NACCHO and CAI Select Avenue 360 Health & Wellness and AIDS Foundation Houston for the Southern Initiative to Address Disparities in HIV Outcomes Among Minority Populations in the South
Houston, TX, April 25, 2017 – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in partnership with Cicatelli Associates, Inc. (CAI), is proud to announce the selection of Avenue 360 Health & Wellness and AIDS Foundation Houston for the Southern Initiative, a project which aims to improve HIV outcomes among minority populations in the Southern United States. This two-and-a-half year initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, and administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Division of Metropolitan HIV/AIDS Programs.
The Southern Initiative will focus on four Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part A jurisdictions: Atlanta, Houston, Memphis, and New Orleans. Avenue 360, along with AIDS Foundation Houston, was selected for the Houston jurisdiction. Avenue 360 will receive funding and technical assistance to implement innovative and evidence-based interventions aimed at improving outcomes across the HIV care continuum, and reducing disparities among minority populations, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM), youth, cisgender and transgender women and people who inject drugs. In alignment with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, interventions will focus on establishing systems to seamlessly link people to care immediately after HIV diagnosis and support retention in care to achieve viral suppression. For those who test negative, interventions will support prevention counseling and planning, including PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis.
“Providing HIV-related prevention services specifically tailored for our region is an incredible opportunity to see a community-based approach improving outcomes across all cases,” said the Chief Executive Officer Joe C. Fuentes, Jr., MBA.
The South bears a disproportionate burden—over 50 percent—of newly diagnosed cases of HIV. In addition, outcomes along the HIV care continuum are among the lowest in the country, and disparities among minority populations are particularly pronounced. For example, African Americans are severely affected by HIV in the South. Black MSM face an especially heavy burden, accounting for 59 percent of all HIV diagnoses among African Americans in the South, and black women account for 69 percent of all HIV diagnoses among women in the South.
“We appreciate the forward-looking opportunity presented by NACCHO to show how clinical services and community-based services organization can work together to change the trajectory of HIV/AIDS in the south. A focus on a Southern Initiative is paramount to getting to ZERO,” said Kelly Young, Chief Executive Officer of AIDS Foundation Houston.
Close collaboration with local HIV prevention and care programs will ensure that these efforts are integrated into the local infrastructure to promise sustainability beyond the project—and lessons learned will be shared to support the improvement of HIV outcomes among minority populations in the United States.
About Avenue 360 Health & Wellness
For over 30 years, Avenue 360 Health & Wellness (formerly Houston Area Community Services and Bering Omega Community Services) has worked to bring a 360-degree approach to healthcare. Offering a holistic solution for those seeking a medical home, at Avenue 360 the patient is at the center of the healthcare model, receiving medical, dental, behavioral health, housing and support services. For more information, please visit www.avenue360.org.
About AIDS Foundation Houston
AIDS Foundation Houston founded in 1982, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that was the first AIDS Service Organization in Texas and remains a national leader in HIV/STD programming. Focusing on preventing new HIV infections and providing housing and supportive services to those affected by HIV/AIDS, AFH provides care to almost 6,000 men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS and educates more than 90,000 people throughout Texas. For more information, please visit www.aidshelp.org.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.
Cicatelli Associates, Inc. is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of underserved populations worldwide. For more than 35 years CAI has provided customized capacity building services to health and human service organizations in more than 27 countries and all 50 states. Offering more than 1,500 training programs annually, CAI’s passionate staff works to fulfill its mission: to use the transformative power of education and research to foster a more aware, healthy, compassionate and equitable world. For more information about CAI, please visit www.caiglobal.org.
This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF) and administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) and Division of Metropolitan HIV/AIDS Programs (DMHAP).
Paul Pettie, Director of Development
Avenue 360 Health & Wellness