Did you know that December is HIV/AIDS Awareness Month? Every year, December 1 marks World AIDS day and kicks off a month-long period to spread information and raise awareness & much-needed funds for HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and research.
The tradition dates back to 1988, at the peak of the HIV epidemic. World AIDS day was the first global health day. At the time, an HIV/AIDS diagnosis was life-ending, quickly becoming the leading cause of death among Americans in the early 1990s. Sadly, that continues to be the case for many.
But it doesn’t have to be.
A lot of research has been done, tests have been designed, and there are more tools than ever before to prevent and treat HIV, including PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), safety measures like access to regular testing, safe sex, and information regarding the increased risks for drug users.
Still, the DCD reports that race and ethnicity have an effect on the prevention and management of HIV/AIDS. Community health workers can prevent the spread and improve the outcomes of these infections.
What Community Health Workers Can Do In The Fight Against HIV/AIDS
CHWTraining has educated people across the country and distributed resources to help health workers run successful awareness and outreach campaigns since developing HIV/AIDS: Supporting Community Members. Here are 7 free outreach tools and resources (in English and Spanish) that will help you and your team support World AIDS Day on December 1st, HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, and beyond.
[In December, you can add HIV/AIDS: Supporting Community Members in English or Spanish to any learning subscription at no extra cost. Contact CHWTraining to get started.]
Community health workers, promotores de salud, peer educators, and other frontline health workers are in a unique position to speak to at-risk populations one on one. Your program can shape the future for the most vulnerable citizens and help them make empowered decisions to save their lives.
Outreach Resources For A CHW Program To Prevent HIV/AIDS
1. Expanding Your Reach To End the HIV Epidemic: Community Engagement Toolkit (PDF), Minority AIDS Council
This in-depth toolkit is a step-by-step process for building and launching a community engagement program for reducing HIV in communities. This toolkit is for program coordinators or administrators rather than CHWs working alone, but it’s still a great educational tool loaded with ideas and examples. Anyone can review “Principles for Community Engagement” or templates for surveys and assessments. Many examples of projects targeting Latino communities.
2. Blueprint For Improving Hiv/Std Prevention And Care Outcomes For Black And Latino Gay Men, NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors)
This downloadable toolkit zeroes in on one of the toughest areas of HIV prevention there is, especially in the Latino community: stigma. Stigma is an especially dangerous barrier because it stops people from taking action to protect themselves, get tested or get treated. The document helpfully talks about stigma and includes reflective questions that help guide administrators through setting up an HIV and STD outreach program to target the area. The “Recommended Steps for Removing Stigma from Public Health Practice” is a helpful guide to drive a campaign and offer services.
3. We Are Family or Somos Familia, Greater Than AIDS
Language: English and Spanish
Greater Than AIDS offers several documentaries in both English and Spanish that address relationships for Latinos living with HIV. Share these videos with clients and partners to show how important social support is for people with HIV. Strong support networks make it more likely that people will seek care and stick to treatment programs. Greater Than also offers community toolkits for on-the-ground outreach.
4. You Know Different Social Marketing Campaign Toolkit (PDF), The National Youth Advocacy Coalition
This toolkit is made especially for anyone looking to use social marketing as an outreach strategy to encourage youth HIV testing. It is intended to help organizations plan and carry out the You Know Different social marketing campaign. That aims to boost counseling, testing, and referral services among and sexual minority youth of color aged 13–24. It’s incredibly detailed and useful with key messages that are useful in any campaign.
5. Detengamos Juntos el VIH, CDC
This web-based guide provides case studies with sample scripts to deal with the stigma around HIV and Latinos. It’s part of a larger campaign to address HIV. This short section is immediately useful for anyone who engages with clients in various situations.
6. Campanas para la movilizacion social (PDF), Ingeniería sin Fronteras Asociación para el Desarrollo
This Spanish social mobilization tool is made as a how-to guide for outreach in various sectors. It carefully plots out each step to creating and executing any outreach campaign, including several examples for HIV/AIDS campaigns. At 200 pages, it’s a weighty resource, but it’s a useful tool for engaging Spanish-speaking audiences.
7. Latinx People, The Body
The Body is an outstanding resource for HIV/AIDS awareness and education. This collection of stories, news and reports on Latino populations dealing with HIV is inspirational and useful. For example, a story on HIV in Orange County, California, provides a snapshot about the LGBTQ-focused preventive and primary care organization and how they’re fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Another story “Fighting a Rising HIV Epidemic Among Latino Gay and Bisexual Men in Phoenix” is loaded with personal stories.
HIV Awareness Days by Population
December 1 isn’t the only HIV/AIDS Awareness holiday in the US. Across the country, some minority populations observe Awareness Days for HIV and AIDS:
February 7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
March 10: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
March 20: National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
April 10: National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
April 18: National Transgender HIV Testing Day
May 19: National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
June 27: National HIV Testing Day
August 20: Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
September 18: National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day
September 27: National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
October 15: National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day
Source: Centers for Disease Control.