HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy Training of Trainers Held prior to the USCA 2016!


Aministration launches new campaign to enroll young adults during Open Enrollment


Administration launches new campaign to enroll young adults during Open Enrollment

Administration launches new campaign to enroll young adults during Open Enrollment
New outreach platforms, better mobile experience, and strong partners will help reach young adults

Today, as the White House convenes the Millennial Outreach and Enrollment Summit, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced additional initiatives to reach young adults during Open Enrollment and help them find affordable coverage through Young adults had the highest uninsured rates before the Affordable Care Act and have seen the sharpest drop in uninsured rates since 2010. Yet millions of young adults remain uninsured, showing that there is more work to do to equip younger Americans with the tools and information they need to access coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Today, we are announcing new strategies, new tools, and new partnerships to reach young people and help them get covered.

More than 9 in 10 Marketplace-eligible young adults without health insurance have incomes that could qualify them for tax credits to make plans affordable, but that fact hasn’t fully penetrated the millennial community, and we want to change that,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO. “This year, we’ll be using new tactics and strategies to reach young adults where they are and deliver the message that they have affordable coverage options. These new tactics will both benefit young Americans and strengthen the Marketplace risk pool.”

New Digital Platforms

For the first time, Open Enrollment outreach will take advantage of online platforms that cater almost exclusively to young adults. Today, we are announcing the first of these new efforts: outreach utilizing Twitch, a social video platform and community for gamers. This effort will feature pre-roll before videos, a homepage takeover, and ongoing efforts with streamers on Twitch to amplify our message throughout Open Enrollment. Twitch currently attracts close to 10 million daily active users who, on average, spend 106 minutes per person per day on the site. According to ComScore, Twitch’s core demographic of 18-34 year-olds have above average uninsured rates.

Mobile 2.0

According to ComScore, 1 in 5 millennials access the internet exclusively through mobile devices. Last year, consumers could easily enroll in coverage at through mobile devices, but if they wanted to actually shop around and compare plans, the mobile interface could be difficult and time consuming. This year, consumers will find an end-to-end, mobile optimized experience, including a new state-of-the-art shopping process that for the first time offers improved ability to comparison shop on their phone or tablet. Rather than clicking on tiny boxes or zooming in on hard-to-read screens, consumers will now find intuitive navigation and a streamlined interface to compare plans.

Targeted and Coordinated Partner Campaigns

During 2017 Open Enrollment, CMS and stakeholders will organize a young adult social media outreach campaign under one umbrella: #HealthyAdulting. As part of this coordinated campaign, longstanding Open Enrollment partners will be stepping up their social media engagement and will coordinate with each other to maximize the impact of that social media work in driving enrollment. CMS will be joining with partners to communicate with young people on the digital platforms they prefer – including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr – and engaging in a conversation under a unified #HealthyAdulting message about issues young people care about, whether that’s mental health, women’s wellness, reproductive health, or diabetes prevention.

Together, partners in the #HealthyAdulting campaign reach almost five million social media followers, meaning trusted voices will be raising awareness about Open Enrollment among young adults. Participating organizations include: The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Diabetes Association, American Hospital Association, American Medical Student Association,  the League of United Latin American Citizens, Mental Health America, Autism Speaks, March of Dimes, Mocha Moms, My Halal Kitchen, National Council of La Raza,  National Action Network, National Partnership for Women & Families, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Women’s Law Center, Out2Enroll, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Raising Women’s Voices, Truth Initiative, the United Methodist Church, and Young Invincibles. Specific social media activities our partners are planning include:

  • National Council of La Raza will engage their 56,600 Twitter followers by hosting a twitter storm supported by the League of United Latin American Citizens targeting young millennial Latinos and immigrants to discuss the value proposition of healthcare.
  • The National Action Network, a leading civil rights organization founded by Reverend Al Sharpton, will engage their over 500,000 followers using #HealthyAdulting to reach out to young adults.
  • March of Dimes will host a Facebook Chat for its 630,000 followers about prenatal care and preventive services covered as essential benefits under Marketplace plans.
  • The Planned Parenthood Federation of America will engage their 837,000 followers in a Facebook live-stream led by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health addressing the state of Latina health.Meanwhile, we are also introducing new partnerships for 2017 with partners that have strong social media followings among young adults. Examples of new partnerships in 2017 include:
  • Tumblr will produce and promote a #HealthyAdulting event that will brand the movement of young adults taking ownership of their health and life choices by gaining health insurance and taking advantage of preventive services and wellness visits.
  • My Halal Kitchen will host Facebook conversations for its 1.3 million followers about healthy living, mental and emotional wellness, and heart health.
  • Autism Speaks will engage its 217,000 Twitter followers by hosting a Twitter chat on the prevalence of autism among young adults, autism screening as a covered benefit, and additional resources the community can use to get the best care.

