Ending the HIV Epidemic Newsletter

By Mike Weir June 30, 2021

June 2021 EHE Newsletter 

NASTAD, with collaboration from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), distributes a monthly newsletter to Phase 1 Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) jurisdictions. The newsletter informs recipients of EHE related policy updates, communications from federal partners, success stories, and other related EHE information. As the CDC PS19-1906 National Partner and HRSA-20-089 Systems Coordinator Provider recipients, NASTAD also launched an EHE website to house programmatic updates, share strategies and outcomes from Phase 1 jurisdictions, and connect health departments with community. For questions, comments, or content contributions, please contact Mike Weir.

Administration Updates

Save the Date: CDC PS20-2010 Virtual Recipient Meeting | July 13 – 15  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP), will host a Virtual Recipient Meeting for health department recipients and Phase 1 county representatives on the PS20-2010: Integrated HIV Programs for Health Departments to Support Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States. The purpose of this recipient meeting is to provide funded health departments with federal and local updates regarding their Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) program as well as peer to peer sharing on implementation efforts.

The intended audience for this meeting includes the 32 PS20-2010 funded health departments and representatives from the multiple Phase I counties. The virtual recipient meeting will take place July 13 – 15, 2021 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM ET. Please refer to CDC DHAP communication for meeting updates and registration details. 

Ending the Epidemic Stakeholder Webinar 

On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) will host a stakeholder webinar on efforts to implement EHE initiative. The webinar will be held from 2:00-3:30 PM ET. Click here to register.

Biden Administration Appoints Director of the Division of STD Prevention 

On June 15, the Director of the CDC National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STDs, and Tuberculosis Prevention (NCHHSTP) announced that Dr. Leandro Mena will serve as the Director of the Division of STD Prevention. In this role, Dr. Mena will manage the implementation and evaluation of CDC supported sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention programs in the United States. Health advocates applauded the appointment, highlighting Dr. Mena’s wealth of public health, clinical, and research experience.

US Department of Veterans Affairs Releases Interim Guidance on Syringe Access Services at VA Medical Centers 

On June 16, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released interim guidance clarifying the role of syringe service programs (SSPs) in VA medical centers. The guidance confirms that VA has clear legal authority under federal law and regulations to operate SSPs, including the use of federal funds to purchase syringes. The guidance recommends that VA medical centers either develop VA-based SSPs locally and/or refer Veterans to community partners for these services.

HRSA Funding Opportunity for Pilot Project with Minority Serving Institutions to Build HIV Workforce 

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently published a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) aimed at increasing the number of health professionals providing HIV care and treatment services to people of color through pilot projects that integrate HIV information into the curricula of undergraduate minority serving institutions of higher education (MSIs). HRSA’s Building the HIV Workforce and Strengthening Engagement in Communities of Color (B-SEC) initiative emphasizes leveraging the long-standing presence and trusted voice of MSIs in communities of color disproportionately affected by HIV, through educating and training students in HIV care and treatment, raising awareness about the advances in HIV care and treatment, and reducing stigma in the communities in which the MSIs are located. Funding under this announcement will support a cooperative agreement for a four-year award to a single organization to address the national shortage of minority-serving providers in the HIV workforce. Click here to read more about the funding opportunity. Applications are due on July 6.

CDC Launches HIV Criminalization and Ending the HIV Epidemic Webpage 

On June 24, CDC launched the HIV Criminalization and Ending the HIV Epidemic webpage as part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic campaign. CDC recognizes that Ending the HIV Epidemic requires addressing structural barriers to HIV prevention and care, including laws that criminalize the behavior of people living with HIV. CDC recommends that states update or repeal outdated HIV criminalization laws and practices that are based on stigma and not on current scientific and medical evidence. Currently, 37 states criminalize the behavior of people with HIV through HIV- or STD-specific laws.

CDC Launches Next Phase of Know More Hepatitis Campaign 

On June 16, CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis launched the next phase of the Know More Hepatitis campaign, which will target primary and prenatal care providers. The campaign will educate providers on the CDC recommendation for one-time hepatitis C (HCV) testing of all adults and all pregnant people during every pregnancy, and regular testing for people at high risk for contracting HCV, including people who inject drugs.

