Careers to Combat HIV & AIDS Prevention, Treatment, and Professions Where You Can Help

HIV/AIDS research, treatment, and outreach
are rich with opportunities for those looking
to lend a helping hand. This guide provides extensive information on how professionals can apply their expertise to the fight against HIV.

While treatment options for those living with HIV and AIDS have improved exponentially over the years, there is still a lot to be done. Students who earn public health and other degrees can use their expertise to help those with the virus live long and full lives, as well as contribute to prevention and education efforts.

This guide takes a comprehensive look at HIV, including prevention, testing and ways to stay healthy after contracting the disease. It also examines how HIV and AIDS impact families and communities, and how health professionals and those in non-health-related fields can make a lasting difference. See how you can play a key part in preventing HIV and AIDS as well as helping those already affected.

Reducing Your Risk: How to Steer Clear of HIV

HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids, such as blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal, rectal, and pre-seminal fluids. With this in mind, there are a number of things that people can do to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

Safe Sexual Activity

Sexual activity is the primary way that HIV is spread in the United States. In order to reduce the risk of contracting the disease, sexually active individuals should practice safe sex, such as proper and consistent use of condoms during oral, vaginal, or anal sexual activities. The use of lubricant during vaginal, and especially anal sex, can also reduce the risk of small tears and lesions that can increase the risk of transmission or acquisition. Many types of lubricant, including water and silicone-based varieties, can be used safely with condoms.

Another way people can reduce the risk of HIV is to limit their number of sexual partners, thus reducing their chances of exposure. Also, people should get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections on a regular basis, and should encourage their sexual partners to do the same.

When an HIV-negative individual is in a relationship with someone who is HIV-positive, he or she must be vigilant about protection. For example, in addition to safe sex practices and getting tested regularly, HIV-negative partners should encourage their partners to keep up with antiretroviral therapy, which lowers the viral load and reduces the risk of transmission. Similarly, the HIV-negative partner may want to consider getting a prescription for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP therapy relies on the same antiretroviral medications that are used to treat HIV, and taking them consistently can significantly reduce the chances of becoming infected.

Responsible Drug Use and Awareness

Intravenous drug use is another major way that HIV is spread in the United States. Those who use these drugs may contract HIV if they share injecting equipment with someone who is infected. People who use intravenous drugs can protect themselves by using only drug equipment that is new and sterilized, and never sharing with others. The ease of obtaining sterile injection supplies can vary by geographic area and state and local laws and the availability of local syringe exchange programs.

Being under the influence of drugs, or even alcohol, may increase the risk of getting HIV because it lowers inhibitions and impairs the ability to make sound decisions. As a result, a person may forget to use condoms during intercourse or sterile needles when they use drugs, which increases transmission risk.

Mother-to-Child Transmission

HIV can be transmitted from a mother to a child during pregnancy or childbirth, as well as through breastfeeding. Without intervention, there is a 25 percent chance of an HIV-positive mother passing the virus on to her baby, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, adopting safer practices during and after pregnancy, including maternal use of antiretroviral therapy, delivering through Caesarian section, and avoiding breastfeeding, the risk of mother-to-child transmission can be dramatically reduced.

In June 2015, Cuba became the first country to receive validation from the World Health Organization as having eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

When, Where & How to Get HIV Tested

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012 there were an estimated 156,300 people in the U.S. living with HIV who had not yet been diagnosed. In spite of many significant advances, roughly 50,000 more people nationally are infected with HIV each year. Getting tested is extremely important, as it allows those infected to get treatment that will not only help them lead healthy lives, but that will reduce the risk of transmission to others.

The CDC recommends that individuals aged 13-64 be tested routinely for HIV. Individuals with higher risk – including persons who change partners frequently or have multiple partners; men who have sex with men; persons who inject drugs or have sexual partners that inject drugs; persons who exchange sex for money or drugs; or persons who have sexual partners of unknown HIV status or HIV-positive status – should get tested at least once a year. Regular HIV testing is also recommended for people who have been diagnosed with hepatitis or tuberculosis.

