Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

EQCA report calls for increased data collection, ending HIV in California

Equality California has released a report calling for increased collection of data related to LGBTs and working to end HIV in California, among other recommendations.

The Fair Share for Equality report, shared today (Thursday, January 28) and drawn from the recent Los Angeles gathering of LGBT leaders organized by EQCA’s educational institute, is meant to help close economic, health, and other disparities facing LGBTs.

One of EQCA’s top priorities in recent years has been pushing agencies to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their data collection, arguing the information helps show where resources are needed.

“The collection of accurate, timely data about the LGBT community is vital to reducing disparities in health and wellbeing, simply because if we are not counted, we do not count,” the statewide LGBT advocacy group’s report says. “Government agencies, policymakers, health professionals and other entities providing social services need to know how many LGBT people are being served by existing programs in order to assess how to better meet LGBT health and wellbeing disparities.”

EQCA sponsored state Assemblyman David Chiu’s (D-San Francisco) Assembly Bill 959, which mandates that some social service agencies collect LGBT-specific data.

“Ensuring that agencies implement AB 959 appropriately, that data are actually collected and collected in a way that meets the needs of the LGBT community, and expanding AB 959’s requirements to other agencies is a top priority for Equality California and Equality California Institute,” the report says.

Project Inform Executive Director Dana Van Gorder. Photo: Khaled Sayed

Project Inform Executive Director Dana Van Gorder. Photo: Khaled Sayed

The report, which says, “California has an opportunity to stop the HIV epidemic in its tracks,” also calls for ending the state’s HIV epidemic by increasing “awareness and uptake of PrEP,” among other actions.

Developing a PrEP-based drug assistance program that would provide prevention drugs to people who lack adequate health insurance are among the report’s HIV-related recommendations.

EQCA also suggests the state immediately adopt a strategy similar to San Francisco’s Getting to Zero initiative. That campaign’s goals include reducing by 90 percent HIV transmission in the city by 2020.

Dana Van Gorder, executive director of the San Francisco-based Project Inform, is one of the people who helped craft the “Strategies for Prevention, Treatment, and Support” section of EQCA’s report.

Van Gorder and others point to PrEP’s role in Getting to Zero and the fact that many, especially people of color, don’t know about PrEP or how to get access to it.

“While PrEP will not eliminate the spread of HIV on its own, it is a critical component of California’s overall HIV prevention strategy that includes HIV testing, education, condom distribution, access to sterile syringes, treatment as prevention, PEP, and mental health and substance abuse services,” Van Gorder and others say in the report. “Further, when implemented appropriately, PrEP supports increased engagement with health care providers that will prevent the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections and promote overall health and wellness.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 28, 2016 @ 6:16 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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