STI Engage

STI Engage 2024 is known as the place for sexual health professionals to hear from national leaders in government, researchers, clinicians,as well as their own peers. The conference, as always, featured top-notch production and game-changing content. With it being in Washington, D.C. this year, the conference also included a Day of Action to connect STI professionals with Members of Congress. This was so policy makers could better understand challenges faced in the field, and the toll the STI epidemics have on our nation. Hearing from constituents is crucial; it helps policy makers understand what is happening in their district and state, and for them to learn the importance of our funding and other requests. This year, we’re seeking $322.5 million for the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, which supports the base program that funds STI prevention and control efforts in all 50 states. 

Members of the AIDS United policy team attended STI Engage to connect the syndemics of HIV and STIs. To end the HIV epidemic, we must also address STI prevention and treatment: having an untreated STI increases the opportunity for general and HIV transmission, which reduces our chances to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.  

Taylor Sabol, Policy Associate at AIDS United, developed a poster about addressing barriers to PrEP among people who use drugs. This poster (see below) explores both the individual and structural level barriers people who use drugs face regarding biomedical HIV prevention tools. This poster highlights the role of peer educators in providing education and navigation to PrEP for these populations. Syringe service programs are uniquely positioned to engage people who use drugs (PWUD) in PrEP.  

Mackenzie Flynn, our Policy and Annual Conference Manager, also created a poster entitled “Let’s Talk About: HIV & STI Criminalization,” which examines HIV and STI criminalization laws at the state level across the United States. As public health and sexual health become increasingly politicized and more attention is put towards the topics of structural racism, molecular HIV surveillance, chest feeding, pregnancy criminalization, sex work, and anti-LGBTQIA legislation, the issue of STI and HIV criminalization remains dire – and too few people are are talking about it.

Taylor Sobel’s poster for STI engage.
Mackenzie Flynn’s STI engage poster