Social workers provide HIV/AIDS prevention and early intervention services in a range of practice settings, including child welfare, schools, criminal justice, substance use treatment, mental health centers, primary care clinics, hospitals, and private practice. Social workers have the skills, opportunity, and commitment to engage clients in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment utilizing a comprehensive bio-psycho-social approach.
NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project
Currently a profession of 600,000 strong, social workers are recognized as the largest provider of mental health services in the United States. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain standards for the profession, and to advance sound social policies.
The U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS)i is accompanied by the NHAS Federal Implementation Plan that outlines key actions to be undertaken by the federal government to meet the goals of the NHAS. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) are working towards promoting partnerships and programs that facilitate integrated behavioral health and HIV-related medical care to increase both agency and provider capacityii.
The U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) outlines three primary goals for the nation: 1) reduce new HIV infections, 2) increase access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV or AIDS, and 3) reduce HIV related health disparities. The NHAS is accompanied by the NHAS Federal Implementation Plan that outlines key actions to be undertaken by the federal government to meet the goals of the NHAS.i
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) is “the nation’s first-ever comprehensive coordinated HIV/AIDS roadmap with clear and measurable targets to be achieved by 2015” (NHAS, 2010). As a companion to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy the White House also issued the Federal Implementation Plan (the Plan) that outlined both short and long-term objectives in support of the NHAS.
When the epidemic emerged in 1981, AIDS was perceived as a deadly disease that was transmissible from person to person, as well as closely associated with historically disenfranchised groups and culturally and historically taboo issues such as sexual orientation, drug use, and commercial sex work. The combination of these factors led to societal hostility as well as slow response by state, federal, and country governments.