For the second year, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus (GLBC) has held a hearing on the HIV epidemic in Georgia and its impact on Black residents. The 2017 hearing allowed us to increase legislator participation and their interest in being more involved with Spark and other organization’s efforts to tackle HIV in Georgia. Several items at the hearing were discussed, including structural and social determinants of health, treatment challenges, and opportunities to increase awareness around prevention tools like PrEP and PEP. Subsequently, because of the discussions at this hearing, several GLBC members went on to introduce and support several pieces of sexual health legislation including:
- HB 454 – A measure seeking to increase public awareness of PrEP/PEP (DPH in processing of adopting)
- HB 360 – A measure to allow Expedited Partner Therapy in Georgia (Passed by the House, awaiting Senate vote – Included in Spark’s 2015 and 2016 legislative agendas)
Senator Lester Jackson, Chair of the GLBC has expressed his interest in developing a policy agenda specifically on HIV and other sexual health disparities in Georgia. SPARK is engaged in ongoing discussions with Senator Jackson and Representative Cannon about co-creating and convening a HIV policy working group comprised of GLBC members, legislative staff, advocacy groups, and AIDS service organizations that would co-author a policy agenda to guide the GLBC’s HIV and sexual health related policy efforts.