In California, significant health disparities exist across the continuum of care for HIV. HIV positive populations that are hard to reach, have little or no access to care, face strong stigma or encounter other socio-structural barriers fare poorly in the HIV treatment cascade. In 2012, 34% of African Americans who were diagnosed with HIV in California achieved viral suppression, compared to 43% of whites. Younger age groups were less likely to be diagnosed, retained in care, or to have achieved viral suppression when compared to older populations – only 15% of persons aged 13-24 who were diagnosed with HIV were virally suppressed compared to 45% of those age 45-65. Women with HIV were less likely to be virally suppressed than men, and male injection drug users and male heterosexuals were less likely to be in care, retained in care, or virally suppressed than other risk groups (see www.cdph.ca.gov, HIVCareContinuum-2012.pdf). In order to curb the HIV epidemic in California, special efforts are needed to reach these populations, and to ensure that they are linked to care, receive appropriate treatment, and remain virally suppressed.
Reducing these disparities will require unique interventions tailored to specific populations at risk, and implemented at each stage of the cascade. The overall goals of the CHRP HIV Disparities Initiative are:
- To facilitate California-based Centers for AIDS Research (CFARs) enhanced focus on disparities in HIV in California;
- To encourage collaboration between CFARs, local government organizations and community based organizations in evaluating and decreasing disparities in HIV care and treatment;
- To encourage collaboration across the three California-based CFARs in evaluating and decreasing disparities in HIV care and treatment;
- To identify, implement and evaluate innovative interventions aimed at decreasing disparities in HIV care and treatment in California.
Abstracts from the three funded cores, along with their collaborative projects, are accessible below.