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An Overview of the HIV Care Continuum

The HIV care continuum or HIV treatment cascade is a generally accepted set of best practices for treating patients with HIV. It is a patient-centered methodology for charting the human effects of the virus by establishing the HIV treatment cascade from diagnosis to the ultimate goal of viral suppression. How has the HIV care continuum evolved over the course of our battle against AIDS and why does the treatment cascade still matter to public health officials? Evolution of the HIV Care Continuum Dr. Edward Gardner and his colleagues first proposed the HIV care continuum in 2011. In it, they outlined the steps necessary to engage patients in HIV treatment from diagnosis to viral suppression: First, patients must understand their HIV diagnosis. Second, they must seek help and receive regular treatment. Finally, they must receive and adhere to a treatment plan that includes antiretroviral therapy. With the ultimate goal of achieving viral suppression, HIV researchers described these necessary steps as part of the HIV treatment cascade necessary to reach treatment goals. The HIV Care Continuum Initiative The HIV treatment cascade lead to the launch of the HIV Care Continuum Initiative in 2013, which was part of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The strategy outlined a three to five-year plan for federal agencies to launch new funding, scientific initiatives, and educational programs to battle the disease. The goal was to impact the virus at every stage of the HIV treatment cascade. Each of the steps in the HIV Care Continuum is fraught with challenges: Getting treatment starts with HIV diagnosis of the infection. However, the only way to know if the person... read more

Achieving More with Less – A Case for Utilizing Non-Profit Support Services

Service providers need help too. Nonprofit community service organizations are the providers of our society, offering support and vital service programs to at-risk populations. But nonprofits are facing declining government funding and the challenge of providing programs that are adaptable yet effective. These shrinking resources are causing nonprofits to work harder with less, resulting in staff burnout and overall battle fatigue as common outcomes. Yet, these services are both needed and necessary, and it’s more important than ever that they are given the support they need to optimize their deliverables. But where can nonprofits go to sustain themselves in the face of these mounting pressures? Nonprofit Sustainability – Not an Oxymoron Nonprofits face an urgent question: How do they achieve organizational sustainability? The National Council of Nonprofits (NCN) suggests sustainability encompasses several goals: Financial stability. Leadership succession planning. Adaptability. Strategic planning. When nonprofits are on a treadmill of just covering costs without getting far enough ahead to build their infrastructure, the NCN calls it “the nonprofit starvation cycle.” Nonprofits that fail to create capacity planning for their future state will live in this hand-to-mouth existence. Inevitably this leads to staff burnout and services that fail in achieving the long-term goals of the organization. The NCN suggests that part of the problem is nonprofits don’t understand the true costs of service delivery. But organizations should also consider a capacity planning process that encompasses succession planning for leadership transitions that will allow the organization to continue uninterrupted without entering crisis mode when key support staff or leadership leave. Diversifying income streams is also an important path toward true nonprofit sustainability. But... read more

7 Great Resources for HIV Organizations

One of the main reasons why we have made such great strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS in recent years is that there is now a wealth of resources for those on the front lines. Over the past three decades, some organizations have established themselves as key resources for HIV organizations on the front lines. Here are seven of the biggest: Resource 1 – AIDS United AIDS United is at the forefront in the battle against HIV/AIDS. This national HIV organization fulfills their mission by providing grants and technical assistance, supporting research, and is a partner with Capacity for Health in the Capacity Building Assistance Network (CPN). They have given more than $104 million to local communities and have leveraged an additional $117 million in additional investments for HIV prevention programs by nonprofit health organizations. As a resource for non-profits, AIDS United has a track record of providing organizations with the tools they need to succeed in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Resource 2 – The Center for HIV Law and Policy At the center of the legal battle to protect people living with HIV, The Center for HIV Law and Policy has been challenging barriers for decades. The organization stands as a staunch defender of non-discrimination and advocacy in the fight for HIV-positive people. The Center provides legal research, advice, and advocacy, standing at the forefront of policy decisions impacting the rights of the vulnerable populations we serve. Resource 3 – San Francisco AIDS Foundation In the Bay Area, one of the most widely known resources for the HIV-prevention and treatment community is the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. In... read more

Why Apply Agile Principles to Your Change Management Methodology

Nonprofit managers can benefit from applying the principles of Agile methodology to the change management process. Though Agile was originally created to manage the development of software products, this robust tool can also help nonprofits that are struggling to affect change in their organization. This article will help you leverage Agile to help with an intangible “product” like the change management process. Agile Change Management Methodology Traditional change management principles engage a team in a linear process that includes: Stakeholder mapping. Development of a communications plan. Scheduled activities and deployments. Impact measurement. Typically, these processes are implemented at the top of an organization and trickled down. Therein lies the problem: change management methodology assumes that administrators are the main implementers of the change. Agile takes the opposite approach—instead of a top-down change initiative, Agile engages stakeholders throughout the process while seeking improved communication and collaboration. Agile has 12 principles that follow this methodology. Each principle emphasizes a customer-first strategy that acknowledges change as the core of any project. The core focus is to respond to change at every stage in the process, “even late in development.” Agile requires a continuous focus on excellence fueled by a collaborative approach toward the goal. It is the opposite of the traditional approach to managing change. The Agile methodology was created by a team that sought to create a new way of managing large and complex projects. Agile was designed to allow more flexibility and innovation than the more traditional approaches to project managment. The Agile Manifesto suggests four key tenets to the methodology: Individuals and interactions over tools and processes. Working product... read more