Collaborating with Federal Partners and Programs

As we get closer to Open Enrollment, we are also working with federal partners to reach people enrolled in their programs who may need and want Marketplace coverage, with a particular focus on reaching young adults. Today we are announcing two new efforts:

  • The Department of Defense will include information about the Marketplace in the Transition Assistance Program, Transition GPS (Goals, Plans, Success) curriculum; more specifically, in the Personal Financial Planning module. The program, run through the Defense Transition Assistance Program Office, will inform transitioning Service members about health insurance options for their family, including coverage and possibility of qualifying for Marketplace financial assistance. Since this course is continually being offered, many Service members will lose their military coverage outside of Open Enrollment but would be eligible to sign up for Marketplace coverage through a special enrollment period.  Approximately 200,000 transitioning Service members, many of whom are under the age of 35, will receive this information annually.
  • The Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) will work in coordination with to get more and better information to young adults aging out of these programs at age 19, to others exiting Medicaid or CHIP coverage, and to people who apply for these programs but have incomes too high to qualify. Federal law requires states to transfer these individuals’ account information from Medicaid or CHIP to the Health Insurance Marketplace, but the Marketplace has had limited ability to conduct outreach to this group to date. New this year, the Marketplace will be able to contact millions of these individuals via email and mail, and provide information about financial assistance and Marketplace coverage options during Open Enrollment. Almost half of the individuals in this group are age 18-34. In addition, CMS will be releasing new guidance for states outlining best practices for communicating with individuals leaving Medicaid or CHIP and for sharing information with the Marketplace to facilitate direct outreach and to make it easier for individuals to complete a Marketplace application using information they have already provided to their state Medicaid or CHIP program.

In addition, as previously announced, the Internal Revenue Service will conduct new outreach this year to uninsured people who paid the individual responsibility penalty or claimed an exemption, letting them know that tax credits are available for Marketplace coverage and providing information about their health coverage options. Young adults are overrepresented among those who paid the fee: about 45 percent of taxpayers paying a penalty or claiming an exemption were under age 35, compared to about 30 percent of all taxpayers in 2014. Experts have suggested reaching out to those who paid the fee or claimed an exemption to make sure they are aware of their options to enroll in coverage, an approach already implemented in Massachusetts.

Getting Ready for Open Enrollment

We’re putting the finishing touches on our plans for Open Enrollment 4. Between now and November 1, you’ll see a series of announcements from us about what’s new, what’s better, and what to expect during this Open Enrollment – including new tools for consumers, new outreach tactics and targeting strategies, and more information about continued access to affordable coverage. Today’s announcement is the first in this series.

Americans can sign up for affordable health plans that meet their needs and their budgets at or their state Marketplace websites beginning November 1. Open Enrollment runs through January 31, 2017. Health coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017 for consumers who sign up by December 15, 2016.


  • September 27, 2016: National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), a national campaign highlighting the disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS has had on gay men. Despite only making up 2% of the population, 55% of people living with HIV in the U.S. identified as gay, bisexual, or other MSM. Learn more about services and ways to get involved.


The 20th United States Conference on AIDS Comes to a Close

The 2016 USCA Conference concluded on Sunday with inspiring speeches from a diverse panel of speakers who, while expressing their hope and optimism for a future in which there will be “zero” new HIV infections, emphasized that there is still a lot of work that remains to be done to achieve that goal. In particular, their words highlighted the need for continued efforts that will ensure that EVERYONE has access to HIV prevention and treatment services. They echoed a need for efforts focused on ensuring that groups experiencing the greatest disparities, including both HIV positive and HIV negative people of color, can have access to the health care they need.

Highlights from the plenary included:

  • Dr. Sheldon Fields from Florida International University spoke of the need to tie biomedical interventions with supportive behavioral interventions to fill in the gap in HIV prevention programs. He shared findings from his research study, in which 226 HIV-negative Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) reported a high uptake of PrEP in BMSM using a client-centered care coordination approach.
  • Dr. Rich Wolitski from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services emphasized that while studies are showing zero transmission from people who have achieved viral suppression and in whom the virus is undetectable, we are still far away from where we need to be. He noted that fewer than half of individuals in the U.S. are virally suppressed, and that barriers to healthcare access are contributing to this lack of progress. The healthcare system is failing the people who need the services and “we need to demand that the systems that are there to serve us meet our needs.”
  • Michelle Durham of the BEAT AIDS Coalition Trust spoke about her organization’s PrEP Awareness Program. The program is particularly focused on reaching MSM in San Antonio, Texas, as they have the highest incidence of HIV in the area—In 2012, MSM accounted for 83% of new HIV infections. The program has implemented a number of outreach efforts and activities to increase awareness and education about PrEP among the community and providers, and refer clients to PrEP treatment services.
  • Noël Gordon, who works in HIV Prevention and Health Equity at the Human Rights Campaign, urged increased attention to treatment as prevention (TasP). He expressed that while treatment as prevention has more chance of reducing HIV transmission, this is being overshadowed by current PrEP efforts, and that failing to use PrEP’s growing popularity as an opportunity to also create awareness about treatment as prevention would be disservice, especially to those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS.
  • Arianna Inurritegui-Lint from the TransLatin@ Coalition spoke about the disparities that exist in access to care for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative transgender women, particularly women of color, and emphasized the great need that still exists to implement efforts to address this. She urged support – including financial support – for transgender programs and made a plea for including representation of the transgender community in HIV efforts, including inclusion by pharmaceutical companies in their research and treatment efforts.