Types of HIV Tests

There are five types of HIV tests available. Three types are administered by health care professionals, while the others are FDA-approved home tests:

Clinical Tests

Antibody test

This test is designed to find antibodies that are created when the body is fighting HIV. Antibody tests are conducted either with a blood sample or a saliva sample taken from a mouth swab. Because this test is looking for antibodies to HIV that take some time for the body to develop, antibody tests may not detect an infection that has occurred very recently.

Antigen/antibody test

This type of test looks for both antibodies and antigen—which is part of the virus—in the blood. This combination test can detect the disease much faster than testing for antibodies alone, allowing a diagnosis to be made as early as weeks after exposure.

Nucleic acid (RNA) test

RNA tests can detect HIV directly within ten days of exposure. However, they are costly and are not generally used to initially screen for the virus.

Home Tests

OraQuick In-Home HIV Test

In addition to HIV tests that are performed by medical professionals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two tests that can be done at home. The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test provides results within 20 minutes of testing saliva obtained by swabbing inside of the mouth. However, it is still important to get a test from a doctor in order to confirm the results.

Home Access HIV-1 Test System

This test is a convenient way to test for the virus. Users can prick their finger and send a blood sample to a licensed lab. The individual then gets a call from the lab the next day and if the results are positive, they take a second test to confirm.

If a patient’s initial HIV screening comes back positive, health care providers will usually run a at least one additional test designed to confirm the diagnosis and determine what kind of HIV is in the body. If a person is infected with HIV, it is important for them to have follow-up with a clinician as soon as possible to determine whether they are eligible to begin antiretroviral therapy that can help fight the virus.

Where to Get Tested

There are a number of places that people can get tested for HIV. Tests can be given through a regular health care provider, as well as through hospitals, substance abuse programs, and community health centers. As described above, home-based testing kits are also available and can usually be purchased at drug stores or pharmacies. People who are not sure where to get a test center can contact their local health department, call the CDC hotline at 800-CDC-INFO, or visit https://gettested.cdc.gov/ to get locations.

Find a Testing Site or Care Services

Individuals who are looking for an HIV testing site or care center can use the following search tool to easily find locations in their area.

Learning to Live with HIV

Thanks to dramatic medical advancements and other auxiliary government and community-based programs, people who are diagnosed with HIV now have a number of options to help them live full, healthy, and normal lives and are not precluded from having sexual partnerships or starting families.

HIV Medication, Treatment Adherence, and Routine Doctor Visits

Most people are eligible to begin antiretroviral therapy once they are diagnosed with HIV. Antiretroviral therapy may be comprised of different classes of drugs tailored to the specific strain of virus that a patient has, and to reduce the risk of interaction with other medications a person may be taking. Antiretroviral therapy helps restore immune function and limit the production of additional virus in the body. More recent studies have demonstrated that once someone is virally suppressed – having a very low concentration of virus in the blood – the risk of transmission to another person also decreases dramatically.

Most antiretroviral therapy regimens require strict adherence, for example, that medications are taken on a daily basis or sometimes multiple times a day. In order to have optimal treatment results, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that patients miss no more than one dose monthly. Failure to remain adherence can lead to the development of resistance or lack of effectiveness of the medication. Treatment adherence can be daunting, but a number of programs may be available to help people take their medication regularly, including text message reminders, peer support groups, or patient navigators, while even more are being developed.

Those living with HIV should also keep up with regular visits to their health care provider. This gives them the opportunity to discuss their questions and concerns about living with the illness or any problems or challenges associated with their medications, and keep medical professionals abreast of any health changes occurring. It is also common for people living with HIV to have regular appointments with mental health practitioners, as their physical well-being is closely related to maintaining good mental health.

Adjusting Your Lifestyle

Antiretroviral therapy may come with side effects, including diarrhea, wasting, and changes in metabolism and bone density. These side effects make it imperative for patients to maintain a healthy diet that includes the nutrients recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In order to get the best nutritional results, diets should include fat, vitamins, minerals, protein, water, and carbohydrates.

In addition, HIV-positive individuals should be careful when preparing the foods they eat, as their immune systems are compromised. It is recommended that they always wash fruits and vegetables before consumption, use a separate cutting board for raw meats, and avoid eating raw eggs, seafood, and meats.

