STATEMENT OF URGENCY: CRISIS AMONG GAY MEN NASTAD and NCSD

, on behalf of state and territorial health officials responsible for HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted disease (STD) programs are gravely concerned about the stronghold HIV and STD infections continue to have on gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities in the United States. While other at-risk populations have seen declining numbers of new HIV infections over time, new cases among gay men continue to rise and this population also bears a disproportionate burden of syphilis. Despite past progress, we acknowledge that our nation’s efforts are not currently sufficient to arrest new infections among these men. Thus, we are seeing sustained and often increasing HIV and syphilis transmission among our sons, brothers, fathers, uncles and friends. This crisis requires an honest and critical examination of our prior efforts and a sharpening of our focus so that we can prevent new infections among gay and bisexual men of all races once and for all. The silence that ushered in the beginning of the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s has again taken hold of our nation and most Americans offer little more than sympathy for a crisis that continues to claim thousands of gay men’s lives each year. Gay and bisexual men, particularly those of color, feel the acute and sustained effects of oppression, despite any progress that is being made toward equality, and experience rejection and discrimination at personal and institutional levels. NASTAD and NCSD members commit to examining existing programs and the allocation of resources targeting gay and bisexual men. In addition, further investment in federal funding for prevention programs is paramount and NASTAD and NCSD will continue to advocate for increased and targeted resources. With support from NASTAD and NCSD, our members commit to developing new and innovative partnerships to ensure that sound and holistic policies that impact the lives of gay men are adopted and implemented. In conjunction with new and existing partners, our members also pledge to implement scientifically-grounded and innovative programs which explicitly target these men. Progress toward change will take time but the commitment of NASTAD and NCSD members is renewed and unyielding.

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STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT: PROMOTING INJECTING DRUG USER HEALTH

 The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), on behalf of state and territorial health officials responsible for HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis programs, continues to be concerned about the health risks and challenges faced by people who inject drugs (IDUs). While we have made significant strides in reducing new HIV infections among people who inject drugs, the public health response in meeting the prevention and care needs of IDUs remains inadequate. Morbidity and mortality rates among IDUs remain disproportionately high. People who inject drugs bear the highest burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and are at increased risk for hepatitis A and B, despite the fact that vaccination against these infections is cost-effective and feasible within public health settings. Recently, alarming epidemiologic reports indicate a rise in HCV infections among young IDUs throughout the country. Effective prevention interventions do exist, although these interventions are not widely available and additional prevention strategies are needed. In addition to becoming infected with HIV and viral hepatitis, people who inject drugs are fatally overdosing at elevated rates, despite available prevention tools. Access to substance use treatment is limited and overdose prevention efforts rarely have a “home” in state drug and alcohol, injury prevention or public health agencies. These concerning trends are clearly evident throughout our health care system, and yet the system often remains inaccessible and at times hostile to IDUs. Recognizing the progress we have made in reducing new HIV infections among the IDU population, we acknowledge that our nation’s efforts are not sufficient to meet the comprehensive health needs of this population. To change the course it will require an honest and critical examination of our efforts among all stakeholders. NASTAD and its members commit to explicitly identify and implement effective public health programs for IDUs. Expanded federal investment in disease and overdose prevention, care and treatment programs is paramount. NASTAD and its members will continue to advocate for increased and targeted resources. Approved by NASTAD’s Executive Committee on August 5, 2011

ADAP Advocacy Association Praises President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget’s Commitment to Cash-Strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Program; Budget proposes $102 million increase

ADAP Advocacy Association aaa+ Attn: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO PO Box 15275 Washington, DC 20005 info@adapadvocacyassociation.org www.adapadvocacyassociation.org  to alleviate ADAP waiting lists For Immediate Release WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 14, 2012) – The ADAP Advocacy Association, also known as aaa+®, today praised President Barack Obama for his proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, and its commitment to shoring-up the cash-strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) under the Ryan White CARE Act. Nationwide, as of February 9th, there were 4,111 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the United States being denied access to appropriate, timely care and treatment on ADAP waiting lists. President Obama is proposing an increase of $102 over the current fiscal year for ADAPs. “On behalf of the thousands of patients who rely on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, but are being turned away from their life-saving medications, we’re extremely thankful for the President’s commitment to this vital safety-net program,” said Brandon M. Macsata, CEO of the ADAP Advocacy Association. “The ADAP Advocacy Association has been calling on the federal government to renew its commitment to ADAP because it has a proven Return on Investment to the taxpayers, as well as providing essential access to care and treatment for those patients who otherwise would not have it. The additional $102 million is a significant step in the right direction.” The Budget includes an increase of $75 million for care and treatment through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The Budget includes $1 billion for AIDS drug assistance programs, an increase of $67 million above 2012 levels to expand access to life saving HIV-related medications for uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS. Based on current projections, this increase in funding for ADAP, combined with sufficient state contributions, will eliminate ADAP waiting lists in 2013. The Budget also increases funding for the Ryan White Part C program by $15 million to expand access to critical early intervention and primary care services for the most vulnerable populations living with HIV/AIDS. To address the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color, there is an $8 million increase in funding above 2012 for Ryan White Minority AIDS Initiative activities, totaling $169 million in 2013.1 To learn more about the ADAP Advocacy Association or the President’s FY2013 Budget, please contact Brandon M. Macsata by phone at (305) 519-4256 or email at info@adapadvocacyassocia

