Help Make Trauma-Informed Care a Reality for Thousands of US People With HIV!

Today, October 19, 2015 – just in time for the National Day of Action to End Violence Against Women Living with HIV – Positive Women's Network - USA (PWN-USA), a national membership body of women living with HIV, teamed with the Women’s HIV Program (WHP) at UCSF to recommend key steps to prioritize trauma-informed care in the implementation of the new National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) in Ryan White settings. Specifically, NHAS objective 2.C.2 calls for addressing violence and trauma for women with HIV engaged in care: "Improve outcomes for women in HIV care by addressing violence and trauma, and factors that increase risk of violence for women and girls living with HIV.” (Strategy, p. 9)

These recommendations were submitted in the form of a letter to leaders at the Health Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA HAB), which oversees the Ryan White Program. They are designed to support HRSA HAB’s efforts to expand access to trauma-informed care and services in their five-year implementation plan for the NHAS. Take a look at the recommendations below, and if you agree, sign your organization on to this form!

When the newest version of the Strategy was released in July, it contained powerful and long-fought-for commitments to explore trauma-informed approaches to women’s HIV care. A plan for putting the full commitments of the Strategy into action is expected this December. Each federal agency responsible for carrying out goals of the Strategy is currently working on its own plan of action.

To help make sure HRSA HAB’s action plan includes critical steps to making trauma-informed care and services a reality, for women and for all of the more than 500,000 people living with HIV in the US served by Ryan White, PWN-USA and WHP’s letter to HRSA HAB outlines specific requests for action on this crucial health concern:

1. Provide training for case managers, social workers, nurses, administrative staff, doctors, and other clinic professionals at Ryan White service delivery sites to use trauma-informed approaches with clients and among staff
2. Require Ryan White programs to collect and report data about rates of IPV and PTSD symptoms – as well as more accurate data about rates of substance use, depression, stigma, and social isolation
3. Facilitate implementation and evaluation projects of trauma-informed primary care in at least 6 primary clinics serving women, including transgender women, living with HIV
4. Integrate evidence-based responses to PTSD into existing funded clinical services, including therapy, psychiatry, medication adherence and substance abuse treatment
5. Encourage collaborations between community-based IPV organizations and trauma recovery centers, and HIV and primary care clinics and AIDS service organizations
6. Look for demonstrated commitment to the above factors when assessing grantee applications

Does your organization agree that these recommendations are vital? Show your support by signing on to this form; we'll share the final sign-on list with HRSA HAB later this week, and amplify this vital call for trauma-informed care in Ryan White programs.

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