Tomorrow, November 15, is National Rural Health Day. Over 60 million Americans live in rural and frontier communities, including people living with and at risk for HIV. Rural communities are wonderful places to live and work, but these communities also have unique healthcare needs, which is why the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health sets aside the third Thursday of every November to observe National Rural Health Day.
For those working in the HIV field, the observance is a reminder that while the majority of people who receive an HIV diagnosis in the United States live in urban areas, there also are many who live in non-urban areas, especially in the South and the Midwest. According to CDC, 23% of new HIV diagnoses in the South are in suburban and rural areas, and in the Midwest, 21% are suburban or rural—higher proportions than in the North and West.
As we approach this observance, we salute all of our colleagues working to provide HIV prevention and care services in rural communities across the county. And below we share information we previously highlighted 2017 about a rural HIV prevention and treatment toolkit developed by the HRSA-supported Rural Health Information Hub.
Rural HIV Toolkit Available
Many social, environmental, and economic factors converge to cause barriers and challenges that complicate HIV prevention and treatment for individuals living in rural areas. Some overarching factors include poverty in many rural areas, limited resources, and structural barriers that pose challenges to accessing services.
To help overcome these challenges, new toolkit on HIV prevention and care for people living in rural areas is available from the HRSA-supported Rural Health Information Hub.
The Rural HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Toolkit describes evidence-based and promising models that span the HIV care continuum, as well as ideas for identifying and adapting interventions for people at risk for and living with HIV in rural communities.
The modules in the toolkit focus on developing, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining rural HIV/AIDS programs.
For further information about efforts to support people living with HIV in rural areas, read about the VA’s videoconferencing program to connect rural Veterans with HIV with VA specialists.