Sunday, August 12, 2007

Back to the Hustle and Flow...Take 3

We're having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave...O.K. it's not exactly tropical, but it sure is damn hot. Hot you say? Well as a native Arkansan, this is nothing new to me or should be to most who have lived here for most of their lives. The mercury rising to that almost "fire and brimstone," stage is an all to familiar reminder that the elements can have their way with the lowly humankind in any way it deems. Therefore, as everyone try's to stay cool, things are just fine in the heat of this forum. As I've always stated if you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen!!

AIDS/ HIV Implants: In a few post back, I highlighted a story about the U. S. Department of Defense's wacky, but real plans to create a "gay bomb," for it's deterent arsenal. As a refresher for memory sake, this weapon was being devised in a Ohio lab which would spread "gay hormonal chemicals" that would cause enemy combatants to become "same gender loving drones" who would rather make out with other than fight the good fight. Good grief and a Lord have mercy on that madnesss. However, it seems that the U.S. is not alone in the Big Brother of werid science. Enter the AIDS/ HIV Microchip from the governement of Indonesia. No ladies and gentlemen, this is no reality exploits from the boob tube, it's an actual concept that someone thought might be used as a "prevention method."

Lawmakers in Indonesia’s Papua are mulling the selective use of chip implants in HIV carriers to monitor their behaviour in a bid to keep them from infecting others, a doctor said Tuesday. John Manangsang, a doctor who is helping to prepare a new healthcare regulation bill for Papua’s provincial parliament, said that unusual measures were needed to combat the virus.“We in the government in Papua have to think hard on ways to provide protection to people from the spread of the disease,” Manangsang told AFP.“Some of the infected people experience a change of behaviour and can turn more aggressive and would not think twice of infecting others,” he alleged, saying lawmakers were considering various sanctions for these people.“Among one of the means being considered is the monitoring of those infected people who can pose a danger to others,” Manangsang said.“The use of chip implants is one of the ways to do so, but only for those few who turn aggressive and clearly continue to disregard what they know about the disease and spread the virus to others,” he said. A decision was still a long way off, he added. The head of the Papua chapter of the National AIDS Commission, Constant Karma, reportedly slammed the proposal as a violation of human rights.“People with HIV/AIDS are not like sharks under observation so that they have to be implanted with microchips to monitor their movements,” he told the Jakarta Post on Tuesday.“Any form of identification of people with HIV/AIDS violates human rights.”According to data from Papua’s health office cited by the Post, the province has just over 3,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. Some 356 deaths have been reported. Papua has a population of about 2.5 million.

Help Wanted: Sources state the the "help wanted" mat is out at the Arkansas AIDS Foundation as they search for an Executive Director and case management staff. The beleagured organization has had a variety of personnel changes including the departure of former long term ED, Larry Dearmon. Subsequently, C. Munir now Diversity Coordinator with the Peabody Hotel moved on and earlier this year Board President Dr. Dean Blevins announced his step aside to Nakia Williams former AAF public relations chair,now serving as current Board President. As I understand, despite swirling scuttlebutt and sketchy information, services are being provided to clients plus testing is available during office hours. In a previous post we had some good natured suggestions for their website as well as dealing with rumor control, but to date no one has replied. I suspect that there will be more news or "shoes dropping" shortly. Stay tuned....

A Funding we go: With yet another fiscal year looming and organizations scrambling for funding sources, apparently Future Builders and JCCSI's MSM project, Many Men, Many Voices will be funded. The two local CBO's, that's government speak for Community Based Organizations, will continue their efforts to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS dilemma in the black community and beyond. But with all these good intentions, I'm still perplexed at the effectiveness of these programs, the message models that they promote and accountability factors. It's no secret that community NPO's have been plagued with a host of inconsistencies, possible transparency issues, stealth agendas, leadership vacuums and past investigations. And now there are other players coming to the forefront in the guise of the Arkansas HIV/ AIDS Minority Task Force, courtesy of this year's Legislative session introduced by Rep. Willie Hardy and co-sponsored Senator Tracy Steele. According to the HAM Task Force Act of 2007 the apponted group's goals are to "assess" and "address" the situation statewide, then report to Gov. Beebe. Meanwhile, these as yet unnamed civic minded volunteers will get adminstrative support from that other 1991 Legislated group the Minority Health Commission via it's new Executive Director, Wynonna Bryant Williams, Phd. My research shows that the mission of MHC was to "obtain any information relating to health issues on minorites from any state agency or hospital." On it's website the mission statement is presented thusly:

The Mission of The Arkansas Minority Health Commission is to assure all minority Arkansans access to health care that is equal to the care provided to other citizens of the state and to seek ways to provide education, address, treat, and prevent diseases and conditions that are prevalent among minority populations.

The site also touts MHC goals as:

The goal of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission is to bridge the gap in the health status of the minority population and that of the majority population.
To achieve this goal, the commission focuses on educating minorities on healthier lifestyles, awareness of services and accessibility within our current health care system, make recommendations to the state government, and addressing any disparities existing because of prejudice.

Sounds to me that we need less assessing or addressing, but rather more actual "Action" from any of these entities with aggressive prevention messages, dynamic campaigns and formidable leadership as HIV/ AIDS continues to impact all communities of color and the uninsured. Will one more task force charged with crafting a lengthy report really make a difference or strike a chord of Deja vu familiarity? Dear reader we urge you to draw your own conclusions about the situation and invite you to share your thoughts or feedback with us.

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