- New York State AIDS Advisory Council (AAC)
- New York State Interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS
- Community Mobilization Development Initiative
- NYS HIV Advisory Body (HAB)
- Faith Communities Project
The New York State AIDS Advisory Council (AAC) was created in 1983 by Public Health Law, Article 27-E. The AAC is responsible for advising the Commissioner of Health and the AIDS Institute and for making recommendations regarding the State’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
There are seventeen appointed Council members whose affiliations include educational and medical institutions; local health departments; nonprofit organizations, including the advocacy and service communities; legislators; and persons living with HIV/AIDS. The Governor designates the Chairperson of the AAC. No terms of office are specified in the authorizing legislation. AAC members receive no compensation for their services.
Council meetings are mandated to be held at least quarterly; currently the Council meets at least four times per year. Additional meetings may be called by the Chairperson. All meetings of the Council are open to the public.
The Council’s accomplishments include the development and evaluation of the Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP); the recommendation for formation of the Interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS which was created through an Executive Order in 1997; the many reports developed and circulated including “Principles on HIV Testing of Defendants in Certain Crimes” (1996); “Report on Needle Exchange Programs and Deregulation of Needles and Syringes” (1996); “Report of the Ethical Issues in Access to HIV Treatment Workgroup” (1998); “Findings of the HIV Surveillance Workgroup” (1998); “Report on HIV/AIDS Services in New York State Correctional Facilities” (1999); “Communities at Risk: HIV/AIDS in Communities of Color” (2001); “Report on Syringe Access in New York State” (2005); and “Women in Peril, HIV & AIDS, The Rising Toll on Women of Color” (2005); and subcommittee recommendations relating to state budget priorities, oversight of HIV and hepatitis C care in State and local correctional facilities, and Medicaid Redesign/Health Homes.
Office of Planning and Community Affairs
The Interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS (IATF) is a multi-state agency task force dedicated to the prevention of HIV and to the care of persons living with HIV/AIDS in New York State. The Task Force provides an effective platform for networking and for sharing information to ensure that necessary services for persons affected by and living with HIV/AIDS are available within state agencies’ service areas and regulatory jurisdictions.
The Task Force was originally created by an Executive Order in 1983 to coordinate AIDS-related policies and activities among New York State agencies and to establish a working relationship with the New York State AIDS Advisory Council. Later, the Task Force was charged with several responsibilities, including identifying areas of service duplication, fragmentation, shortages and disparities, and with identifying and addressing emerging problem areas and for promoting efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Today, the Task Force has several goals, including promoting efficiency and cost-effectiveness through cross-agency collaboration projects by sharing resources to enhance and create new HIV-related services. In addition, the Task Force keeps members updated on HIV/AIDS-related issues and new state and national policies related to HIV and aging, disability, education, housing, health, mental health, developmental disabilities, employment, substance use, corrections and human rights.
The Task Force meets biannually and is chaired by the Director of the AIDS Institute. Membership includes the commissioners and directors, or their designees, of all state agencies that serve individuals or groups at risk for HIV/AIDS:
- NYS Office for the Aging (NYSOFA)
- NYS Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
- NYS Division of the Budget (DOB)
- NYS Council on Children and Families (CCF)
- NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)
- NYS Commission of Correction (SCOC)
- NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)
- NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS)
- NYS Department of Education (SED)
- NYS Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER)
- NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)
- NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH)
- NYS Division of Human Rights (DHR)
- NYS Department of Financial Services (DFS)
- NYS Department of Labor (DOL)
- NYS Department of Law (OAG)
- NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH)
- NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
- NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV)
- NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (The Justice Center)
- NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)
- NYS Division of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
- NYS Office of Victims Services (OVS)
In support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement of a three-point plan to end the epidemic and significantly decrease new HIV infections the NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute sought the input of IATF member agencies to gain knowledge of how state agencies support people living with HIV/AIDS. Examples of planning efforts and collaborations to bring HIV to sub-epidemic levels using best practices of current or potential involvement include:
- A continued partnership between DOCCS and the AIDS Institute to identify, test and treat inmates.
