Dr. Patrick Wilson, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health associate professor of sociomedical sciences, was chief author of “Addressing Stigma: A Blueprint for HIV/STD Prevention and Care Outcomes for Black and Latino Gay Men”, a publication from The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).
Dr. Wilson is the director of the SPHERE (Society, Psychology, and Health Research) Lab at Columbia University. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at the Mailman School, Dr. Wilson specializes in exploring the psychological, social, and cultural contexts that shape individual and community-level health outcomes. He conducts his work with the overall goal of improving the lives of those who are disproportionally affected by HIV and other health disparities.
In the blueprint, Dr. Wilson makes the following 17 recommendations for reducing public health stigma that prevents Black and Latino gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) from receiving optimal health care:
- Routinize HIV and other STD testing in public and private settings.
- Assess current indicators and integrate testing.
- Increase learning and skill-building opportunities to ensure Black and Latino gay men/MSM receive optimal care.
- Create an environment of acceptance.
- Focus stigma-reduction efforts and behavioral interventions to interrupt HIV/STD acquisition.
- Implement strategies to integrate HIV testing and STD screening.
- Offer sexual health vaccinations for Black and Latino gay men/MSM.
- Examine efforts to breakdown HIV testing and STD screening stigma.
- Physicians, nurses, and key stakeholders working with Black and Latino gay men/MSM, and Black and Latino gay men/MSM themselves, should seek the knowledge and tools to educate themselves around HIV and STD prevention.
- Expand accredited, continuing education opportunities for medical providers serving Black and Latino gay men/MSM.
- Improve access to mental health services for Black and Latino gay men/MSM to increase their ability to stay engaged in care over time.
- Increase access to substance use treatment for Black and Latino gay men/MSM to facilitate linkages and retention in care.
- Consider ways to improve the experiences that Black and Latino gay men/MSM have when receiving HIV treatment.
- Develop efforts to reduce stigma around HIV and homophobia in Black and Latino communities across the U.S.
- Develop treatment regimens that do not require daily use and/or have treatments that can be delivered less frequently.
- Promote knowledge of treatment advances and empower HIV-positive Black and Latino gay men/MSM to be educated consumers of HIV care.
- Promote messages on the availability of PrEP for HIV-negative Black and Latino gay men/MSM but also the need to be adherent among those who use it as an HIV prevention strategy.
Read the full report here.