HIV Prevention Community Planning is a process by which communities provide input into the development of the Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan in their area, including identifying priority populations and interventions for the jurisdiction. Local demographic and epidemiologic data drive the design and development of an HIV Prevention Plan. It is a collaborative process, a partnership, and a method for involvement in HIV prevention. Community planning is an outgrowth of the belief that determining responses to local HIV prevention priorities and needs is best carried out through local participatory planning.
Prior to 1993, communities were involved in carrying out HIV prevention services, but were not always involved in the planning of comprehensive state and local prevention programs. However, several cities and state health department HIV prevention programs were working closely with the community. Federal prevention dollars flowed to CDC, which administered funds through cooperative agreements with state, local, and territorial health departments. In 1993, CDC acknowledged that local communities should be more involved in the planning process to address local HIV prevention priorities and needs. Thus, community and state/local community planning groups were born. These partnerships are made up of community members and health department officials, including infected and affected communities. They are usually known as community planning groups (CPGs). Participation of communities in this process became required for all project areas receiving federal funds for HIV prevention programs.
In December 1993, CDC issued a guidance document on HIV Prevention Community Planning to the health departments in all 50 states, 8 U.S. territories (American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands), 6 local jurisdictions (Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco) and the District of Columbia. All these health departments receive federal HIV prevention funds. In accordance with the guidance, each CPG engages in nine steps to develop a comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan for its jurisdiction. These steps follow a logical process to build the plan and include: (1) developing an epidemiologic profile; (2) conducting a needs assessment; (3) assembling a resource inventory; (4) conducting a gap analysis; (5) identifying potential strategies and interventions; (6) prioritizing populations and interventions; (7) developing a plan; (8) evaluating the planning process; and (9) updating the plan.
Though each CPG has different membership processes for recruitment, determined by individual bylaws, some factors are constant. Membership must be reflective of the epidemic in each jurisdiction. New members need to be solicited through an open process. Once selected, members should receive a thorough orientation.
The Latino community, the fastest growing population in the Unites States, is at increasing risk for HIV, due to a variety of issues. These include population growth, cultural beliefs, language differences, and religious beliefs. For these reasons, it is of paramount importance for Latinos to be involved and to have a voice in the community planning process. The inclusion of Latino members in the community planning process is an issue that all CPGs and all members of the community need to address.
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