February 14, 2005
UCHAPS called upon state and local governments, health agencies and prevention programs to conduct a clear and targeted public health response, including increased resources for primary prevention, increased public awareness, and continued collaboration with public health and medical providers.
This reported multiple-drug-resistant strain of HIV (3-DCR HIV: three-class antiretroviral resistant HIV) highlights the need for HIV prevention programs to continue a focus on primary prevention, which works towards the reduction of high-risk sexual behaviors and substance use, among others. "It's important that the community continues to embrace HIV prevention," said Steven Walker, the UCHAPS Community Co-Chair, "this newly reported case highlights the need for more community-level interventions that seek to address and change community norms regarding HIV risk behaviors. We know that we can't address HIV prevention in a vacuum, separate and apart from the other issues that compose the complexities of life."
The co-factors that lead to risk-taking are complex and include a broad range of issues including racism, homophobia, stigma, poverty, and violence, which each must be addressed in a coordinated effort and integrated into a comprehensive health promotion program. "Those of us in health departments are committed to working with our local and national partners, including our colleagues in other highly impacted urban centers and the CDC, to develop proactive responses to this new challenge. Our commitment to the coordination of HIV prevention and AIDS care have been significantly underscored by these recent developments." said Bill Stackhouse, Ph.D., UCHAPS Governmental Co-Chair.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene developed resources to assist community groups and health departments in responding to questions about the episode, as well as increasing awareness of medical providers: www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/public/press05/pr016-05.html.
The Urban Coalition of HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS) is a coalition of HIV prevention leaders in six cities that collectively represent one-third of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States and includes New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, and Chicago. For more information, www.uchaps.org.