Similarly, exercise is an important part of staying healthy. By getting recommendations about the best exercise routines for their condition, those living with HIV can keep their metabolism at a healthy level, while preventing conditions such as high blood pressure, colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Understanding Your Rights

Although education about HIV has increased exponentially over the years, people living with the disease may still face discrimination. However, they do not have to suffer in silence. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, people with HIV cannot be discriminated against by employers or those providing housing. In addition, HIV-positive people cannot be denied service in public accommodations, such as doctor’s offices, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and health clubs.

Taking Action: Public Health Degrees & Careers to Help

Students who decide to pursue degrees and careers in public health are in a unique position to join the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS. Those interested in this area can earn a Master of Public Health to get an in-depth look at HIV-related topics and may also earn an HIV/AIDS-related concentration for further specialization. There are a number of academic and career concentrations available to public health students interested in focusing on HIV/AIDS, including the following examples:

Community health education

This concentration focuses on methods for planning, creating, implementing, and evaluating public health education programs in response to the needs of a specific community. Students learn how to address a range community health concerns, including HIV/AIDS. In addition, students study the relationship between behavior—such as human sexuality, drug and alcohol use, and nutrition—and health, which can also help them specifically educate people about HIV and AIDS.

HIV/AIDS Educator

Educators work directly with at-risk populations or people who have already contracted the virus to educate them on how the disease is transmitted, how to prevent infection at the individual and/or community level, how to combat stigma and/or support others living with HIV, and what local and government resources may be available for HIV prevention and care.

Policy and Government Affairs Manager

These professionals act as liaisons between a community health organization and legislators. Managers working for AIDS organizations educate government officials about the challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS face and help design legislation to improve their health outcomes and access to needed services.

Research Coordinator

HIV research coordinators may find employment in a variety of settings, including universities, research institutions, and academic medical centers. These PH professionals are usually responsible for the daily operation of HIV research protocols, such as recruitment of study participants, scheduling and retaining participants, administering interviews, assisting with examinations, and documenting and maintaining HIV research activities and results in preparation for analysis and reporting.

Patient Navigator

An HIV patient navigator may find employment at a hospital, where he/she will be responsible for delivering test results to patients who have been tested positive for HIV/STIs. They also work with medical providers and program managers to ensure that these individuals receive appropriate support services. A patient navigator may also be responsible for conducting counseling sessions and/or HIV education workshops or overseeing community testing sites.

Behavioral and
community health science

PH Students who choose this specialty can expect to learn about the intersection of public health and behavioral and sociocultural issues in a community. Depending on the program, students may have the opportunity to take courses related to health disparities, social or structural factors that affect health, or the health of subpopulations including women, adolescents, LGBT persons, and older persons, which can help them work with a variety of populations living with HIV and AIDS.

HIV/AIDS Educator

Educators work directly with at-risk populations or people who have already contracted the virus to educate them on how the disease is transmitted, how to prevent infection at the individual and/or community level, how to combat stigma and/or support others living with HIV, and what local and government resources may be available for HIV prevention and care.

AIDS Case Manager

AIDS case managers provide social service support to those living with the disease. This may include helping HIV/AIDS patients find housing, apply for public assistance, or get Medicaid or Medicare benefits.

Policy and Government Affairs Manager

These professionals act as liaisons between a community health organization and legislators. Managers working for AIDS organizations educate government officials about the challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS face and help design legislation to improve their health outcomes and access to needed services.

Urban public health

This concentration explores how public health principles are applied to cases in urban communities. Depending on the program and university, topics covered may include disparities in health care, nutrition management, epidemiology, environmental health, and public health biostatistics. Courses specifically address HIV and AIDS from sociological, epidemiological, biological, psychological, and policy perspectives.

Policy and Government Affairs Manager

These professionals act as liaisons between a community health organization and legislators. Managers working for AIDS organizations educate government officials about the challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS face and help design legislation to improve their health outcomes and access to needed services.

AIDS Case Manager

AIDS case managers provide social service support to those living with the disease. This may include helping HIV/AIDS patients find housing, apply for public assistance, or get Medicaid or Medicare benefits.

HIV/AIDS Educator

Educators work directly with at-risk populations or people who have already contracted the virus to educate them on how the disease is transmitted, how to prevent infection at the individual and/or community level, how to combat stigma and/or support others living with HIV, and what local and government resources may be available for HIV prevention and care.

