Thursday, October 13, 2011

An Autum Speaking Volumes

Its a new day and new posting from COP 24/7 with our unique take on the world around us and close to us. If you are not talking about us, then you should because we continue to bring you not only the news that you can use, but news that you will not see anywhere else. It's nothing but net, from COP 24/7!

AIDS in Arkansas

For many the subject of HIV/AIDS in Arkansas has become a topic that has become apart of their "rear view mirror" attitude concerning this health dilemma. However if you think that all is well and someone else is taking care of matters then you are seriously mistaken. Health activist and advocates continue to struggle with issues such as transportation, medication interruptions, ebbing and flowing policies, management changes and thresholds of educating law makers on the what's now in existence as well as what's now needed in the HIV/AIDS fight. Last week COP 24/7 reported that The Living Affected Corporation CEO, D. Levi addressed the Arkansas Black Caucus urging the body to become more engaged with sexual health issues in Arkansas while supporting a budget line item of $2.8 Million dollars for prevention. Although the group was presented with eye opening statistics some still mused on such items as "personal choices, family values and lack empowerment among those sexually active" as concerns that should be assessed. Levi agreed that each are up for consideration, but that the problem at hand must be fully embraced in order to save both additional lives and money. This scenario is one of many challenging barriers that persist as those who work on behalf of the HIV/AIDS community endure while pursuing better services, funding sources and access to medical care. It is vital that administrators, policy makers and movers and shakers become more vigilant as well as vocal concerning this issue. However, its also paramount that those living infected or affected join that chorus to maximize the message that nothing about HIV/AIDS is over and COP 24/7 is pledged to continue to spotlighting the plight of  AIDS in Arkansas.   

Chicago Center Awarded 1.67 Million for HIV

Chicago-(ENEWSPF)- Center on Halsted’s HIV testing and prevention services were awarded more than $1.6 million this week from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand its services for young African American and Latino gay and bisexual men. The award is part of the CDC’s five-year, $55 million effort to reach communities that face particularly high and increasing risk of HIV infection.
“HIV and AIDS is still a life-threatening epidemic – especially in the African American and Latino communities which are facing increasing rates of infection,” said Modesto Tico Valle, Center on Halsted CEO. “Thanks to this grant, we can empower members of our community most adversely affected by HIV and AIDS.” Little Rock could be so lucky to be able to approach putting together such an entity when it seems that local CBO's and ASO's can't even get dedicated board members or committed volunteers. Endeavors such as this will not be possible if local stakeholders and possible power brokers can't find common ground to make it happen. All COP 24/7 can really say is read this and keep wishing and hoping that someday their will be a breakthrough.
The award is for $1,665,590 and will be spread out over the next five years, with the Center receiving 590 $332,733 each year. The new grant will allow the Center to expand its outreach, education and testing services specific for young African American and Latino Men who have sex with men (MSM) between the ages of 13 and 29.
Specifically, Center on Halsted will launch the Mpowerment Project, a nationally-recognized HIV prevention program that mobilizes young gay and bisexual men to shape a healthy community for themselves, build positive social connections and support their friends to have safer sex. The project has been proven to reduce the rates of unprotected sex thus lowering the rate of HIV infection. Through the grant the Center will be able to engage 1,400 individuals over the next five years in the project.
As part of this project, Center on Halsted will partner with three local organizations: Chicago House Social Services Agency, which provides housing and supportive services for HIV-affected and at-risk individuals and families; Affinity Community Services, which is a social justice organization that works with and on behalf of Black LGBTQ communities; and the Chicago Gay Black Men’s Caucus, which works to reduce new HIV infections and bridge gaps across the Black MSM community via outreach, programs and more.
“This work cannot be done alone and we’re proud to partner with three organizations that are so committed to the community,” Valle added. The organizations will work together to both identify and engage individuals and also provide the expanded services.
“United we can help reach and empower more individuals, which will in turn save lives,” said Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House.
“This partnership will help us make real, significant progress against the growing challenges around HIV and AIDS within communities of color and help reduce the stigma associated with the infection,” said Kim Hunt, Executive Director of Affinity Community Services.
“We’re grateful to the CDC for recognizing the need to aggressively engage Black MSM into HIV prevention services, and standing with community-based organizations to make a difference,” said Keith Green of the Chicago Gay Black Men’s Caucus. "CBGMC is excited to partner with Center on Halsted on this effort."
Awards were given to 34 community organizations around the nation, including CALOR, which provides HIV/AIDS services to Chicago’s Latino community and is headquartered in Humboldt Park.
According to CDC estimates, the annual number of new HIV infections increased 48 percent among young black MSM between 2006 and 2009. Among Latinos, men who have sex with men are by far the most severely impacted, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all new infections. Nearly half of these infections among Latino MSM occurred in the youngest age group (aged 13-29). Transgender people are also severely affected by HIV. It is estimated that 28 percent of transgender people are HIV-infected.
Nationwide, gay and bisexual men (of all races) account for more than 60% of all new HIV infections. Center on Halsted currently provides comprehensive HIV/AIDS services for the entire community including rapid testing, counseling services and educational programs. In addition, the Center is home to the State of Illinois’ AIDS/HIV & STD Hot line, a free and anonymous service to provide callers with the most current and medically-accurate information about HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. The hot line receives more than 14,000 calls a year. Services are available in both English and Spanish.

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