Black Treatment Advocates Network

Across the country, local chapters have been set up to unify the great work stakeholders have been doing in order to maximize impact. The national BTAN network is comprised of chapters across the country, which is continually growing. Current chapters include Atlanta, Bay Area, Broward County, Charlotte, Chicago, DC, Louisiana, Los Angeles, Maryland, Melbourne, Mississippi, and Richmond-Petersburg.

Each BTAN chapter is comprised of a variety of different stakeholders. HIV/AIDS requires a community response and people from all walks of life are important in the conversation. Ideally, each chapter should include a diverse cross-section of the community including service providers, faith-based leaders, academics, professionals, and community members.

Rationale

Black Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV in the United States, accounting for 44% of new infections, while only 14% of the total US population. Of those living with HIV, only 37% were prescribed antiretroviral therapy, the medicines used to treat HIV, and only 29% have reached viral suppression, or a level where the virus is managed[1]. (CDC, “HIV Among African Americans,” February 2016)

As we see it, the end of AIDS in the Black community is within reach. Scientific advancements have given us the right tools, but to get there, we need to strengthen communities to fully utilize these tools. This includes stigma reduction, increased access, raising awareness, decreasing discrimination, and leveraging resources.

Mission

BTAN’s mission is to increase patient access to and utilization of treatment and care, strengthen local leadership and advocate for policy change in Black communities.

Goals:

  • Connect community members
  • Raise HIV science and treatment knowledge in Black communities
  • Strengthen local and national leadership
  • Link and support Black Americans in HIV to care and treatment
  • Advocate for policy change
  • Reduce stigma and create an open, supportive environment for people living with HIV/AIDS

Objectives

Produce and support a nationwide network of highly trained Black treatment advocates who will:

  •         Serve as educators and opinion leaders in their communities
  •         Provide a pipeline of trained Black Americans for community advisory boards
  •         Facilitate expanded Black participation in clinical trials
  •         Increase early utilization of appropriate treatment
  •         Improve treatment adherence in Black communities
  •         Serve on decision making advisory or planning groups

Current Success and Activities

Through BTAN, the Institute is creating an army of thousands of trained treatment educators and advocates in Black communities across the country. Every year, these include thousands of webinar attendees, over 400 graduates of intensive science and treatment three-day trainings, and several hundred every month during local trainings.

With strong advocates, a recognized brand, and proven reach and impact, BTAN is uniquely positioned to influence and change the impact of HIV in Black communities.

To that end, each BTAN Chapter engages in the following programmatic activities:

  • Attend the annual national meeting
  • Host an annual three-day training in their cities
  • Hold monthly meetings including a monthly community forum or in-service
  • Participate in at least two technical assistance calls with BAI staff
  • Watch the Brown Bag Lunch webinars and possibly hold related group discussions
  • Host a quarterly program designed to address the specific needs of the area
  • Utilize the content developed in quarterly themes by the Institute and shared as programmatic toolkits or as we call them, “program shares”

Local Networks: BTAN Chapters

In 2010, BTAN began working in three cities: Houston, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2011, networks were expanded to Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California. In 2012, BTAN was excited to expand into Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Oakland, San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. In 2014, Baltimore, Maryland; Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia; and Melbourne, Florida were added. The most recent chapters include Charlotte, North Carolina, launched in 2016 and Detroit, Michigan, launched in 2017.

BTAN started as a partnership between the Black AIDS Institute and Merck and now has a variety of sponsors including Janssen, Merck, Viiv, and MACAIDS Foundation.

For more information, contact EricaL@blackaids.org