Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Uptick Thursday Edition

SiriusXM OutQ and Greater Than AIDS Empower Gay Community to "SpeakOUT"

Limited-run series of live, call-in shows takes in-depth look at AIDS in Gay America—from the bedroom to the doctor’s office to the community to Capitol Hill

Rakesh Singh
Kaiser Family Foundation
SiriusXM OutQ, the nation's first and only 24/7 LGBT radio channel, and Greater Than AIDS, a national movement to respond to AIDS in America, announced today the launch of SpeakOUT: Real Talk about AIDS in Gay America, a limited-run series of live, call-in shows that will connect listeners across the country with medical experts, people living with HIV and notable members of the LGBT community to have an honest and challenging dialogue about the current state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the gay community as well as the country at large.

The first installment of the series will be co-hosted by SiriusXM OutQ's Larry Flick and Frank Spinelli, MD, Clinical Director of HIV Services at New York City’s Cabrini Medical Center and author of The Advocate Guide to Gay Men's Health and Wellness and air live on Saturday, March 17 from 9:00 – 11:00 am ET on SiriusXM OutQ channel 108. The live, call-in show will focus on "The Politics of Mating," tackling such issues as how to ask a partner to be tested, when your partner will not use condoms and how to disclose your status to a new partner. It will also explore the effects GrindR and other popular social networking sites have on HIV/AIDS among gay men. The panel of guests includes Greater Than AIDS representatives Marteniz Brown and Larry Hammack—gay men who will share their personal experience with HIV/AIDS—and Dr. Mary Ann Chiasson, a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, who is researching the relationship between the Internet and high-risk sexual behavior among gay and bisexual men.

Future SpeakOUT: Real Talk about AIDS in Gay America shows will explore the medical aspects of HIV/AIDS, from the latest advances in research to guidance on how to communicate with doctors and health care providers, as well as the status of various initiatives related to the condition on Capitol Hill.

"Although gay men have been at the center of the epidemic since its beginning—and today are the only risk group for which rates are on the rise—the issue has moved off the radar for many men," said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Communication & Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation, a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. "We are thrilled to be working with SiriusXM OutQ to leverage the power of voice in opening up the conversation about AIDS in America, and encouraging more men to 'SpeakOUT' about this important issue."

According to a 2011 national public opinion survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8 in 10 Americans say they heard little or nothing about HIV/AIDS in the last year and public concern about HIV/AIDS has fallen steadily over the years, including among those most heavily affected. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five (19%) gay and bisexual men in 21 major U.S. cities today are HIV-positive -- and nearly half (44%) of those who are infected don't know it.

For more information, visit

People of Unity Donates
Congrats to local upstart People of Unity on its micro-clothes drive benefiting Big Brothers & Sisters of Arkansas. The group collected slightly worn clothes from participants who wanted to shed items in an effort to downsize their collections.  Big Brothers & Sisters sorts and forwards the clothes to their re-sell store as means of funding their various projects and programs. POU has decided that being of service in the community will be a vital tenant of its structure and vision. Currently the group is still seeking members and allies as it prepares for other community service projects throughout the state. For more information check out the groups Facebook page and this forum for updates.

Celebrating International Women’s Day by Investing in Women and Girls

hands holding red ribbonsCo-authored by Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.
As we observe Women’s History Month throughout March, we celebrate the work pioneered by advocates, policymakers, and practitioners around the world to advance women’s rights. Promoting the rights of women and addressing gender inequities and gender norms are essential steps to reducing HIV risk and increasing access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services — for both women and men.
The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are committed to advancing the rights and health of women and girls around the world. Under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Clinton, the United States has put women and girls front and center in the three pillars of our foreign policy — diplomacy, development, and defense. This is embodied in a number of Presidential and policy directives, such as the interagency Global Health Initiative, which includes a central focus on women, girls and gender equality.

Today, at the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event at the White House, we announced a joint S/GWI and PEPFAR initiative. We will support civil society organizations with small grants to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV), with a link to HIV prevention, treatment or care. Through this partnership, we will provide over $4.6 million in small grants to grassroots organizations in countries with a PEPFAR presence, leveraging our respective platforms in the field and creating links to address the drivers of both violence and HIV.
The White House also released a Presidential Memorandum establishing a working group to explore the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities in the United States — and will include lessons learned from our international work in this area. This is a prime example of our Administration’s commitment to advancing the agenda for women and girls, and to addressing the link between violence and health disparities, here at home.

As we move forward globally, we will continue to focus on several key objectives — including reducing GBV and coercion; engaging men and boys to address norms and behavior; increasing women and girls’ legal protection; increasing women and girls’ access to income and productive resources, including education; and ensuring gender equity in HIV/AIDS programs and services, including access to reproductive health services.
We have made significant investments to address gender as a central focus of our foreign policy and development goals, in close partnership with other U.S. agencies, partner governments, civil society, and the private sector. For example, over the last two years, PEPFAR has invested close to $155 million in responding to GBV. We have also been a big supporter of working to help identify female-controlled prevention methods, investing more than $90 million dollars over the last two years in microbicide research. And, since 2004, we have supplied over 55 million female condoms — making PEPFAR one of the largest procurers of female condoms worldwide. S/GWI has made over $5.5 million in small grants to organizations around the world working on issues from economic empowerment to GBV to political participation and leadership. From mainstreaming gender throughout all programs, to special gender initiatives at the country level, the United States is making a difference in the lives of women and girls.

We are also partners in the Together for Girls initiative — a unique partnership that brings together public, private, United Nations and U.S. agencies to address sexual violence against children, particularly girls. In Tanzania, for example, the first nationally representative survey of violence against children in 2010 found that nearly three in ten females and one in seven males experienced sexual violence prior to the age of 18. Such evidence will be used to inform future programming and guide policy priorities — including in Kenya, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Haiti, with future work planned in additional countries.

We are starting to see results on the ground. In 2011, PEPFAR supported post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection for survivors of sexual violence to over 47,000 people, nearly 34 percent more than the year before.
There is still much work ahead. But the remarkable achievements to date give us hope for the future.

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