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GMHC Discusses Tools to Help End AIDS in the Black Community

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Tuesday Feb 18, 2014
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  (Source:gmhc.org)

On Feb. 20, GMHC will continue their observation of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with the community event, "Understanding the Gardner Cascade: A Tool to Help End AIDS in the Black Community." The discussion will focus on the ways to improve the HIV care continuum among African Americans living with HIV and AIDS, and supporting those who are at risk of HIV.

"From our clients, volunteers and staff to our Board members and supporters, we at GMHC are all connected to the Gardner Cascade," said Interim CEO Janet Weinberg. "We coordinate our clients’ care so that they can stay adherent to treatment and become virally suppressed. We offer free testing and prevention education to reduce the amount of people affected by HIV in diverse communities. We also advocate for funding in order to support our life-sustaining work."

The HIV care continuum (also known as the Gardner Cascade created by Edward Gardner, MD) consists of the following steps: HIV diagnosis, linkage to care, staying in care, getting antiretroviral therapy to viral suppression. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 25 percent of people living with HIV in the U.S. have achieved viral suppression.

In other words, three out of four people living with HIV in the United States have not been successfully supported in navigating the entire HIV care continuum. Among racial and ethnic groups, African Americans are the least likely to be in ongoing care or to have their virus under control.

Guest panelists will discuss this situation, including Michelle Cespedes, MD, Division of Infectious Disease, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital; Ingrid Floyd, MBA, Iris House; Julie Myers, MD, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Manny Rivera, Consumer Advisory Board, GMHC; Demetrius Thomas, JD Public Policy Department, GMHC; and Stephanie L., Consumer Advisory Board, GMHC. The event will be moderated by Lynnette Ford, MSW, Program Services and Evaluation, GMHC.

"The Gardner Cascade is an important tool that can guide us along each step to end the epidemic in all communities," said Weinberg.

"Understanding the Gardner Cascade: A Tool to Help End AIDS in the Black Community" will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20 at GMHC, 446 West 33rd Street, 7th floor Dining Room. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women’s news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog, http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/

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