Our priorities represent interconnected points of focus that maximize impact in our community. 

One Voice Network has strategically identified the following areas of focus as primary, critical needs that must be addressed within our community. 

Key Priorities

Impact of COVID-19 on Black Communities

 

OVN is working closely with our communities, partners and key stakeholders to understand and address the impact of Covid-19 on the Black communities we work with, particularly those at risk from or living with diagnosed  and undiagnosed HIV

According to UCL research, the risk of death from Covid-19 for Black and African groups is 3.24 higher than the general population, whilst the risk for Black Caribbean people was 2.21 times higher. 1 2  Analysis released by the Office of National Statistics on 7th April shows that black men are 4.2 times more likely to die from coronavirus than their white counterparts 2

Public Health England’s (PHE) review into disparities in the risk and outcomes from Covid-19, published in June 2020, confirms that here have been disproportionately higher death rates from Covid-19 amongst Black communities, as well as amongst people born outside the UK, especially from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean (as well as South East Asia and the Middle East).  The findings show that people living in deprived areas or with comorbidities have higher diagnosis and death rates from Covid-19. This is a particular concern for OVN given that a significant proportion of BAME people living in the UK have comorbidities (e.g. diabetes or hypertension) and/or live in deprived areas.

While clinical evidence is sparse, some data shows (1234) that having untreated HIV with low CD4 count puts individuals at heightened risk of severe COVID-19, especially BAME people. 

 

Some of the Black and migrant communities that OVN works with fall into vulnerable categories already living in precarious situations.  The Covid-19 crisis is likely to exacerbate these situations further, placing extra demand on community organisations seeking to support the most vulnerable.

 

A report from The Ubele Initiative highlights the impact that Covid-19 has already had on BAME-led community organisations. Unfortunately, we expect this to worsen as the situation progresses.

Get in touch to discuss our work with Black communities during Covid-19.

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Key Priorities

PrEP Commissioning

 

The government has announced that it will commission PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) routinely in England. The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and local authorities are in the process of transitioning from the PrEP Impact Trial to routine commissioning from April 2020. 

 

OVN is keen to work with all stakeholders to facilitate equal access to PrEP for all Black community members who need it. This includes working with policy-makers and local commissioners to invest in processes and structures that will eliminate the inequalities evident during the PrEP Impact trial.

Key Priorities

U=U Campaign

 

The evidence is now clear that people living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV sexually; ‘Undetectable = Untransmittable’

In Black and Migrant Communities, however, U=U is a relatively new concept and there is hesitancy and resistance to accept it.  This is due to various factors including stigma, lack of information, leadership and appropriate resources.

 

This is despite the fact that Black and migrant communities are a key population in the European HIV epidemic, where Black Africans in particular, are disproportionately affected by HIV. In the UK, Black African men and women are the second-largest group affected by HIV, with 38 per 1000 people living with HIV. 

OVN is working to introduce the U=U science and prevention messages to Black communities and to empower people to take action with regards to their health and wellbeing. We are utilising the U=U campaign as an advocacy platform to facilitate greater access to social care, sexual and reproductive health services.

 

Find out more about U=U

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Key Priorities

Treatment Access

 

At OVN, we believe that everyone should have equal access to good treatment and care. We are working closely with Black communities of people living with HIV to advocate for improved treatment and care. We aim to support these communities and individuals to access the best healthcare.

Living well with HIV

 

At OVN, we believe that everyone living with HIV should have an equal opportunity to live well.  To ensure the voices and interests of the Black community living with HIV are met, we work closely with statutory bodies, institutions, organisations, charities and other non-governmental organisations. We support projects that focus on the wider social determinants of health, such as the equitable access to employment, education and housing. We also support individuals in taking an active role in managing long-term health and associated chronic conditions.

Research

 

There are gaps in investment, interest, involvement and representation of Black communities in research into HIV and sexual health in the UK. This has created a troubling invisibility of Black people in the data that informs service design and provision.  It has been a key driver of Black communities consistently being ignored, poorly considered and lacking in investment to address the health inequalities that are self-evident. Rooted in systemic racism and xenophobia, the invisibility of Black voices in research and data needs to be addressed at all levels and through all channels, across academic and private research, funding, the third sector, government and beyond. 

The strength of our Network will always be relative to the levels of collaboration we are able to achieve - so please get in touch if you would like to support, contribute or volunteer with the One Voice Network.

© One Voice Network 2020