More than 10 years after local officials first declared Oakland, California, to be in a state of emergency over its rising HIV rates, the city remains torn apart by a seemingly unstoppable epidemic.
Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums's office has responded to the raging rate of new HIV infections by founding Get Screened Oakland (GSO), a new public-private partnership that unites for-profit corporations, city programs and nonprofit organizations to revolutionize HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs.
GSO is supported by the Global Business Coalition (GBC) on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The GBC connects government organizations and nonprofits with the specialized skill sets of corporations. The result is a synergy tailor-made to Oakland's residents and businesses.
GSO has three goals: raise awareness about the HIV epidemic, reduce HIV transmission and make HIV screening a routine part of care. The hope is that GSO's prevention strategy will serve as a national model and revolutionize public health programs in other cities ravaged by HIV/AIDS.
“This approach re-energizes and re-engages an exhausted community of providers by bringing in new people and new partners to the table,” said Marsha Martin, PhD, director of GSO. “With more people engaged, HIV becomes everyone's business. With more people engaged, the work is better coordinated, facilitated and supported.”
GBC members tied to the Oakland area—including Chevron, Levi Strauss & Co., Young & Rubicam, Walgreens and the NBA—are already onboard and have pledged their unique skills for the partnership. Sounds like it's a good thing to be all up in each other's business.