Community Education Group

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CEG’s Work Lauded at AIDS 2012

Community Education Group kicked off AIDS 2012 reveling in the aftermath of a visit to CEG headquarters by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, on July 16. Not only did Secretary Sebelius talk to CEG staff about some of the organization’s successes in the past year, but she publicly applauded CEG’s efforts during the AIDS 2012 Opening Session July 22.

In her remarks, Secretary Sebelius described her visit with CEG and complimented CEG’s linkage to care efforts. “Last week I visited an organization called Community Education Group just a few miles from here that’s getting impressive results with a new approach to HIV testing and treatment,” Secretary Sebelius said in her speech. “Instead of just handing patients a referral slip when they get a positive result, they immediately schedule a doctor’s appointment for some time in the next day. Then they provide transportation for the first five visits.” Secretary Sebelius mentioned that the national linkage-to-care rate is 77 percent. CEG’s linkage-to-care rate, however, is 95 percent. Secretary Sebelius’ full speech can be viewed in the video below. Her speech begins at about the 2:13 mark.

The Washington Post was quick to point out Secretary Sebelius’ public endorsement of CEG in its article, “Local AIDS Prevention Group Gets a High-Powered Shout-Out.” In the article, CEG Executive Director A. Toni Young told reporter Darryl D. Fears she was stunned to get a mention from someone so high up in the Obama administration, putting her group on the map and in people’s minds.

Secretary Sebelius wasn’t the only one talking about CEG at AIDS 2012. Plenary speaker Phill Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the Black AIDS Institute and member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) commended CEG’s work, calling the organization an example of how HIV/AIDS organizations must operate if we’re going to see an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “Right here in this city, the Community Education Group, a small not-for-profit organization that serves predominantly Black neighborhoods, offers HIV tests and a whole lot more,” Wilson told the audience. “Of the people CEG tests who turn out to be positive, 95 percent are linked, re-linked or confirmed to be receiving HIV care and treatment services.” Wilson’s speech in its entirety appears below, along with other plenary speakers Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Secretary of State Hilary Clinton; and Sheila Tlou, director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for East and Southern Africa.

Also during AIDS 2012, Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Dr. Howard Koh spoke with CEG’s Young about CEG’s HIV testing and prevention work focusing on heterosexual African Americans in the District of Columbia, along with the organization’s involvement in HPTN 065, a study funded by NIAID that looks at ways to incentivize HIV testing and support linkage to and retention in care and treatment. The interview appears directly below.

During the conference, CEG’s Young participated in a well-received session: Turning the Tide in the HIV and AIDS Epidemic in Washington, DC. For photos of the event, click here.

CEG also was featured in a number of media articles as journalists across the country and the world sought to explain to their audiences why HIV/AIDS still matters. CEG’s Young told ABC News that turning around the HIV epidemic in Washington, DC has been like turning around the Titanic in the Potomac River. In an article with The Washington Informer, Young said: “I don’t believe that stigma – negative core beliefs about HIV or the people who have it – is the issue. I think that people believe it’s someone else’s disease, someone else’s problem.”

CEG also made a mark in media outlets across the globe. Young was featured in an article in the German publication, taz.de. Also, in the UK, an article featured CEG’s Young discussing some reasons why women are being particularly hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “Many of these women are single heads of households, engaged in a relationship where the male says I don’t want to use a condom,” Young told the Channel 4 News. “If that man is paying the mortgage or feeding the household, how do you negotiate that? We have to make women understand the risk.” See the full story below.

All in all, it was an intense week, as CEG goes about its business of improving the health outcomes of the most vulnerable populations.