#KnowBetterDoBetter Movement Comes to Houston to Eradicate HIV/AIDS

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 2/9/2015, 8:06 a.m.
The national #KnowBetterDoBetter movement led by the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) is coming to Houston and the message is loud ...

Houston, TX- The national #KnowBetterDoBetter movement led by the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) is coming to Houston and the message is loud and clear- we can end the AIDS epidemic if we fully engage non-medical workers on the frontline of the battle with greater knowledge and skills.

In order to get the word out a town hall meeting will be held on February 9, 2015 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm at the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding St. Houston, TX 770016. The Texas Department of State Health Services will host what is officially called the “When We Know Better, We Do Better” town hall meeting in partnership with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Bee Busy, Inc., AIDS Foundation Houston, Legacy Community Health Services and the BAI.

The town hall meeting will focus on a new study about the HIV Workforce Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs Survey produced by the BAI, the Latino Commission on AIDS, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), and Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP.

The study found that the majority of the non-medical HIV/AIDS workforce is unfamiliar with the new biomedical interventions and they are insufficiently knowledgeable about how and when they should be used. The average respondent scored only 63% overall on the knowledge questions, which is a “D” in an academic setting. The central goal of this week’s town hall meeting is to turn these statistics around and to raise awareness about the state of HIV/AIDS science and treatment literacy in the U.S.

The aim of the national #KnowBetterDoBetter tour is to mobilize local communities around the country to develop strategies to raise the science and treatment knowledge in their communities and build integrated systems to increase HIV testing, linkage to care, and retention in care for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition they also seek to help people at high risk of infection access high impact prevention treatment including the new Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs.

“HIV science and treatment literacy is very important in the implementation of high impact prevention. Scientifically proven and cost-effective interventions are the basis of high impact prevention. Treatment as a prevention tool is very critical to the reduction and elimination of HIV,” said Cathy Wiley, Training Administrator at the Bureau of HIV/STD in the Houston Department of Health and Human Services.

There have been major developments in both treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. in recent years. Use of these treatments can suppress the viral load in a person living with HIV/AIDS, which reduces transmissibility by up to 94%. Researchers also believe that when used properly, new Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs can reduce acquisition of HIV by up to 94%. But even with these new advances, U.S. prevention efforts appear to be stalled. There are still some 50,000 new infections occurring per year, and less than 30% of people living with HIV/AIDS in America have their disease under control. The HIV Workforce Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs Survey assessed the HIV/AIDS science and treatment knowledge of more than 3,600 non-medical respondents from 48 states and U.S. territories.