Onward and upward as March takes flight! It's the last day of month and the whole process starts anew. You know the drill. New month means the bills roll in, living expenses are due, car note and insurance, food, wardrobe, misc. and perhaps there's little left for some fun. Despite the usual, this forum continues to march on with what's really going on in Central City, statewide and in the Mid-South. Are you ready, then let's roll with it...
Funding HIV/ AIDS: I know that there are many "official" organizations and groups that are HIV/AIDS oriented, but I often ponder just how well informed the average person is about this crisis and it's inner workings. As a former AAF board member I never felt that end users or stakeholders were not totally in the information loop. I realize that there are everyday issues and complexities involved which could trump some more intense fact gathering. However, I was slightly caught by surprise when I read some of the final report discoveries offered from the Arkansas HIV/AIDS Task Force submitted to Gov. Bebee. I don't know about you, but it sounded like a scratched record, replaying the same phrase over and over. I thought to my self, it took 19 people about 12 months to come to these conclusions:
"In the report, task force members said the money is needed to create counselingExcuse me, but doesn't this sound like same script, different cast? Well as usual, I got a few questions and so should you as a taxpayer. Are you trying to tell me that from that series of meetings held statewide and to my understanding not exactly SRO (standing room only)basically revealed that "counseling services and additional testing site were needed?" Has testing not been a focus of those statewide Consortiacare outfits, other clinics or those AIDS this or that mash ups promoted througout the year? Can one not get a counseling reference from a Consortiacare case worker? Hey committee members, what happened to all that fancy two (2) person office equipment, computers, and God knows what when Positive Voices imploded a few years back? As far as awareness campaigns, certainly I'm all for getting messages out to the public, but to be honest this forum did many post about such campaigns but came to conclusion that many folks had no clue or showed no interest after being polled. Case in fact, how many people remember that Billboard campaign or saw any of those Youtube spots? O.K. Task Force members you've accessed the situation yet again and sounds like to me, I've heard this report before, this time it's just going be more pricier. What do you say Mr. & Mrs. Taxpayer? I'm all ears and then some...the floor is open.
services and 15 HIV testing sites in black, Hispanic and other high-risk
communities around the state. The report proposed an annual budget of $150,000
to hire two staff members to manage the services and to pay for overhead costs,
such as office space, supplies and travel reimbursement. The task force said the
testing and counseling sites would cost $975,000 annually. They also budgeted
$225,000 annually for an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign."