The impact of COVID-19 has been overwhelming. We are extremely concerned, alarmed and shaken by the impact of COVID-19 on our nation and especially among racial/ethnic minorities. We are also concerned about the institutional impact on organizations led by people of color providing HIV/STI/HCV services to racial/ethnic minorities. COVID-19 has already disrupted HIV/STI/HCV service delivery, forced relocation of staff and service sites, and required prioritization of programs and clients. In addition to the current programmatic impact, COVID-19 could severely impact their capacity to navigate the new and uncharted territory created by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Black AIDS Institute, San Francisco Community Health Center, and Latino Commission on AIDS, three organizations led by and serving people of color, are joining forces to address the challenges and opportunities posed by COVID-19 and take advantage of existing strengths and resources to continue addressing health inequities among their constituents. This partnership, named Stronger Together Partnership (STP), will conduct a national rapid assessment of the institutional impact of COVID-19 on HIV/STI/HCV service delivery, the capacity and infrastructure of people of color-led and serving organizations to continue providing HIV/STI/HCV services while addressing the emerging COVID-19-related needs of people of color, and their ability to continue providing services in a sustainable way.
The STP will also convene a Virtual Think Tank with community leaders, researchers, policy makers, public health leaders, and providers to discuss the findings of the national rapid assessment; develop a strategic direction to achieve the goals of “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America by 2030”; and map out future strategies to address the COVID-19 related needs of people of color. This strategic direction will take into consideration health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19, the critical 2020 Presidential election, the results and subsequent implementation of Census 2020, and the challenges of the US economy.