Thursday, December 01, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011: Looking to Zero

Since its inception I have been committed using this this forum to continue the clarion call concerning issues embroiled in HIV and AIDS as a national health dilemma. With three decades now elapsed, I believe the struggle, challenges and vision of a world with zero new infections, needs more momentum than ever. After an age of arrogrance during the Reagan administration, America has boldly stepped forward as a global leader through the Clinton administration push in regards to funding levels, President George Bush's policies to further raise the bar in dealing with this pandemic and the groundbreaking National AIDS Strategy of the Obama Administration including his unilateral linkage of many federal agencies from HUD to HHS have been instrumental in dealing with individuals holistically. And today, President Obama has issued a bold goal to get 6 million affected into care complimented with a supportive realignment of $50 Million dollars. AIDS is not over and the responsibility of keeping the message front and center to policy makers is vital to all those who are either living infected or affected by this disease. Especially within the African American community with infection rates highest among Black MSM and complex spikes among Black women. This forum will be relentless in standing shoulder to shoulder with area agencies, consumers, advocates and activist who will use all methods and measures to impede further infections. Meanwhile demanding sustainable resources that will propel the stance that prevention is a source of treatment. COP 24/7 endorses the statement of urgency set forth by The Living Affected Corporation which outlines the plight of this health crisis in Arkansas. Please join this forum in sharing our vigor and passion in eradicating this disease by informing your lawmaker that, "ignorance and inaction is not acceptable nor will it be tolerated". Get Tested, Get Educated, Get Empowered!



The Living Affected Corporation, on behalf of consumers, advocates and activist responsible for crusading for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted disease (STD) programs are gravely concerned about the stronghold HIV and STD infections continue to have on Black gay men in Arkansas. While other at-risk populations have seen declining numbers of new HIV infections over time, new cases among gay Black men continue to rise and this population also bears a disproportionate burden of syphilis. Despite decades of progress nationally, we acknowledge that Arkansas’s efforts are not currently sufficient to arrest new infections among these men. Thus we are seeing sustained and often increasing HIV and syphilis transmission among our sons, brothers, fathers, uncles and friends. This health crisis requires an honest and critical examination of our prior efforts and a reinvigorated focus so that we can prevent new infections among Black gay men and men of all races once and for all.

The silence that ushered in the beginning of the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980’s has again gripped our nation and unfortunately in Arkansas we find that most offer more than sympathy for a crisis that continues to claim thousands of gay men’s lives each year. In Arkansas we have now surpassed 2,440 who have lost the battle with this disease. The acute and sustained effects of oppression, stigma and homophobia negate any progress that is being made toward equality, and we have determined that Black gay men in Arkansas experience rejection and discrimination at personal and institutional levels. Even though barriers exist and challenges persist, we are committed to examining existing programs and the allocation of resources targeting Black gay men in this state. In addition, further investment in federal funding for prevention programs is paramount as we embrace the premise that the “dollars should follow the epidemic,” logic. With support from our cadre of allies, supporters and partners we will continue to advocate for developing new and innovative programming while seeking to adopt sound and holistic policies that will impact the lives of Black gay men in Arkansas. It’s our pledge as a collective to realize that progress toward change will take time but our dedication to address this health crisis among Black gay men is renewed and unyielding.

The time is now for you to join The Living Affected Corporation in the fight to educate and advocate for marginalized communities. Your donation can help this organization to promote holistic, positve sexual and reproductive health for all. Our mission as a 501c3 organization is to provide prevention messages and methods to dismantle social and economic barriers while demanding a comprehensive system of HIV care in Arkansas. Our secure portal is ready for your contribution at  Can we count on you today. call us at 1.877.902.7HIV or send your support to The Living Corporation, P.O. Box 46558, Little Rock, AR 72214-6558

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