HIV EDUCATION & TRAINING
For the past fifteen years, AARTH has sustained a collaborative funding partnership with the Mountain West AIDS Education and Training Center at the University of Washington. Through this collaboration, AARTH offers over 40 HIV/AIDS courses, health equity & social justice curriculum and capacity building, clinical preceptorships, clinical consultations, web-based learning and initiatives for professionals providing health care, treatment and education services for people of African descent throughout a ten state region, including but not limited to Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Utah, and Idaho.
Our Health Equity & Social Justice (HESJ) in HIV Care services are a major component of our HIV/AIDS program. We began addressing equity and social justice along with social-cultural issues in health care in 2009. This work led to designing curriculum to address the Social Determinants of Health and holistic care for healthcare providers serving marginalized communities of color. This training and capacity building service is tailored to fit the needs of each unique healthcare community; with a focus on implementing equitable and inclusive systems and practices in health care facilities, clinics, community based and administrative service organizations.
Through this work, we’ve identified an urgent need to address racial disparities and inequities associated with HIV/AIDS literacy among people of African descent, especially women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and refugees. The same need exists in our collaborations with Black faith-based communities, where stigma silences discussions around HIV/AIDS, STI’s and other sexual health information. According to the King County & Washington State HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Report 2017, 16 percent of people with HIV/AIDS in Washington State are Black, while the population make up only 4 percent of the State; yet, few informational resources exist that target these communities. For racial, ethnic, and socially marginalized populations, the ability to understand, access, receive, and utilize basic HIV/AIDS information is paramount. In the US, low health literacy and lack of access to current and accurate information on HIV/AIDS have been shown to be a “social barrier” to accessing and receiving appropriate healthcare services (Palumbo, R). Poor health literacy in HIV/AIDS is linked with poor health outcomes, including poor adherence to treatment, retention in care, and poor self-care or management of chronic illnesses, etc.
AARTH has provided HIV/AIDS education certification for professionals seeking Washington State Department of Health licensing. Due to staff capacity, this element of the HIV program is being reformatted to better address the demands of the community.