have the opportunity to learn from the challenges presented by COVID and reinstitute the practices that were successful in supporting those placed at highest risk for HIV, by re-enforcing the work of STI clinics, increasing education and outreach, and strengthening emerging best practices like telemedicine, which has enabled many to get the services they need.
The role of Medicaid SNPs (Special Needs health Plans) like Amida Care has proven crucial to helping end the HIV epidemic, as detailed in a new report released by George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, together with Amida Care. HIV Special Needs Plans in the New York State Medicaid Program documents how this approach and its impressive results play a critical role in the state’s progress toward ending the HIV epidemic, as well as demonstrating the value of SNPs as a model for health systems to meet the challenges of caring for individuals living with complex conditions, including HIV.
This December 1, we renew our commitment to work with and in our communities to end the HIV epidemic here in New York, across the country, and around the world.
New York State 2021 World AIDS Day Event and Ending the Epidemic Summit
New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute is hosting the 23rd Annual World AIDS Day (WAD) Event (December 1) and the 2021 Ending the Epidemic (ETE) Summit (November 30 and December 2).
The theme for this year’s ETE Summit and WAD event is “Overcoming Pandemics–ETE and COVID-19; From the Ground Up: Over 40 years of Public Health.” The goal of these events is to highlight many of the important stories and testimonies of determination, courage, hope, and progress that New Yorkers continue to demonstrate each day, despite the many challenges presented in 2020 and 2021. Check out Amida Care’s exhibitor booth, workshops, and poster presentations at this year’s ETE Summit!
Registration for the event is free. Those who are not able to join the event are invited to register to view recordings of all presentations, available through June 2022. For more information and to register: https://whova.com/web/wadea_202111/
World AIDS Day Marathon (5K, 10K & Half Marathon)
Sunday, December 5, Celebrate World AIDS day by running or walking whatever distance you choose to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and funds for the Richard M. Brodsky Foundation. Start-time is 9:30 am in Far Rockaway, Queens. More information: https://events.elitefeats.com/aids21
Amida Care’s World AIDS Day Event of Remembrance & Resilience
Join us on Wednesday, December 8, from 3:30 – 5 pm for a virtual World AIDS Day event presented by Amida Care. Come together for a conversation and mental wellness event facilitated by Reforum Consulting. This interactive event will include an activity for making your own World AIDS Day memorial ribbon. Join us here: https://tinyurl.com/y7xbzdxj