Although December signals the end of the year, we have been quite busy at CBAM. Members of the CHIPTS team at CBAM joined with community and government agencies to co-sponsor two local events. The City of Los Angeles AIDS Coordinator’s Office, in collaboration with several key community partners, hosted a conference on “Addressing the Intersection of Racism & HIV.” This event discussed important topics such as the role of mass incarceration in the spread of HIV, provision of health care services by jails and police departments to economically disadvantaged people and other individuals who come in contact with law enforcement, and the shifting demographics of HIV and how that impacts the policy decisions being made. Speakers challenged those of us in attendance to reflect on the ways in which organizational practices could have unintended, negative consequences that disproportionately impact HIV-positive people of color. Additionally, panelists discussed the ways in which the direct criminalization of HIV promulgates stigma and fear among the community. The event was a great success, providing important and relevant information to frontline staff such as Drug and Alcohol Counselors, MSWs, MFTs, public health professionals, and LCSWs!
In addition to that great event, we were happy to support “S.H.E. is Beautiful”, a second event put on by the Los Angeles Women PrEP Network, which includes community representatives from the Los Angeles Women’s Collaborative, LA County HIV Drug & Alcohol Task Force, APLA Health, UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), One Woman Can, and UCLA/Los Angeles Family AIDS Network (LAFAN).. This all-day event was dedicated to empowering women to take charge of their own sexual health. The program featured Dr. Nina Harawa, whose presentation broke down risk in the context of HIV. Other presentations included a primer on HIV and PrEP, how to implement PrEP and its efficacy in clinical settings, healthy relationships, and Sin Verguenza, a culturally-sensitive tool utilized to begin conversations about HIV in the Latino community.
In the upcoming year, we will continue to support events like these as we strive to provide our communities to provide the tools needed for people to make healthy, informed choices.