Fall 2003/Winter 2004
Thanks to a new Ryan White Title I funded contract from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, ACRIA will soon be providing HIV treatment education technical assistance to community-based organizations (CBOs) in New York City. This contract allows ACRIA to offer multi-day trainings and ongoing, individual follow-up support to staff of local CBOs. The goal of the program is to help service providers develop the skills and knowledge to provide accurate, practical HIV treatment information to their clients in ways that are culturally appropriate. We plan to include 50 CBO staff members in the program annually, helping them to integrate HIV treatment issues into the provision of social services at their organizations. The new program is modeled on ACRIA's established National HIV Treatment Education Technical Assistance Program. Our national initiative, which provides training and follow-up support to organizations and individuals in regions outside of New York State, is funded entirely by private sources. We expect the technical assistance services in New York City to begin in early 2004.
Over the past few months, ACRIA had the pleasure of bringing five participants in our National HIV Treatment Education Technical Assistance Program to work with us in New York City. Following a competitive application process, two program participants from Baltimore, Maryland and three from Wisconsin -- two from Madison and one from Milwaukee -- joined us for a week of intensive work with ACRIA staff. Our guests worked on research projects, updated educational materials, participated in program development meetings and literature reviews, and accompanied ACRIA treatment educators to agencies throughout the city to observe and participate in client workshops and staff trainings. Our guests provide HIV treatment education to varying degrees in very different settings, from case management to street outreach, but one thing that they all have in common is a commitment to offer useful, accurate information to their communities. We invite program participants to work with us so that they can receive hands-on technical assistance as they're in the process of expanding or developing treatment education programs at their own organizations. According to our guests from Maryland and Wisconsin, the time spent at ACRIA was extremely valuable. Their visits were equally valuable to us, and we appreciate having been able to collaborate with such thoughtful, community-focused individuals.
ACRIA has completed its first studies focusing on the emerging healthcare needs of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAs) as they age. In the past year, ACRIA has developed one of the largest databases of PLWAs who are 50 years and older. Two studies were conducted in 2003, findings from which were recently presented at several major city, state and national conferences.
Data from our study of care provider arrangements for PLWAs were presented at the New York State Society of Aging meeting in Albany and the HIV Health and Human Services Council of New York City, both in October, as well as at the November meeting of the American Gerontological Society in San Diego. While the presentations covered numerous points, a central finding described the likely heavy reliance that PLWAs will have on the healthcare system as they age. This is because we found that PLWAs are more apt to live alone than the general public and to have relatively few informal care giving relationships, such as those provided by a spouse or children. The implications of this research are significant for the public health system. ACRIA's future studies will be designed to identify which co-morbidity factors are more likely to impact on the health of older PLWAs, in part to help better plan for the specific needs of this aging cohort.
A detailed description of ACRIA's findings from our initial research into the over 50 PLWA cohort can be read online at www.acria.org. Data on this topic will also be presented by our researchers at the New York Association for HIV Over 50 meeting in December.
This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. It is a part of the publication ACRIA Update. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.