Strategic Planning for Elimination of the HIV/HCV/STI Syndemic

California Department of Public Health

Project Years: 2021-2022

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Office of AIDS and STD Control Branch joined together in early 2021, and set out to develop a high-level, high-impact strategic plan for addressing HIV, hepatitis C, and STIs over the next 5 years They knew they wanted to treat HIV, HCV, and STIs as a “syndemic”– fulfilling requirements for a CDC/HRSA Integrated HIV Plan, a Statewide Hepatitis C Elimination Plan, and a Congenital Syphilis Elimination Plan while recognizing that to people living in California, these diseases co-exist and affect people in an overlapping way. Ultimately, the group decided that to best enhance their work to end HIV, hepatitis C, and STIs, they needed to focus on those Californians who still haven’t had the opportunity to thrive despite all the effort to date, and should develop a single strategic plan that addressed these issues through the lens of social determinants of health.

To create the high-level plan released in late 2021, Facente Consulting convened a workgroup of 25 people from CDPH, statewide organizations, and other stakeholder groups, which met for 90 minutes every Tuesday for 13 weeks. These meetings were learning and planning sessions, where partners from relevant organizations throughout the state came to present their work to the workgroup, then collaborate in activities to ultimately develop a list of 30 strategies across 6 categories: racial equity, housing first, health access for all, mental health and substance use, economic justice, and a need to be stigma free. Once the plan was released, Facente Consulting embarked upon a “road show,” holding in-person meetings in 16 California cities in May and June 2022, supplementing those meetings with 5 virtual input sessions and a statewide electronic survey. The information collected through these efforts will be used to develop a realistic, actionable blueprint for implementation of the 30 high-level strategies throughout California from 2022-2026.