Research Coordinator

HIV research coordinators may find employment in a variety of settings, including universities, research institutions, and academic medical centers. These PH professionals are usually responsible for the daily operation of HIV research protocols, such as recruitment of study participants, scheduling and retaining participants, administering interviews, assisting with examinations, and documenting and maintaining HIV research activities and results in preparation for analysis and reporting.

Epidemiology

Epidemiology students gain an understanding of how to conduct research and surveillance, including how diseases develop, how they are transmitted, and how they can be prevented. The practice of epidemiology usually relies on collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative data, often using statistical analysis. Students also learn how to evaluate the strength of previous research in order to determine what methods of prevention or treatment may be most effective for a specific population at risk for HIV. Coursework may include an overview of HIV/AIDS epidemiology biostatistics, and basic sciences such as immunology and virology to understand the prevention and spread of the virus.

Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists research diseases and investigate the patterns and underlying causes of population-based illnesses, including HIV. These professionals play a critical role in disease reduction by understanding how to control, and ultimately reduce, the spread of diseases within various populations. Those who specialize in HIV and AIDS cases may work on public surveillance projects in order to track the disease in a specific community, evaluate new strategies for prevention and care, or test new medications in clinical trials.

Microbiologist

These professionals study how microorganisms—such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi—behave in certain environments. When working on HIV cases, microbiologists look at how HIV cells grow and change in the body, as well as how they respond to drug treatments. It’s important to note that additional training and education in biological sciences is typically also required in order to pursue this profession.

Infectious/ Communicable diseases

In this public health concentration, students are taught strategies to address infectious diseases, such as HIV and AIDS. Coursework provides an understanding of how a pathogen operates within a human system.

Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists research diseases and investigate the patterns and underlying causes of population-based illnesses, including HIV. These professionals play a critical role in disease reduction by understanding how to control, and ultimately reduce, the spread of diseases within various populations. Those who specialize in HIV and AIDS cases may work on public surveillance projects in order to track the disease in a specific community, evaluate new strategies for prevention and care, or test new medications in clinical trials.

Microbiologist

These professionals study how microorganisms—such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi—behave in certain environments. When working on HIV cases, microbiologists look at how HIV cells grow and change in the body, as well as how they respond to drug treatments. It’s important to note that additional training and education in biological sciences is typically also required in order to pursue this profession.

Research Coordinator

HIV research coordinators may find employment in a variety of settings, including universities, research institutions, and academic medical centers. These PH professionals are usually responsible for the daily operation of HIV research protocols, such as recruitment of study participants, scheduling and retaining participants, administering interviews, assisting with examinations, and documenting and maintaining HIV research activities and results in preparation for analysis and reporting.

Patient Navigator

An HIV patient navigator may find employment at a hospital, where he/she will be responsible for delivering test results to patients who have been tested positive for HIV/STIs. They also work with medical providers and program managers to ensure that these individuals receive appropriate support services. A patient navigator may also be responsible for conducting counseling sessions and/or HIV education workshops or overseeing community testing sites.

Global health/International health and development

Students in this area gain an understanding of the burden of diseases worldwide, and how public health can intervene effectively in settings with varying levels of resources and infrastructure. This area addresses the medical, political, economic, and cultural factors that influence how infectious diseases such as HIV are addressed, particularly in low and middle-income countries. The curriculum includes coursework specific to HIV, such as the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS, issues in HIV care and treatment, and HIV/AIDS surveillance.

Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists research diseases and investigate the patterns and underlying causes of population-based illnesses, including HIV. These professionals play a critical role in disease reduction by understanding how to control, and ultimately reduce, the spread of diseases within various populations. Those who specialize in HIV and AIDS cases may work on public surveillance projects in order to track the disease in a specific community, evaluate new strategies for prevention and care, or test new medications in clinical trials.

Policy and Government Affairs Manager

These professionals act as liaisons between a community health organization and legislators. Managers working for AIDS organizations educate government officials about the challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS face and help design legislation to improve their health outcomes and access to needed services.