The plenary concluded with the passing of the torch from the Broward County 2016 USCA Host Committee to the Washington, DC 2017 USCA Host Committee. Members from both committees urged USCA attendees to make a commitment to not just be moved or inspired by what they have heard and experienced during the conference, but to take action to continue to make progress in the fight to end HIV/AIDS.





20th Anniversary of the United States Conference on AIDS



It’s the 20th Anniversary of the United States Conference on AIDS.  This meeting would not happen without the dedicated work of NMAC staff, voluteer host committees, national partners, federal agencies, community-based organizations, donors, actvists and people living with HIV.  I particularly want to thank Vince Rodriquez, Terrence Calhoun, and Tara Barnes-Darby for many years of stewardship of the meeting.

As you get ready to join us this year, NMAC thought you might be interested a little in our meeting’s history.  There is no way to capture this experience in a few words.

Over 60,000 people have attended the USCA.  65% of them are people of color, 55% are women, and 25% are people living with HIV.  USCA is the largest and longest community-based meeting dedicated to the people working on the frontlines of the epidemic in America.

The meeting has always been organized by people of color and the majority of attendees have always been people of color.  In a world that all too often devalues people who are different, it’s important to honor this reality.  It is easy to dismiss a meeting as non-essential, yet for our communities, this conference is more than a meeting, it’s a family reunion.  I think that is why we were able to survive and thrive.  People come to USCA for training, but they stay for the colleagues who become family.

While it’s important to remember our past, USCA is committed to looking to the future.  This year’s closing plenary will focus on biomedical HIV prevention and NMAC’s upcoming National HIV PrEP Summit.  NMAC believes that our future depends on biomedical prevention and a long-term commitment to retain people living with HIV and people at risk for HIV into care and on medication. This is the lynchpin that we hope will build a roadmap to end the epidemic.

The Keynotes

Over the last 20 years there were so many memorable speakers: Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Magic Johnson, Rosie Perez, Laverne Cox, Dr. Tony Fauci, Wendy Williams, Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Robert Gallo, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Kweisi Mfume, Congresswomen Maxine Waters, HHS Secretary Katheen Sebelius, Wendy Williams, David Furnish, Dr. Dorothy Height, Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Luc Montagnier, Christina, Greg Louganis, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Reverend Doctor Joseph Lowery, Mondo Guerra, Jack Mackenroth, Professor Sharon Lewin, and Dr. Paul Volberding to name a few. Just as important, we’ve had community leaders like Julie Scofield, Terri Anderson, Pernessa Seele, William Green, Reggie Williams, Dennis DeLeon, Greg Millett, David Holtgrave, Cecilia Chung, Kathie Hiers, Linda Jackson, Peggy Van Ness, Ron Rowell, Sandy Thurman, Suki Ports, Noel Twilbeck, Miguelina Maldonado, Gene Copello, Benny Primm, Cornelius Baker, David Harvey, Barbara Joseph, Elton Naswood, Peter Staley, Carole Treston, Oscar de la O, Valerie Rochester, Jeff Crowley, Ivy Turbull, Lance Toma, Bambi Salcedo, Dazon Dixon, Marie St. Cyr, Evelyn Ullah, Mario Perez, Rev. Ed Sanders, Ernest Hopkins, Marsha Martin, Kurt Begaye, Beth Scalco, Chuck Henry, Murray Penner, Sharon Day, Kelsey Louie, and way too many others who provided training, facilitation or leadership for the meeting. This is definitely not an exhaustive list and there are so many more people to remember, I just wanted to document some of “the village” that it takes to make a good meeting, a good movement, and a long-term commitment to ending the epidemic in America.


Of all the speakers, Nkosi Johnson was my most memorable.  At the 2000 USCA in Atlanta, then 11 years old Nkosi from South Africa addressed the conference with Cleve Jones. Both were living with AIDS, but unfortunately, Nkosi would pass 6 months after giving this speech.  This young man was courageous and wise beyond his years.  I can still hear his voice as he pleaded with the world to not forget about AIDS in Africa. His story still haunts my memories.


What would USCA be without the Divas who inspired us and helped us to remember.  More than any other singer, Jennifer Hudson brought us to our feet at three (3) conferences and she will join us this year for our tribute to Orlando.  Additionally, we’ve been inspired by Sheryl Lee Ralph, Shakira, Oletta Adams, Mary Wilson, Jennifer Lewis, several Miss America and Harvey Fierstein.  Of course, my favorite was honorary board member Nancy Wilson’s concert at the Palm Springs USCA in honor of NMAC’s 20th Anniversary.

2007 USCA: Nancy Wilson, Palm Springs (click below to view)
We are part of a long and storied movement.  In 2016 we have the opportunity to both learn about the future and remember the past.  Thank you for being part of NMAC’s history and a leader in our movement’s future.
Yours in the struggle