Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Leap Year Unfolding

The keyboards are always smoking here at COP 24/7 and today's no different. There's so much news, updates and break out stuff coming our way that we have to dodge a few of them. In the meantime, as the in box keeps filling up, I plan to keep pumping it out as Arkansas only daily updating blog for the LGBTQ community and beyond. Now let's get to work...

Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis

Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004. The Institute and its programming arm, See Jane, are at the forefront of changing female portrayals and gender stereotypes in children’s media and entertainment.
The institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate and influence the need for gender balance, reducing stereotyping and creating a wide variety of female characters for entertainment targeting children 11 and under. Davis won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "The Accidental Tourist" in 1988. This lecture is hosted in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

When: Tuesday, February 7, 2012
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. – Lecture

Where: Clinton Presidential Center
Great Hall *Location changed due to large crowd.

*Reserve your seats by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu, or calling 501-683-5239.

Gospel A-Go-Go Again

The Arkansas Department of Health Presents will recognize Black HIV Awareness Day 2012 with a  gospel concert featuring Le Andria Johnson, Tuesday February 7, 7 pm at First Baptist Church S.A. Jones in North Little Rock. She was the winner of 2010 Sunday's Best competition as seen on BET and also was nominated for a Grammy for her debut gospel single. Her journey to stardom is inspirational as cited by her Amazon.com bio which highlighted that as a twice divorce mother pursuing her passion and dream. All of her music is available on the site for download or purchase. 

Now that we've got that out of the way, can we now go on to speculate as to why this type of programming keeps being the centerpiece of AIDS related programming for the Black community? Let's not forget that World AIDS Day spawned a "gospel concert." There's been concerts in Pine Bluff and now comes yet another concert showcase with only feel good outcomes and no real impact on addressing those who are living with the disease. Let me be clear that I'm not hating on spirituality or some good gospel singing. No one likes hearing praises that can shake the heavens but I take exception that it seems that this approach has been tirelessly overused, limited in scope and in the world of "evidence based this or that," can only be measured marginally. Furthermore, why don't we hear more from these houses of worship in the form of monthly educational opportunities, how about Sunday Free Testing led by the minister? Or better yet, why don't some of these congregations share some bucks from the collection plate for local community based organizations. It's been knocked around that church vans should be considered as an answer to the lack of any prudent plan dealing with consumer transportation issues. So welcome to 2012 with another AIDS centric event featuring an artist exclusively chosen by our local health concert promoters. Go forth and be blessed.

BACKTALK:  Community Voices

COP 24/7 is always open to opinions, observations, rants and whatever version of communication that you wish to share you message. If you've got something to say, then let's hear it. And now the floor is open.....

Twice last week, I was challenged as to what was I doing, since I wasn't even a "member" of the Arkansas Community Planning Group (CPG).

This is part of what we do to each other when we require a membership card to get inside.

Interestingly, I got my membership via an unknown person stamping my membership card by passing along HIV.

I certainly don't need to fill out a form to become a member of HIV advocacy and interventions.

As an American, I hold the birth certificate to be a member of that group, I have served my country, and took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Though more than all of that, I am a concerned citizen, that still wonders WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, AND HOW...we Arkansans have to address the issue of 4,617 HIV positive Arkansans living without being IN CARE.

(In Care = not having at least basic HIV labs done within the past 12 month period)... Without labs, doctors can't tell what viral load, and cd4 (T-cell/helper cells) counts are. Hence, they certainly can't prescribe a medication regime to reduce viral load and increase cd4.

Who do we need to address this many Arkansans not in care? The Arkansas Department of Health? Been there done that. Center for Disease Control (CDC)? They have been included in the emails.

What do we have to do to get these Arkansans into CARE? The Arkansas Department of Health knows to a person who these individuals are!

When are those who can do something to get these Arkansans IN CARE, going to take ACTION? We have been highlighting this issue since at least May 2011. To date, I am unaware of any ACTION.

Where do I, and others, truly concerned about having only 37 percent of the identified Arkansans living with HIV in care, have to go to get the over 4,000 Arkansans living with HIV NOT IN CARE...into treatment? Is this something that Governor Beebe, or our US Representatives need to address through Health and Human Services channels?

Why hasn't immediate ACTION been taken to get these Arkansans into care? Is staffing failure an Arkansas Department of Health issue? Is it a failure by the State Legislature to adequately fund health programs in Arkansas? Is this one of those federal mandates that really isn't willing to improve HIV treatment to ensure health and prevention...but they talk about it?

How do individuals "paid" to deal with this virus, continue to seemingly ignore the facts above, and not work to meet...at a minimum, the 85 percent in care standard set in national policy? Additionally, when will someone step forward to ensure they don't cash their checks until efforts are made to correct this health crisis.

Treatment is prevention. Hence, to have this many folks outside of treatment is to ignore this prevention priority.

Who, what, when, where, why, how do I have the right to speak out about this?

I am an HIV positive advocate that believes now is too late to not be providing adequate available treatment to Arkansans so that they don't pass along HIV to others.

Maybe...just maybe...the folks who get paid to deal with HIV...should have their membership challenged?

Best, be safe, have fun, stay healthy and stress-free...God bless

Bob C

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