- The Justice Center’s Surrogate Decision-Making Committee program assisting those who lack the ability to make medical decisions including HIV testing.
- DCJS promotion of NYS syringe program training for New York State law enforcement.
- A continued partnership between NYSOFA and the AIDS Institute in developing best practices to working with older adults.
- OPDV training on domestic violence and HIV/AIDS.
- OCFS provision of HIV prevention education and HIV testing access to youth entering care.
- SEDs ongoing development of evidence-based and medically accurate resources for schools to utilize in further assessing and identifying their local level needs related to bringing HIV/AIDS to sub-epidemic levels.
- Partnerships to increase vocational and employment access for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
- Continued partnership with OASAS and SCOC on educational training and materials related to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
- Development of the New York State Youth Sexual Health Plan, a guide to ensure that accurate sexual health information and quality health services are made available to all NYS youth, consistent with the NYSDOH Prevention Agenda. The following agencies contributed to the development of the Plan:
- NYS Council on Children and Families
- NYS Office of Children and Family Services
- NYS Division of Criminal Justice
- NYS Education Department
- NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
- NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
- NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
In addition, several IATF member agencies served as ex-officio members of the Governor’s Ending the Epidemic Task Force (2014). Ex-officio members shared pertinent information that assisted in the development and prioritization of recommendations for potential inclusion in the final Blueprint document.
Mary Ellen Reo
Office of Planning and Community Affairs
The Community Mobilization Program (CMP) seeks to enhance the capacity in communities of color and other vulnerable populations throughout New York State to prevent HIV/STD/HCV infection through community mobilization, education/awareness, policy development, resource enhancement and information sharing/dissemination.
The objectives and activities of organizations funded through the CMP are designed to address one or more of the core HIV/STD/HCV prevention priorities of the AIDS Institute/DOH noted below:
- Increase HIV viral load suppression among Persons Living with HIV/AIDS(PLWHA);
- Maximize participation in health insurance programs;
- Launch a coordinated effort to reduce new HIV and STD infections among gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM);
- Enhance statewide public health efforts addressing Hepatitis C Virus (HCV); and
- Promote interagency collaboration to address sexual health awareness, education, and treatment and care options for STDs.
Activities implemented are also aligned with key priority areas of the Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention which include: HIV Testing, Prevention with Positives, Evidence Based Interventions for High Risk Individuals, and Condom Distribution.
Funding supports the development and implementation of prevention interventions designed to increase awareness; build community support for safer behaviors by influencing norms, attitudes and practices; provide vulnerable communities with information about HIV/STD/HCV policy changes and local issues; identify community needs and develop/identify strategies in response to gaps identified; and establish and/or collaborate with local leadership networks and statewide planning bodies to mobilize the community around HIV/STD/HCV issues.
The expected outcomes are to reduce disease incidence, decrease the rate of HIV/STD/HCV transmission, decrease risky sexual and drug using behaviors among HIV positive and persons at high risk for acquiring HIV, increase the proportion of HIV/STD/HCV infected individuals who are aware of their status, and increase the proportion of HIV/STD infected persons who are linked to prevention, partner services, and treatment and increase the proportion of HIV infected persons who are retained in care and achieve viral load suppression.
Bethsabet de León Justiniano
Director, Bureau of Community Based Services
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention Services
The New York State HIV Advisory Body (HAB) is an integrated care and prevention advisory group to the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute. The goal of this integration is to implement a comprehensive HIV prevention, care and treatment planning body that will provide an opportunity for integration, synergy, and efficiency in responding to jurisdictional needs and federal requirements. The HAB takes the place of two of the NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute’s longstanding advisory bodies, the NYS HIV Prevention Planning Group (PPG) and the Statewide AIDS Service Delivery Consortium (SASDC). The HAB engages in all activities required by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The HAB is an inclusive advisory body, with participation by people of diverse races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, HIV status and ages. HAB members are individuals with a range of educational backgrounds and professions with varied experiences and differing perspectives reflecting New York State's urban and rural areas. Additionally, professional expertise and representation from key governmental and non-governmental agencies occurs to ensure that the process promotes inclusion and parity among community planning members. Community advisors further broaden community input and involvement.
