The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s HIV & Health Equity program is working with partners to distribute test kits and combat stigma, targeting LGBTQ+ communities disproportionately impacted by HIV
WASHINGTON - Today, on National HIV Testing Day, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, launched a new campaign as part of its national in-home HIV testing program centered around reaching communities disproportionately impacted by HIV – Black and Latinx gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color. HRC is pledging to administer a minimum of 5,000 free in-home HIV testing kits over one year.
Along with the HIV in-home test kits, HRC Foundation’s community campaign, launched last year, targets regions across the country that are the most affected by HIV/AIDS – communities and partners including New Orleans, LA (Community Health PIER), Miami, FL (Arianna’s Center), Washington DC (Us Helping Us), Puerto Rico (Arianna’s Center), Indianapolis, IN (BU Wellness Network) and Greenville, MS (Brotherhood Incorporated). This groundbreaking digital advocacy, public awareness campaign seeks to educate and activate Black and Latinx communities through discussing the intersections of sexual health, race and queerness in order to dismantle long-lasting HIV stigma and fear.
Supported by Gilead Sciences, the home-service fits under the umbrella of My Body, My Health, a comprehensive public education campaign that works toward building a generation free of HIV/AIDS. In addition to disseminating testing kits, the program provides referrals to PrEP providers in the person’s area, and links HIV positive individuals to care via navigation services. The kits will include an OraQuick oral swab, condoms, lubricants, and a test information card. This campaign is being promoted through paid and organic social media marketing as well as in-person events, like Pride events across the country. HRC has also created resources to complement the test kits, such as an online service page that shows local HIV prevention and treatment services.
Over 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Current data confirms that the availability of HIV self-tests in the United States would not only increase HIV awareness, but would also expand access to testing among communities who would not otherwise get an HIV test in traditional healthcare settings. Furthermore, it is recommended that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine healthcare and once every three months for gay and bisexual men.
Marginalized populations, including LGBTQ+ people, face both societal and economic barriers that prevent them from accessing healthcare and communities of color have been hit the hardest – 1 in 2 Black gay and bisexual cisgender men and 1 in 4 Latinx gay and bisexual cisgender men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. According to a recent CDC study in seven United States cities, 42 percent of transgender women interviewed had HIV, with 62 percent of Black transgender women and 35 percent of Latinx transgender women already living with HIV.
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