Are community leaders just sitting in their offices on Facebook and gossiping when not getting the required HIV testing numbers to meet grant funding? Hmm…
“Nearly two decades have passed since the introduction of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, yet the HIV/AIDS workforce still lacks knowledge about the basics of HIV treatment, scoring an F on treatment-related questions—causes of drug resistance, the relationship between adherence and drug resistance, and the typical trajectory of CD4 and viral load when an individual’s HIV infection is left untreated, for example.”
This is Black Aids Institute findings after surveying nearly 3,600 non-medical HIV/AIDS workers from 48 states in the U.S. HIV Workforce Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs Survey. Participants answered the 62-question survey covering 21 demographic and screening questions, 26 knowledge questions, and 15 questions about biomedical interventions. 54% of survey takers were men; 57% were people of color; 16% reported living with HIV/AIDS. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus two points.
“Overall, HIV/AIDS health care service providers at health departments and AIDS-service and community based organizations answered only 63 percent of questions correctly—essentially earning a D grade in their knowledge of HIV science and treatment.
Participants were more likely to answer questions about basic science correctly, scoring a 76, or a C. But the average score on treatment-related questions was a 56, or an F.”
– 70% of survey participants answered so few questions correctly that they scored a D; only 4% earned an A.
– More than one-third of respondents got less than 60% of the answers right.
– Participants answered 46% of biomedical questions accurately, an F.
Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, has launched the #KnowBetterDoBetter campaign with hopes that people will share their knowledge.
“All the tools in the world will not end HIV/AIDS unless those responsible for using these tools understand them, believe in them, and know how to use them.”
“Quite possibly for the first time in the history of the epidemic, the results of this study will provide information to State health departments, policymakers and community organizations on the baseline knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of people who are working and volunteering in AIDS,” he says.
Full report – all 190 pages with some of the questions from the survey – can be found HERE.