The HAB maintains the following Committees:
The Best Practices Committee identifies and examines cutting edge health care issues and prevention interventions for populations most at risk, with an emphasis on linkage, retention and viral suppression.
The Emerging Issues Committee identifies and examines developing trends related to HIV prevention, health care and supportive services throughout New York State.
The Engagement Committee identifies and examines strategies to increase coordination of HIV programs across state, local and tribal governments; businesses; faith communities; community/primary health care centers; other medical providers; educational institutions; people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA); care planning groups; and other key stakeholders within the jurisdiction.
The Populations Committee identifies and examines existing and emerging populations at risk for HIV and identify needs and gaps related to service delivery needs and prevention/health care services.
The Social Determinants Committee identifies and examines determinants and inequities, and other socio-economic and cultural factors affecting the success of HIV prevention and health care efforts.
The HAB provides recommendations and advice on service needs, affected populations and emerging issues related to HIV prevention, health care and supportive services throughout New York State. It identifies and addresses prevention and healthcare needs and gaps of HIV infected/affected populations with an emphasis on linkage, retention and viral suppression.
Director of HIV Integrated Planning
Since early in the HIV epidemic, the AIDS Institute recognized the importance of involving diverse sectors of communities in HIV/AIDS prevention and care efforts. Because prevention programs must be broad-based, faith settings are ideal for the implementation of HIV programs serving hard-to-reach populations.
The Faith Communities Project was developed in recognition of the significant role faith communities play in HIV/AIDS prevention and support/care efforts. The goal of the Faith Communities Project is to advance HIV prevention efforts in communities that are hardest-hit by the HIV epidemic through information sharing, collaboration and partnerships between communities of faith and community-based organizations. This goal has been expanded to include STDs and hepatitis B and C prevention efforts as well as referrals to screening, care and treatment.
In November of 2001, the AIDS Institute hosted a two-day statewide forum, "Meeting on Common Ground: The Role of Faith Based Communities in HIV/AIDS," in New York City. The forum brought together representatives of faith communities; HIV/AIDS service providers and volunteers; people living with HIV/AIDS; and representatives from non-AIDS specific organizations. Participants identified specific regional needs and committees were developed to address issues and initiate planning. Regional committees developed action plans that indicate needs and specify specific tasks to be completed.
Since then, regional committees continue to design and implement activities for faith communities and related to the AI priorities that are incorporated in regional action plans. Activities implemented include: HIV awareness workshops; capacity-building workshops for faith and community- based organizations, in collaboration with federal, state and local governmental agencies; community dialogues; clergy roundtable discussions; and meetings to network and to foster on-going partnerships.
In April of 2008, in collaboration with the Office of Minority Health Resources Center of the United State Department of Health and Human Services, the AIDS Institute convened the second statewide faith forum, “Responding to the Call: Faith Communities’ Response to HIV/AIDS,” in Poughkeepsie. The forum recognized faith communities’ response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic and engaged faith leaders in dialogue on issues that continue to challenge HIV prevention and health care efforts, such as the spirit of sexuality and stigma and discrimination.
During April and May 2012, a series of forums on faith and health bringing together a variety of perspectives on the way in which individual and community health are connected to faith. The goal of the fora was to strengthen partnerships among members of faith communities, academia, clinicians, and public health practitioners. In addition, a follow up series was held in 2013 to continue the dialogue on the intersection of faith and health. The series provided an opportunity to explore partnerships to improve health outcomes and to highlight examples of sustainable faith and health partnerships.
The Faith Communities Project continues, with the guidance of community and faith representatives, to foster regional partnerships, support information sharing, identify and develop resources to further HIV/STD/HCV prevention and health care efforts in New York State.
Faith Communities Project Coordinator
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention Services