Monday, January 11, 2016

#HIV: The Black AIDS Institute 2015 Report on The State of HIV/AIDS Science and Treatment Literacy in the HIV/AIDS Workforce

Nearly one year ago the Black AIDS Institute released its findings from a survey given to conducted of non-medical personnel working in HIV/AIDS in regard to HIV/AIDS science and treatment literacy. There have been multiple times where I openly spoke out about the effectiveness of HIV prevention practices in the Houston area, this time is no different, as this post will focus on the specific findings for Texas. The overall findings released by the Black AIDS Institute have confirmed my assertions that many who we trust to have the knowledge required to do the work of reducing the rates of HIV infection, especially in the Black community are not up to par when it comes to scientific and treatment literacy. Recently the institute released a statement about its findings:

"When We Know Better, We Do Better: The State of HIV/AIDS Science and Treatment Literacy in the HIV/AIDS Workforce," presents results from the U.S. HIV Workforce Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs (KAB) Survey, the largest survey ever conducted of non-medical personnel working in HIV/AIDS in the United States. (The link goes live on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 12:01 a.m.) On Friday, the Institute will launch the #KnowBetterDoBetter Tour, a series of town hall meetings to help the public and media understand survey results for 10 major American cities.
Overall, HIV/AIDS health care service providers at health departments and AIDS-service and community based organizations answered only 63 percent of questions correctly—essentially earning a D grade in their knowledge of HIV science and treatment.
Participants were more likely to answer questions about basic science correctly, scoring a 76, or a C. But the average score on treatment-related questions was a 56, or an F.
Respondents appear particularly ill-prepared to assist HIV-negative people in using antiretroviral-based biomedical prevention tools, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), or to help HIV-positive people in understanding treatment as prevention—tools essential to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Participants answered 46 percent of biomedical questions accurately, an F.
Given the goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation, participants' lack of knowledge is shocking.
"All the tools in the world will not end HIV/AIDS unless those responsible
for using these tools understand them, believe in them, and know how to use them," says Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute..." CONTINUE READING
The report was scathing and had very valid points, but what stuck out to me the most is one of the findings:
Race Matters: Highest Risk, Lowest HIV Science and Treatment Knowledge Among Communities of Color
- "Black and Latino people account for 14% and 16% of the U.S. population, respectively, but they make up 44% and 21% of new HIV infections.3 With Black and Latino communities facing disproportionate risks for HIV infection, they need biomedical treatment and prevention technologies the most. By extension, they need an HIV workforce that is fully prepared to seize new opportunities to lay the foundation to end the epidemic. However, Black and Latino workers in the AIDS field were significantly less likely than white respondents or those from other races/ethnicities to exhibit robust HIV science and treatment knowledge. Importantly, these differences remained statistically significant after controlling for education, region of residence, time working in the AIDS field, or any other variable taken into account in the survey. On average, Black respondents scored about six points lower than white survey participants, while Latino workers scored eight points lower. By contrast, LGBT and HIV positive survey participants scored about three points higher than other survey participants. Unlike Black and Latino communities, where treatment education programs have traditionally been weak or non-existent, LGBT staff belong to a community that has prioritized grassroots treatment education since the epidemic’s early years. People living with HIV obviously have a personal interest in learning about HIV-related science and treatment issues. In addition, a host of resources (e.g., magazines, websites, blogs) are available for people living with HIV to learn about treatment issues, but these have not always been targeted to Blacks and Latinos living with HIV. Other demographic patterns emerge from the findings. The mean score for male respondents is significantly higher than for women, although women who participated in the survey were more likely than their male counterparts to score in the top quartile. Women were also more likely than men to score in the bottom quartile. As a general rule, age did not directly correlate with HIV knowledge. However, the youngest respondents (ages 18-24) scored by far the lowest of all age groups."
Here are some parts of the report that you should take note of, these screengrabs are centrally focused on the state of Texas.





Houston



Dallas - Fort Worth




Austin