ADAPT WATCH

http://www.adapadvocacyassociation.org/pdf/ADAP_Watch_Update.pdf

CASTING CALL: New Univision / KFF Campaign

 

 

I am writing with exciting news and a request for your assistance.  We are in the process of casting individuals in South Florida for our national HIV/AIDS campaign with Univision.  I’m hoping that you can help us find the right people for this opportunity.  The campaign, Greater Than AIDS, is a national movement responding to the AIDS crisis in the United States, especially within those communities hardest hit by HIV/AIDS.  Given the disproportionate impact of HIV among Latinos and the significant stigma and misconceptions that still exist within the community, there is a real need to reach the Latino community with targeted messages that will increase knowledge and fight stigma.

 

Univision— the leading Spanish-language media company in the United States—will be joining Greater Than AIDS to help give a voice to Latinos to talk openly about HIV/AIDS in their relationships, families and communities.   The initial set of messages will showcase everyday Latinos who are affected or infected by HIV/AIDS, profiling their real-life personal stories to inspire others to take action to stem the spread of HIV.  The profiled individuals would share their “Deciding Moment”—an experience or event that changed the way they think about HIV/AIDS in their own lives and how they act on it.  Be it asking to be tested, buying (and using) condoms, correcting a piece of misinformation, or keeping up with one’s medications, these simple acts serve to challenge the stigma surrounding HIV and stem its spread.  You can see the English-language “Deciding Moment” campaign here: www.greaterthan.org/decidingmoments

 

We would greatly appreciate your help identifying bilingual Latino men and women to join the Greater Than AIDS campaign.  These individuals can be HIV positive or negative, but everyone must have a personal connection to the issue.  Individuals selected for the campaign will publicly share their Deciding Moments related to HIV/AIDS as well as more in-depth personal profiles online.  The campaign is national and multi-platform, and it would include targeted television, radio, print and online messages in Spanish ­­­AND English language that would be distributed across Univision’s media assets, in addition to outdoor media assets, community materials and other products.

 

Casting specifications:

  • Looking for fully bilingual Latino men and women
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must reside in South Florida (Broward or Miami-Dade)
  • Must have a personal connection to HIV/AIDS

 

We are particularly interested in finding:

  • An HIV-positive woman who is pregnant or who has recently given birth to an HIV negative baby
  • A mother and/or father of an HIV positive gay man
  • An HIV-positive gay man ages 25-35
  • An HIV-positive straight man married or in a long-term relationship

 

Anyone who is interested should fill out the attached casting questionnaire and include a few recent photos.  Completed questionnaires and photos should then be emailed to Stephanie Green at stephanieg@kff.org.

 

Due to tight production schedules, we are aiming to have all questionnaires submitted by February 28th.  Please circulate this info widely among your partners and let me know if you have any questions.  Many thanks in advance for your help!

 

 

2nd Annual TRANSGENDER MEDICAL SYMPOSIUM

On March 16 and 17 2012 the Broward County Health Department in collaboration with the Florida Caribbean AETC, WNN, The Poverello Center, and SunServe, will host the second Transgender Medical Symposium. This event is scheduled to take place at the Broward General Hospital from 9:00AM to 4:30 PM.on the 2nd floor, conference rooms A, B, C.

This 2 day symposium based on “open book” presentations provides a series of relaxed workshops by Dr. Marilyn Volker, Dr. Carole Clark, Dr. John Toney, the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine- Dr. Estes, Dr Salgado and Dr. Alvarez, the Center of Excellence for Transgender Medicine, UCSF and several others. Culturally sensitive topics addressing the transgender client or patient consist of Medical, Mental Health and HIV. Provisions to accommodate request for continuing education credits will be made available at no charge.

It is our goal to be able to reduce barriers to care by providing basic quality health care education targeting the medical and provider community, School Board members, and allied health professionals. It is important that those working in the health field have some knowledge of the community that they may be called upon to serve.  Overwhelming results from last years symposium, community conversations and T Houseonline.com  surveys showed that 73% of the transgender community found basic medical care difficult to access , while 93% found providers lacked enough knowledge to treat  or assist them , and  91% were discriminated against by healthcare providers, administration staff, emergency rooms and ambulance services.  Hopefully we will be able to change the community norm by providing culturally competent healthcare within our community.