Legislative Updates

Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Health for Mental Health and Substance Use Confirmed by Senate

On June 24, the Senate confirmed by unanimous consent the nomination of Miriam Delphin-Rittmon to lead the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved Delphin-Rittmon’s nomination by a vote of 20-2, advancing her nomination to the full Senate floor.


Save the Date: NASTAD’s 2021 Virtual EHE Implementation Technical Assistance Meeting | August 3 – 5 

NASTAD is pleased to announce the 2021 Virtual EHE Implementation Technical Assistance Meeting, taking place Aug. 3 – 5, 2021 from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST each day. This virtual meeting will provide EHE Phase 1 Jurisdictions funded through CDC PS20-2010 Component A and HRSA-20-078 with technical assistance on EHE plan implementation. Topics will center around each of the four EHE pillars (Diagnose, Treat, Prevent, Respond) with a focus on community engagement and workforce development in each pillar. As a technical assistance meeting, health departments and community leaders will have the opportunity to workshop aspects of their plans with feedback from national TA providers. 

NASTAD will conduct the TA meeting in partnership with CDC DHAP, HRSA HAB, and national and regional partner organizations. NASTAD will open registration for this meeting with a public announcement by early July. At that time, health departments will have the opportunity to register EHE staff and community leaders for the meeting. 

Please contact Krupa Mehta and Jennifer Flannagan with any questions. 

NASTAD Webinar: Building HIV Workforce Infrastructure of Health Departments and Community Partners 

Date & Time: Wednesday, June 30 from 2:00-3:30 PM ET.  

The second webinar in the three-part Scaling Up HIV Workforce Capacity for Ending the HIV Epidemic webinar series will cover building up and strengthening of HIV workforce within health departments and community partners. The Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) will discuss strategies and skills for recruitment of new workforce, and training and retention of existing workforce. The Northern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center will share approaches for collaboration and cross-training within health departments and community agencies. Marion County, an Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Phase 1 Jurisdiction will share their plans for developing HIV workforce as a part of their EHE implementation. 

NASTAD Fact Sheet: Towards Trans-Inclusive and Trans-Centered Harm Reduction Services  

This fact sheet outlines five recommendations for harm reduction service providers to foster more affirming and welcoming spaces for transgender and non-binary participants at syringe service programs (SSPs). Created by NASTAD and Reframe Health and Justice, the fact sheet was developed through the CDC-funded National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center and is a companion to the Trans-Inclusive and Trans-Centered Harm Reduction Services webinar hosted by NASTAD in December 2020.

CAI Webinar: Ending the HIV Epidemic through Innovations in Rapid ART. 

Date & Time: Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET 

CAI will host an Ending the HIV Epidemic through Innovations in Rapid ART webinar on Thursday, July 29, 2021, from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET/11:00 AM - 12:00 PT. For more information: Email tap-in@caiglobal.org.

Webinar Learning Objectives: 

  • Discuss how implementation or enhancement of rapid ART programs can help meet EHE goals  
  • Describe key elements of an innovative rapid ART program  
  • Identify challenges and facilitators of rapid ART implementation  
  • Utilize technical assistance resources to help implement or improve rapid ART programs locally

2021 Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium 

Date: September 29-30, 2021 

As part of the HRSA-funded Special Project of National Significance (SPNS): Evidence-Informed Approaches to Improving Health Outcomes for People Living with HIV, Howard Brown Health will host the virtual 2021 Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium taking place on September 29-30. This year's theme is Community Informed Care is a Radical Act. The goal of the conference is to provide a space for healthcare professionals, educators, researchers, and advocates from across the country to disseminate evidence-based practices and engage in rigorous discussion around issues relating to the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities.

ASTHO Webinar: Designing HIV Systems for the Margins 

Date & Time: Monday, July 12 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET 

This webinar will provide an opportunity to learn about approaches and promising practices for addressing disparities in HIV care. It will feature a presentation about a model, “Design for the Margins,” for designing HIV systems through a health equity lens. It will also feature presentations about efforts to apply principles from this model in HIV programs to reach populations that are currently out of care.

