The overlapping crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the smoldering fire of the multi-decade HIV epidemic have revealed and identified the unique intersectional challenges faced by the marginalized groups who suffer the brunt of what are essentially failures in public health policy. These failures largely fall along the lines of historical racial, gender, and socioeconomic prejudices. In order to undo this tangled knot of racism, sexism, and classism, we must first enumerate the necessary steps to recognizing and resolving the effect of inherent and systemic bias in our shared societal values that guide our public health response and policy.
Here is our 5-point plan for innovating solutions to this multidimensional, multigenerational crisis:
1. Incorporate the Human Rights and Sexual & Reproductive Justice Frameworks into Public Health training (MPH programs), programs and services, research, policy.
2. Disrupt Community Engagement by shifting all community engagement strategy, design, coordination and implementation where it belongs - with the community, not at the institution or the research site.
3. Recognize, acknowledge, and incorporate the lived experiences and indigenous expertise of the folks in a way that informs the science and development of solutions.
4. Remove the profit out of pandemics and make sure that there is equitable distribution of the testing, data systems, epidemiology/surveillance and vaccines needed to end this dual pandemic/epidemic.
5. Invest in the problem where the problem lies, not just with the people who think they are the ones to solve the problem. To learn more about what you can do to innovate justice to combat the HIV epidemic on a personal, social, and political scale, join us this Thursday at 9:30am EST to hear our founder, Dázon Dixon Diallo in conversation with the Columbia University HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies seminar. REGISTER
And visit our Programs page to learn more about our 31 year herstory of bringing hope, health, and happiness to those living with, or affected by, HIV. To support our work, consider becoming a monthly supporter in our special fundraiser to lift up HIV Heroes in your community