Public health prevention and promotion

This concentration provides a multidisciplinary look at public health and wellness by covering topics in sociology, nutrition, psychology, and biology. Specific infections such as HIV and AIDS are explored and students learn how to prevent and control outbreaks and promote health, particularly in high-risk communities. Coursework includes topics such as behavioral medicine, culture and health, and health behavior.

AIDS Case Manager

AIDS case managers provide social service support to those living with the disease. This may include helping HIV/AIDS patients find housing, apply for public assistance, or get Medicaid or Medicare benefits.

Policy and Government Affairs Manager

These professionals act as liaisons between a community health organization and legislators. Managers working for AIDS organizations educate government officials about the challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS face and help design legislation to improve their health outcomes and access to needed services.

HIV/AIDS Educator

Educators work directly with at-risk populations or people who have already contracted the virus to educate them on how the disease is transmitted, how to prevent infection at the individual and/or community level, how to combat stigma and/or support others living with HIV, and what local and government resources may be available for HIV prevention and care.

Research Coordinator

HIV research coordinators may find employment in a variety of settings, including universities, research institutions, and academic medical centers. These PH professionals are usually responsible for the daily operation of HIV research protocols, such as recruitment of study participants, scheduling and retaining participants, administering interviews, assisting with examinations, and documenting and maintaining HIV research activities and results in preparation for analysis and reporting.

Patient Navigator

An HIV patient navigator may find employment at a hospital, where he/she will be responsible for delivering test results to patients who have been tested positive for HIV/STIs. They also work with medical providers and program managers to ensure that these individuals receive appropriate support services. A patient navigator may also be responsible for conducting counseling sessions and/or HIV education workshops or overseeing community testing sites.

Maternal and Child/Population & Family Health

These programs focus on sexual and reproductive health, particularly health behavior within the context of women, children, and adolescents. Some programs also take a broader approach, covering topics such as family planning, sexual behavior and decision-making, and birth and pediatric outcomes in the context of HIV.

AIDS Case Manager

AIDS case managers provide social service support to those living with the disease. This may include helping HIV/AIDS patients find housing, apply for public assistance, or get Medicaid or Medicare benefits.

HIV/AIDS Educator

Educators work directly with at-risk populations or people who have already contracted the virus to educate them on how the disease is transmitted, how to prevent infection at the individual and/or community level, how to combat stigma and/or support others living with HIV, and what local and government resources may be available for HIV prevention and care.

Patient Navigator

An HIV patient navigator may find employment at a hospital, where he/she will be responsible for delivering test results to patients who have been tested positive for HIV/STIs. They also work with medical providers and program managers to ensure that these individuals receive appropriate support services. A patient navigator may also be responsible for conducting counseling sessions and/or HIV education workshops or overseeing community testing sites.

HIV/AIDS Educator

Educators work directly with at-risk populations or people who have already contracted the virus to educate them on how the disease is transmitted, how to prevent infection at the individual and/or community level, how to combat stigma and/or support others living with HIV, and what local and government resources may be available for HIV prevention and care.

Policy and Government Affairs Manager

These professionals act as liaisons between a community health organization and legislators. Managers working for AIDS organizations educate government officials about the challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS face and help design legislation to improve their health outcomes and access to needed services.

Research Coordinator

HIV research coordinators may find employment in a variety of settings, including universities, research institutions, and academic medical centers. These PH professionals are usually responsible for the daily operation of HIV research protocols, such as recruitment of study participants, scheduling and retaining participants, administering interviews, assisting with examinations, and documenting and maintaining HIV research activities and results in preparation for analysis and reporting.

AIDS Case Manager

AIDS case managers provide social service support to those living with the disease. This may include helping HIV/AIDS patients find housing, apply for public assistance, or get Medicaid or Medicare benefits.

Patient Navigator

An HIV patient navigator may find employment at a hospital, where he/she will be responsible for delivering test results to patients who have been tested positive for HIV/STIs. They also work with medical providers and program managers to ensure that these individuals receive appropriate support services. A patient navigator may also be responsible for conducting counseling sessions and/or HIV education workshops or overseeing community testing sites.

Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists research diseases and investigate the patterns and underlying causes of population-based illnesses, including HIV. These professionals play a critical role in disease reduction by understanding how to control, and ultimately reduce, the spread of diseases within various populations. Those who specialize in HIV and AIDS cases may work on public surveillance projects in order to track the disease in a specific community, evaluate new strategies for prevention and care, or test new medications in clinical trials.

Microbiologist

These professionals study how microorganisms—such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi—behave in certain environments. When working on HIV cases, microbiologists look at how HIV cells grow and change in the body, as well as how they respond to drug treatments. It’s important to note that additional training and education in biological sciences is typically also required in order to pursue this profession.

Other Professions Where You Can Make a Difference

HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts aren’t limited to public health careers. Many other fields, from medical care to fundraising, give professionals the opportunity to directly help the cause.

Patient Care
Registered Nurse

Registered nurses can specialize in HIV/AIDS care. They not only use their clinical expertise to help patients but also serve as educators and advocates. Registered nurses teach their patients about safer sex practices, symptom management, and medications they may be taking to treat HIV. They also study the effects of HIV and its treatments.

Physician Assistant

Physician assistants typically help doctors and surgeons care for patients, either by directly assisting in surgeries and other procedures or by performing basic checkups that don’t require physician supervision. Physician assistants who specialize in HIV/AIDS care may perform health exams, provide information on medications and safe sex practices, and write physician-approved prescriptions.

Mental Health
Clinical Psychologist

When patients learn they are HIV positive, clinical psychologists help them cope with the diagnosis as well as the emotions and life changes it comes with. Clinical psychologists may also help clients keep on track with their medications.

Mental Health Social Worker

Mental health social workers help clients with HIV improve their quality of life and their mental health by assessing various factors that affect their clients’ conditions. These professionals provide helpful resources, work with family members and develop coping strategies with clients. Mental health social workers can also educate the public on HIV prevention and destigmatization.

Community Outreach
Fundraising Manager

Fundraising managers help nonprofits raise money and secure funds through various campaigning techniques. They can help in both the prevention and treatment of HIV by employing a combination of fundraising strategies – from putting on events to applying for public funding – that keep HIV education, outreach and research organizations running.

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists help organizations build positive, mutually beneficial relationships with their audiences via news exposure, social media presence and other strategies. By working with HIV prevention, education, outreach and research organizations, PR specialists increase the issue’s exposure, reduce social stigma and enact positive behavior changes.

After Graduation: Potential Employers

Public health graduates interested in helping those living with HIV and AIDS have a myriad of employment options. The following are examples of private, public sector, and non-profit organizations that are possible employment sources for these graduates.

Private Sector Employers

Bristol-Myers Squibb

This pharmaceutical company manufactures drugs for persons living with HIV, including Reyataz, Sustiva, and Atripla. In addition, the company is working in Africa to develop a sustainable response to the disease in that region.

Gilead

In addition to producing HIV medications—such as Atripla, Truvada, and Atripla—Gilead is developing solutions to advance treatment options.

Pfizer

Pfizer manufactures drugs such as Selzentry, Rescriptor, and Viracept for those living with HIV and AIDS.

Roche Laboratories

The company makes the Invirase and Fuzeon drugs to treat AIDS, and provides an interactive learning tool that explains how the products work.

ViiV Healthcare

Viiv is a global specialist HIV company that is dedicated to the advancement of treatment and care for people living with HIV.

Public Sector Employers

In addition to the employers mentioned below, state and local health departments, particularly in locations with more sizeable epidemics such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other large urban areas, are likely to have dedicated teams working on HIV.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control provides a wealth of information about AIDS, including where to get tested for HIV, how to help prevent the spread of the virus, and HIV/AIDS statistics. In addition, the agency has a number of initiatives designed to help fight the disease.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

This federal agency creates programs designed to promote good health for people around the country. The Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP), which is part of the agency’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, creates initiatives to support those living with the disease.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The agency created the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) Program to help people living with the disease find affordable places to live. In addition, HOPWA provides grants for communities that help low-income HIV/AIDS patients and their families.

U.S. Department of Justice

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice enacts policies designed to protect HIV and AIDS patients from discrimination. In addition, the agency advises these patients of their rights.

The White House

The White House is the home of the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), which works to improve the health outcomes of those living with the disease and prevent new infections through the setting of national guidelines and recommendations for HIV research, prevention, and care.

