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Knowing better, doing better: Anthony Galloway

Anthony Galloway

Anthony Galloway

Knowing better, doing better: Anthony Galloway

In February, the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) published the results of the first U.S. HIV Workforce Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs Survey, the largest study ever conducted of nonmedical personnel working with PLWHA in the United States. The results were alarming: The HIV/AIDS healthcare providers at health departments and AIDS service and community-based organizations who were polled answered only 63 percent of questions correctly—essentially earning a grade of D for their knowledge of HIV science and treatment, while earning the equivalent of an F on treatment-related questions.

In part four of this five-part series, we interview African American HIV University Science and Treatment College Fellow and Black Treatment Advocates Network member Anthony Galloway (AG), a prevention program manager at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

AE: In your experience, what science and treatment knowledge do nonmedical providers to PLWHA need to help their clients stay healthy?

AG: In my opinion, it’s very important my colleagues get a grasp on the nuances of HIV. I didn’t realize there were so many nuances. I didn’t realize how the drugs worked and how the HIV drugs impact the different stages of HIV, from the point of infection to how HIV continues to develop, how many copies of HIV are made and how we as individuals can impact that. A person that is HIV positive can have so much control over their health and how HIV impacts their body. As service providers, it becomes vital that we have all of the science and treatment tools and information to relay that to our clients.

AE: What types of non-medical personnel do your clients with HIV/AIDS interact with?

AG: Advocates, HIV testers, case managers, patient navigators and peer navigators are people I think of as having the first and often the most contact with clients. It is essential for them to be able to relay science and treatment information—information that can actually prolong their [clients’] lives.

AE: From what you’ve seen, do nonmedical providers have the knowledge to pass on that information?

AG: No, I don’t think so. The science-and-treatment-knowledge survey shows that people are lacking in the science when it comes to talking about HIV, and Black people are the ones mostly impacted by that. We have a whole lot of people who are perceived to know a lot more about HIV than they do, and that is very concerning.

AE: What do the providers you described have to know in order to get clients to go and stay on treatment?

AG: They need to know the stages of HIV, the life cycle of HIV, and have an understanding of the role that classes of drugs play in HIV treatment. And I think folks need to know how HIV impacts the body; that although they may feel healthy, HIV is still doing damage to one’s body.

AE: Do your clients seem to know about any of the recent biomedical advances, like pre-exposure prophylaxis?

AG: I think they do. I do think that more and more people are learning about PrEP and understanding the role PrEP can play, and because it’s so new, I think people are still kind of learning it. It’s a new prevention technology, so people aren’t gonna have the same level of information.

AE: What are you doing to pass on information you’ve learned about PrEP?

AG: I put on a workshop. We also have a PrEP working group and a community-planning group that are working to expand PrEP knowledge across the Chicago region. We know that locally, our health departments, both state and city, are very interested in PrEP.

AE: What role will science and treatment knowledge play in helping us reach the goal of ending the epidemic?

AG: I think that as people become more and more engaged in the effort to understand science and treatment, more PLWHA will feel confident about taking care of their HIV and will also take advantage of some of the newer prevention technologies. People revving up their knowledge around the science of HIV can do nothing but make the fight that much stronger.

For more information about the African American HIV University, visit or call (213) 353-3610, ext. 100.

April Eugene is a Philadelphia-based writer.

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