CDC MMWR: HIV Testing Trends Among Persons with Commercial Insurance or Medicaid 

“The percentage of males and nonpregnant females aged ≥13 years with either commercial insurance or Medicaid who received testing for HIV increased from 2014 to 2019 but was less than 6%. Testing rates were higher among persons with Medicaid than those with commercial insurance; among those with Medicaid, rates for Black/African Americans and Hispanic/Latino persons were higher than for White persons.”

CDC MMWRHepatitis A Virus Infections Among Men Who Have Sex with Men — Eight U.S. States, 2017–2018 

“During January 1, 2017–October 31, 2018, a total of 260 cases of hepatitis A occurred among MSM from eight states compared with 16 cases reported from 50 states during 2013─2015. Forty-eight percent (124 of 258) of MSM patients were hospitalized for a median of 3 days. No deaths were reported.” 

TakeMeHome Program Expands to Offer STD Test Kits  

NASTAD continues to partner with Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC) on a free HIV and STD test kit home delivery program, TakeMeHome. BHOC and NASTAD created a seamless process to handle payment from health jurisdictions, which will be promoted by Grindr to users who live in city or states included in the program. For more information about the program, contact Natalie Cramer or Kendrell Taylor

Self-Testing Webinar Series Update   

NASTAD is pleased to announce the release of a new toolkit entitled “Self-Testing: A Strategy to Improve Access to HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and STI Testing”. NASTAD, in partnership with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), developed this toolkit to help health departments, public health laboratories, and their community partners decide whether and how to incorporate self-testing for HIV, viral hepatitis, and STIs. For additional questions about the toolkit, please contact Kendrell Taylor (NASTAD), Liisa Randall (NASTAD Consultant), or Anne Gaynor (APHL).

Register for the Clinic+ Connect Community Conference! 

NCSD is excited to announce its first annual Clinic+ Connect Community Conference to be held on Wednesday,  July 7th  from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET! Join us as we convene our sexual health clinic colleagues from across the country to explore current important issues facing clinics and identify innovative best practices.

Confirmed speakers include: 

  • Dr. Laura Bachmann, Chief Medical Officer, and Acting Deputy Division Director, DSTDP, who will speak about doxycycline for chlamydia treatment 
  • Matthew Crehan Higgins, AVP of Specialty Care at Evergreen Health and 
  • Ashley Zuppelli, PharmD, BCACP, AAHIVP, Senior Director, Strategic Service Lines at Trillium Health who will present on status-neutral patient navigation for PrEP and rapid-start ART 

An updated agenda with additional speakers and topics will be shared soon. Registration is FREE and the first 500 registrants will receive a complimentary gift bag. Please encourage your colleagues to attend! Click here to register.

Ending the HIV Epidemic Jurisdictional Directory 

NASTAD maintains an Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Jurisdictional Directory. Health department staff members are encouraged to update their jurisdiction’s information using this brief form.   

Jurisdictional Map of Phase 1 EHE Final Plans    

NASTAD released a resource that provides access to Phase 1 EHE websites and plans. Please email Krupa Mehta additional Phase 1 EHE plans for inclusion in this resource as well as any changes to existing plans.


Covid-fueled boom in at-home tests may next extend to STDs 

“The pandemic brought widespread Covid testing into people’s homes. Now, public health officials across the country are seeing whether the convenience and privacy of similar easy-to-use kits can help them track the spread of sexually transmitted disease. As society reopens, officials in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and even rural Idaho are mailing thousands of free HIV test kits to people who request them online — and are starting to do the same for STDs. With gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis at record high rates, the officials say new self-swab and finger-prick testing options that patients mail to labs could ease pressure on strapped public health clinics, still consumed with the coronavirus crisis, that also bear the burden of more routine disease surveillance.”

People With Both HIV and Detectable Hepatitis B Are at Higher Risk for Liver Cancer 

“Individuals who are coinfected with both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV are at greater risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. But findings published in Hepatology show that antiretroviral therapy active against hepatitis B would considerably reduce the risk of liver cancer.” 

United Nations Adopts New Goals to End AIDS by 2030 

“United Nations member states voted 165 to 4 to adopt a new declaration to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The document sets specific goals, such as lowering annual new HIV cases each year to fewer than 370,000, lowering AIDS-related deaths to under 250,000 by 2025 and providing HIV treatment to 34 million people by the same year.”