PASWHA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation as approved by the Internal Revenue Service and is incorporated in the State of Alabama. Since the HIV epidemic began in the United States, social workers across the country have been on the front lines of prevention, access to care and treatment, research, policy/advocacy, and empowering people living with HIV disease. After several decades of various successful and meaningful efforts to connect social workers together who work in the HIV field, a group put together a web-based survey to decide whether or not there should be an established organization of professional social workers involved in HIV. Over 1,100 unique responses later, we have learned that more than 700 people would join an association today if one existed. We have also learned that policy/advocacy, professional development, research, and HIV education are the major areas of focus for those who would join.
For the short- and mid-term, the formation committee group decided to move forward and establish a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization to launch this effort. Healthcare Reform, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, a move by the CDC to focus more on social determinants of health, and many other forces at work will require informed, resourced, and available social workers to ensure these systems and strategies address barriers from those at risk from becoming infected and those living with HIV have full and open access to care and treatment.
We will need every voice at the table. We will need support and leadership. Most importantly, in order to drive down new infections and link those who know they are HIV-positive but not in care to care and treatment, we will need to ensure that HIV and other infections that share the same modes of transmission are represented in the waves of change occurring in our country and internationally.
Please join, please share your voice, please support the work, and actively participate in shaping the future of PASWHA.