AREA 10_Broward County_2nd Annual Transgender Medical Symposium

Please complete and return the following registration form before March, 2, 2012, to: Yvette Rivero MPH, F/CAETC email yrivero@med.miami.edu or fax to 305-243-1730.

FOR QUESTIONS:   Please contact Jodi Ihme at 954 213-0610 or by e-mail at  Judith_Ihme@doh.state.fl.us

Attached is a registration form, in 2 formats in the event one is not available for opening, and overview of the workshop topics.  We look forward to bringing you the best possible medical information by the best experienced medical providers. Feel free to pass amoung your colleagues.

Should AIDS activists, including those living with HIV, get harsher charges for civil disobedience

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Should AIDS activists, including those living with HIV, get harsher charges for civil disobedience than other protesters? Of course not! Please endorse this important letter and share widely with your networks.Send your sign ons to:   campbell@housingworks.org by February 15, 2012

Dear Friends,
On April 11th a group of activists were arrested protesting Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s plans to slash AIDS funding and ban the funding of needle exchange in the District of Columbia.   That same day the Mayor of Washington, DC and several members of the City Council were also arrested in a separate demonstration protesting these same policy “riders” in the Republican budget.  But they received very different treatment—the Mayor and friends were released with $50 fines.  However, the US Attorney is prosecuting the AIDS activists on charges of up to six months in jail and, for some, threats to their professional licenses.
This was a free-speech action—the US Attorney simply claims they sat down and chanted—no violence, no destruction, just speech. Nine months, five court appearances, three prosecuting attorneys later, every promise to take care of the case has been broken by the prosecutors and they’re taking the activists to trial—wasting everyone’s time and taxpayer money.  The activists are simply asking U.S. Attorney Ron Machen to drop the charges in exchange for a fine or community service.
Please sign on to the attached letter calling on US Attorney Machen to drop the charges.  Send your sign ons to:   campbell@housingworks.org by February 15, 2012
Please provide: Name, affiliation (if any) and city/state.

Thanks.
LETTER TEXT:

Ronald C. Machen, USA Judiciary Center Building 555 Fourth Street, NW Washington, DC 20530

Cc: Eric Holder

Dear Mr. Machen:

It is with deep concern that we write, as leaders of AIDS and civil rights organizations, about the cases of Antonio Davis, David Goode and the other codefendants in the case.

It is our understanding that these AIDS activists were arrested in the Cannon House Office Building during a demonstration against cuts to AIDS services and the imposition of a federal and local funding ban on needle exchange for the District of Columbia.  Court documents allege they sat down near Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office and refused to stop chanting, and thus they have been charged with unlawful entry—a charge that carries up to 6 months in jail. Regardless of the veracity of these claims, we are concerned by reports that these activists are being unfairly prosecuted and that your office has instituted a policy of drug testing that unfairly impacts people living with AIDS and other diseases.

Specifically:
·         Mayor Vincent Gray, Council Chair Kwame Brown, and others were arrested the same day demonstrating against the same policies and yet were fined and released rather than prosecuted; we question why these activists are instead being sent to trial.
·         Drug testing individuals, like Mr. Davis or Mr. Goode, arrested in non-violent free speech cases causes undue pain and suffering, discriminates against patients who use medical marijuana manage their illness not to mention being an inappropriate violation of privacy. It should also be noted that the medical practice that is keeping Antonio out of a deferred prosecution agreement  has been expressly legalized by DC voters. Both have submitted letters to your office from highly respected physicians documenting their use of medical cannabis as the only effective treatment for AIDS-related symptoms. We are deeply worried that the US Attorney would condition the dropping of charges on people living with HIV not following their doctor’s medical advice; and further concerned that the US Attorney’s office would now send these activists to trial because they cannot present marijuana-free drug test results.
·         It is deeply unjust to take action against genuinely ill people speaking out for their own lives and those of others. As Deputy Attorney General James Cole noted in his June 2011 memo, “it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen…”
·         We are also concerned about reports that your office has changed prosecuting attorneys multiple times—and that expectations have changed with them. Defendants including Matthew Kavanagh, acting in good faith on agreements with one prosecutor, should not be forced to re-do community service or adhere to  extended “stay away” orders that limit their liberty. We ask that you personally intervene in these matters. We believe the charges should be dropped against all defendants in this case—who have complied with all requests from your office. We further ask that you review the policy of linking the offer of standard deferred prosecution with drug testing—which, especially in free speech cases, we feel is inappropriate.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,
(list in formation)
Julie Davids, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA)

Christine Campbell, DC Fights Back, (DC)
Charles King, Housing Works, (NY)
Sue Udry, Defending Dissent Foundation (MD)
David Ernesto Munar, AIDS Foundation of Chicago (IL)
Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (DC, CA)
Rachel Moshman, DC National Lawyers Guild (DC)n

HIV Prevention Justice Alliance

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