Non-Profit Employers

AIDS Research Alliance

This independent organization is conducting research to find a cure for AIDS, as well as strategies to prevent new infections.

amfAR

Since its inception in 1985, amfAR has worked to address the AIDS epidemic on a global level, resulting in advancements in the prevention and treatment of the disease. Some of the organization’s accomplishments include the creation of an observational database that tracks patients’ progress during treatment, lobbying efforts that resulted in the Ryan White CARE Act of 1990, and clinical studies that helped to advance medical treatments.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

This organization works to provide research and advocacy in order to prevent AIDS transmission among young children. The Foundation educates the public about the disease and provides grants for scientists.

Additional Employers

Academia: Universities, especially research institutions. A MPH degree holder may work as a research coordinator or in an academic medical center.

Hospitals: Patient navigators or health educators may be based at such places.

NGOs
International Association of Providers of AIDS Care

This organization was the first in the country to support physicians who work with HIV/AIDS patients. It now has over 17,000 members from around the world.

Magic Johnson Foundation

The Magic Johnson Foundation provides free HIV screening events every year, grants for non-profit organizations that support prevention and treatment efforts in their community, and youth summits to teach young people about the disease.

HIV/AIDS Resources

General Information

AIDS.gov

Provides information from the federal government related to prevention, treatment, and research. The site also includes information on federal resources, podcasts, and webinars.

AIDSinfo

Maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this site includes fact sheets and articles on a number of HIV-related health topics, information on clinical trials, educational resources, and apps that can be used on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Includes information on AIDS care and prevention, as well as news about the disease.

AIDS United

Includes webinar presentations, fact sheets, and toolkits.

AVERT

Includes information on transmission, prevention, and care. In addition, there is information on the disease in Africa and South America, as well as articles geared specifically toward young people.

CDC – HIV/AIDS

This is the Center for Disease Control’s site that contains fact sheets about the disease, HIV surveillance reports, and information on screening and testing laws.

UNAIDS

UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, publishes news about treatment of the disease around the world.

WHO

This is the World Health Organization’s site, which includes global news about HIV and AIDS, publications addressing numerous topics—such as sex workers, surveillance, and access to medications—and statistics from a number of countries.

Getting Involved

AIDS/LifeCycle

Cycling enthusiasts can get involved in a number of fundraising events.

AIDS Walk

This site has a directory of AIDS Walk fundraising events taking place around the country.

Bering Support Network

Serving the HIV and LGBT communities and their allies, Bering Support Network specializes in spiritual support through counseling, pastoral and peer encouragement.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

People who want to get involved with this organization can participate in community programs or organize events in their area.

GMHC

The Gay Men’s Health Crisis has volunteer opportunities for those who want to work in the organization’s New York office doing administrative tasks. In addition, people can perform a number of services, from art instruction to massage therapy, during the organization’s events.

HIV/AIDS Resource Center

This organization has a number of volunteer opportunities listed, including working in bars, an outreach van, and special events.

Projects Abroad

Those who want to contribute to public health overseas can volunteer to work with AIDS patients in Ghana.

The Names Project

This site provides information on how to host the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Lists opportunities to volunteer for programs in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Trustworthy Sources for Donations

The following list reflects just a limited sample of organizations to donate to. There are numerous options available, and it is worth checking locally to see if there are community-based organizations doing HIV prevention work and/or serving people living with HIV.

Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center

This organization uses donations to fund clinical trials, vaccine research, and public health work being done in China.

AIDS Research Alliance

Donations are used to fund HIV cure research. In addition to monetary donations, people can donate a vehicle to the organization.

amfAR

Donations to amfAR fund cure-focused clinical research studies.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Donations help to treat pregnant women and young children with AIDS.

Elton John AIDS Foundation

Funds are used to treat pregnant HIV-positive women, as well as young people, in Africa.

Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance

Donations are used to benefit AIDS patients in Malawi.

International AIDS Vaccine Initiative

Donations help fund research for an AIDS cure.

mothers2mothers

Provides support for mothers living with HIV and AIDS in Africa.

RED

Donations given to this organization are used to provide AIDS medications to patients in Africa.