for People Living with or at Greater Risk for HIV
Poverty, unemployment, and underemployment are key social and economic determinants of health, and critically influence outcomes across the HIV care continuum. The employment provisions of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 will require definition of measurable objectives and timelines established for Federal agency activities, to a) prevent unnecessary loss of employment, and (b) reduce poverty, unemployment and underemployment among people living with and at higher risk for HIV.
There is no single Federal agency that can alone be responsible for meeting the employment needs of people living with or at greater risk for HIV. Lead Federal agencies needed to coordinate and maximize resources to increase access to employment opportunities and vocational services for people living with or at higher risk for HIV include HHS (HRSA/HAB, CDC, SAMHSA, CMS), DoEd (Rehabilitation Services Administration), DOL (Employment and Training Administration, Office of Disability Employment Policy), and HUD (OHAH). Each is needed to explore its role and focus efforts contributing to implementing and achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020.
Increase access to employment opportunities and services by linking HIV, vocational rehabilitation, workforce development, education and housing service systems.
Federal agencies including HHS, DoEd, DOL and HUD are needed to work in coordination across agencies and their own programs to develop effective, targeted outreach, service needs assessment, information access, linkages and coordination between HIV services, vocational rehabilitation, workforce development, education and housing service systems at federal, state and local levels. Grantees and staff across service sectors need training and technical assistance to develop knowledge and skills to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination, and meet employment and vocational rehabilitation information and service needs of people living with or at higher risk for HIV. Capacity building training is needed designed to ensure effective trauma-informed services for key populations, including young Black and Latino MSM, transgender and cisgender women of color, and individuals who are formerly incarcerated.
Address workforce participation inequities for key populations (including homeless LGBT youth, trans women of color, and people with criminal records).
Effective cross-training, linkage and coordination between vocational rehabilitation (DoEd – RSA) and workforce participation (DOL – ETA, ODEP) programs and HIV prevention and care (HHS – HRSA, CDC) services needs to be developed, as well as with housing (HUD – OHAH), substance use treatment and mental health services (HHS – SAMHSA). Key populations with disproportionate incidence of new HIV infections and health disparities include communities with histories of stigma and discrimination in the workplace, in education, in services, and of inadequate access to healthy living wage employment. DoEd (RSA) and DOL (ETA, ODEP) are needed to design and implement strategies to maximize the capacity of vocational rehabilitation and workforce development programs to effectively serve communities with disproportionate incidence of HIV.
Existing and developing employment initiatives targeted for people living with or at higher risk for HIV need capacity building assistance.
Targeted HIV employment initiatives for key populations need to be developed and scaled up, including provision of information and technical assistance by the Department of Education (RSA) to HIV service providers about funding opportunities as Community Rehabilitation Providers to state vocational rehabilitation agencies, and by the Department of Labor (ETA, ODEP) for funding opportunities as workforce development providers. Mechanisms need to be developed linking HIV employment initiatives and key Federal agencies including DoEd, DOL, HHS and HUD for sharing of best practices, and capacity building needs assessment and resources, training and technical assistance.
Implement a multi-state HIV employment services demonstration project where HIV prevalence, infection rates and mortality are high.
Implementation of a multi-state HIV demonstration project in diverse high HIV prevalence communities is needed integrating vocational rehabilitation and employment services in HIV service organizations. Services should be designed to effectively serve key populations, including young Black and Latino MSM, transgender and cisgender women of color, and individuals who are formerly incarcerated, and should be responsive to diverse regional (e.g., the South), community (urban, suburban, rural) and job market factors.
Access to accurate information is needed on work earnings-related policies for key health care, housing and economic stability programs
Well-informed decision-making about working and transitions to employment depends on access to information to maintain or improve linkage to health care, housing and economic stability. People living with HIV and direct service providers need access to information and training about employment and work earnings-related policies for key programs including SSI/SSDI, Medicaid, Medicare, AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) and other health coverage, and subsidized housing (Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS/HOPWA, Section 8). Individual benefits advisement is needed by people with HIV, as well as education about community-level resources available for vocational rehabilitation, training, education and employment services.
An energized group of 90 participate in the full-day Institute on HIV & Employment presented in Washington, DC on Sept. 9, 2015 by the National Working Positive Coalition
An exciting group of speakers, panelists and moderators discussed a range of key topics at the Institute on HIV & Employment, convened by the National Working Positive Coalition as a pre-conference event of the 2015 U.S. Conference on AIDS. Hosted by the Human Rights Campaign in the HRC Equality Forum, 90 participants representing a wide spectrum of expertise energized the Institute. Douglas Brooks, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy provided opening comments, helping kick-off the meeting focused on understanding and addressing employment needs of people living with or at greater risk for HIV as key social and economic determinants important to achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020.
CRC continuing education credits for the Institute have been pre-approved by CRCC (approval pending for CME and CE credits).
Panels topics included:
- Employment and HIV Health and Prevention Outcomes – Research Findings
- HIV, Employment and Key Populations
- HIV Employment Service Models
- Addressing the Intersection of LGBTQ Justice, Economic Security, and HIV
- HIV, Employment and Mental Health
- HIV, Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Development
- HIV and the Workplace
- Employment and HIV Care and Prevention
NWPC is grateful to NMAC, host of USCA, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and the Institute Sponsors who made this event possible:
Human Rights Campaign
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Broadway CARES/Equity Fights AIDS
AIDS Foundation of Chicago, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance
Finlay Consulting Services
Levi Strauss & Co.
Thank you to our esteemed Institute Partners joining with NWPC for this event, including: the USCA 2015 DC Local Host Committee; the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration; Positive Women's Network-USA; U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus; Global Network of People Living with HIV – North America (GNP+NA); Transgender Law Center; American Psychological Association; American Psychiatric Association; National Association of Social Workers; Ribbon Consulting Group; POZ VETS USA INTL; National Business and Disability Council; DC Metro Business Leadership Network.
The National Working Positive Coalition is a coalition of individuals living with HIV, service providers, researchers, and advocates who are committed to improving the financial and personal wellbeing of individuals living with HIV and AIDS. To achieve this goal we (a) promote research to better understand the financial needs and complex challenges facing individuals with HIV; (b) promote the development and evaluation of effective practices in employment services and (c) advocate for work options and access to financial resources that are most consistent with the personal and health needs of individuals living with HIV. READ MORE