Thursday, September 01, 2011

COP 24/7: The BackTalk Session

Welcome to the third month of the third Quarter of 2011. Since our bold return to the board earlier this year we've tapped out a boat load of words on numerous topics from the political mash-up in Washington to what's up with Lady Oprah. We've made it our business to look and re-look for not only items that will not only make the cut, but perhaps be "cutting" in their own respective. Nothing has been off limits in this forum and its our goal to continue to bring you the who, when, where and yes, even the "WTF" news from all angles. Stay locked and loaded to COP 24/7, not because we told you, but rather because you should want to stay in the info loop.

Shape Shifting: AIDS in Arkansas

COP 24/7 has continued to report and inform our readers as well as the public alike on the latest HIV/AIDS news, links, updates and breakout data. Such news can be overwhelming therefore we attempt to filter and dissect the information for basic consumption. We are fortunate to be hooked up to a ever-widening network of content providers, news links, "white papers," and briefings. In a Southern AIDS Coalition teleconference today, we were apprised of more interesting and possibly disturbing events dealing with the HIV/AIDS health dilemma. Patrick Packer, CEO of Southern AIDS Coalition led a discussion on the 12 Cities project which comprises of the government utilizing a cross agency collaboration in addressing HIV/AIDS services for the 12 municipalities with the highest number of people living with AIDS in the United States. The program is another piece within the Obama administration's National AIDS Strategy which celebrated its first anniversary this past July. SAC wanted to inform those on the line of the develops of this project and update those apart of their Southern Initiative that their will be funding shifts related to new computations based on those "living" with HIV/AIDS. Some states such as Georgia and Virginia could see increased "top ceiling" funding while states such as Arkansas may see shortfalls. Most glaring in this news is the fact that new CDC regulations denote that certain thresholds must be met despite any funding differences. Even as these stipulations are being put into place, Arkansas has no budgeted line item slated for HIV/AIDS and are you ready for it, "never has." Furthermore, there has been no real campaign mounted to add a line item to the budget. Be it a lack of organized efforts or either lack of "political will," it doesn't matter, the state has decided that this health crisis doesn't get state dollars but rather depends on flat funded Federal dollars. Adding fuel to this fiery mess, is also the absence of comment on anything significantly AIDS related from Governor Beebe, as well as his selected leader Dr. Paul Halverson of the Arkansas Health Department. Also missing in action is the Governor's appointed 19 member HIV Task Force formed by Act 842 of 2007. The mission of the group was to study ways to strengthen  HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment among Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities in the state. For the record, meetings took place around the state, an audacious report was completed, acknowledgements of the later SHARP Report but from there lies the rub. But there has been little to nothing else done or heard from this monthly mysteriously meeting entity. I read their report therefore I can say that with certain fact absolutely nothing has taken place. So what do we have here? Well, it seems that officials are not sounding the alarm that Arkansas has the highest unmet need in the nation. Meanwhile, the statistics speak to the issue as it's determined that 4,769 Arkansans are now "not in care," many of them from the task force's group target. Plus that info coupled with the CDC report that there's been a 48 percent increase with the Black MSM community should surely get some one's attention.  And lastly but not least, all of this comes on the heels of a new HIV-STD Section Chief, Tina Long. who will need some time to get up to speed on the legacy of AIDS in Arkansas. Stay tune my people because I believe that there's going to be much to say about all of this just shortly. Check out for a complete one-stop shop for HIV/AIDS information.

LA Corp Seeks Board Members

If you are interested in the challenging opportunity of charting the course of a local community based organization, then you should consider joining The Living Affected, Inc, Board of Directors. As a board member, its the responsibility of each individual to establish a meeting schedule, review policies and procedures, develop fundraising strategies, oversee the vision of the organization and engaged fiduciary commitments. The Living Affected Corporation is a 501 (c) 3 organization that began in 1990 and was designed to provide HIV prevention, testing, counseling and other supportive services to low income and marginalized communities. LA Corp pursues social justice and equality in sexual and reproductive health literacy via education and advocacy focused capacity building. Send your resume to: or call 1.877.902.7HIV for more information.

Session calls for Strengthening Arkansas
The Southern Men's Alliance for Sexual Health has teamed up LA Corp Inc. and The National Association of Black and White Men Together, Inc to present a empowerment forum, October 15th from 1pm to 3:30 pm at the La Quinta Inn Suites in Downtown Little Rock. The programming was formulated as a platform to discuss a plethora of issues ranging from self perception to determining "what or who is the community." The event will be facilitated by members of SMASH as the newly formed group joins other local community based organizations in the effort to address race, stigma and homophobia both internal and external. Organizers believed that such a multi-cultural, multi-generational "experience" was warranted, in lieu of recent information derived from informal focus groups and social networking sharing. Admission is Free. That event will take place concurrent to Midland Regional/NABWMT meeting also taking place during the weekend which features a Welcome to Little Rock mixer, Friday October 14, 7pm. Suggested donation is $5.00 with a portion donated to The Living Affected Corporation. A complimentary cocktail buffet, libations, music and door prizes will be offered. Donations, in-kind gifts or contributions are welcomed to support this programming. Contact this forum for more information. 

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