You were saying?: This forum has always been about taking a stance, speaking to power and getting off your duff to be proactive. Let's face it people, we have no time for excuses. In the past few weeks, I've been sought after for local Board of Directors post, volunteer for this or that, donations, can you attend this function or why didn't you attend that function, not to mention will you consider participating in Cause A-Go-Go. Oh boy, I began to wonder if I was somewhat popular, seen as an expert, easy to work with or in some unsuspecting way being tapped because of the lack of committed individuals needed to full fill these seats. It's all the above and more. The driving force behind community organizing is not only funding streams but most importantly, it's viola, PEOPLE. Yes my dear readers, it takes you, me, them, us and the entire community to answer the call of activism. There's no, "I thought some one else was taking care of it," mindset to waste on current issues ranging from health care to human rights issues. Even if you don't think you can make a difference, you should shortchange yourself on your impact. I appreciate all the local entities that seek my advice or desire my assistance, but I'm asking that this outreach goes beyond myself. I'm encouraging all who read this forum and beyond to find within yourselves some type of committed contribution. Got no idea? Here's a few: You could show some pride with a donation via the ChipIn icon on this site, join the HRC No Excuses campaign, send this forum a letter of support, offer your technical assistance to Brotha's & Sista's, join the ADH Consumer Advocacy Board or look into the newly established PFLAG group. By golly, do something, anything and do it right away to make your voice known. Do It TODAY!
HIV/ AIDS Arkansas:
Lessons Still Being Learned
"Even as we've made some progress, dollars expended and staff changes, there are vital areas in this fight that we must now face..." Kevin Dedner, HIV/AIDS Section Chief, Arkansas Health Department
It was this broad statement that set the tone for the remainder of my conversation with ADH's Kevin Dedner, HIV/AIDS section chief. At this moment, I realized that our meeting would have that "keep it real" feel that I often muse about in this forum. Often, we have a tendency to believe that all is well, folks are getting access, treatment is abundant, messages are being adhered too, but the practicality of outcomes is not as rosy as one would think. Dedner, was quite frank at his disappointment at the lack of a working infrastructure in the LGBTQ community. "I've seen other metro areas that have serious organizations working in numerous ways. Either from lobbying their legislature to calling their Representatives. Unfortunately, at this time I have not seen this type of local effort. It's truly necessary as this would assist our efforts as we do future assessment." I have to agree with Dedner. This type of formal structure has been long overdue and despite past capacity building, nothing has become firmly rooted to reach any maximum affect. As we continued to speak, I also learned that Congress has implemented punitive clauses on those states that unable to adequate dispense it funding allocation based on those pesky federal regulations. Thusly, Arkansas will face a possible funding reduction/ short fall come the next cycle from 7.9 Million to 7.4 Million. Furthermore, it appears that as this short fall comes into play, also a severe review of the ADAP program will take place within the next few months. "We have no plans on removing and actual AIDS medicines from the formulary, but there are other drugs that will possibly be removed." Consequently, the program per Mr. Dedner, will also undergo some changes that will result in the aggressive use of PAP's (Pharmacy Assistance Programs) as well as no new client additions. "We are readily prepping for these possible changes, with all consumers being informed prior to implementation and supported thereafter," said Dedner. At this point I shared with Kevin that I hoped that however the methods are implemented that the ADH would be sensitive and forward thinking as it proceeds to these cost containment measures. He assured me that ADH wouldn't interrupt regimens or disrupt treatment schedules. He concluded, "it's vitally important that not only end users express themselves to us, but also that we find as many possible outlets to assure greater outcomes." I couldn't agree more.
Have you shown some pride with your ChipIn donation Well, have you?
Do it TODAY and start the ball rolling for PRIDE 2010!!!!