Monday, January 07, 2013

COP 24/7: To the Extreme Part 2

ARHPG Co-Chair Speaks
Arkansas HIV Prevention Group Moves Forward
by Cornelius Mabin,Co-Chair

HIV and AIDS hit a milestone in 2012, as this health dilemma hit a 30 year marker that has been filled with triumph's and breakthroughs. Within that spectrum of addressing the crisis there has been an insurmountable body of activities, messaging, campaigns and community assessments that were produced using the latest information while seeking targeted outcomes. As the crisis continued to develop, so did the strategies and approaches that were designed to be inclusive of a wider berth of individuals as allies as well as those living with HIV or AIDS. Consequently, this movement gave birth to a concept of "community planning" that would collaborate with local health officials on the direction of programming and services to be considered for funding throughout the state. The concept was embraced by locals with the hopes of being more engaged with the planning processes to ensure that community assessments reflect the factual needs of end users.

Over a period of time the group known as ARCPG (Arkansas Community Planning Group) has "ebbed and flowed" in a struggle to firmly be apart of the evolution of programming and integrally involved with life changing decision that were being made by officials whom may have been out of touch. Since that time and as the new Co-Chair of the now, Arkansas HIV Planning Group (ARHPG), I believe that despite past shortcomings or short sightedness, the time has come that as a group the order of the day is all about moving forward with clarity and focus.

At the conclusion of 2012, the group had survived amidst a year of changes including a new HIV Section Chief now departed, internal growing pains including a co-chair resignation, marginal direction,  constant delays, and meandering attendance that often kept participants pondering if there would be any viable outcomes. Fortunately, the group was capable of completing as well as submitting a comprehensive plan which has now been accepted as the state Jurisdictional Plan in conjunction with a formal letter of concurrence submitted to the Center for Disease Control. 

It is my goal to work with my Co-Chair, Courtney Hampton in further determining the scope of the work of the group in how the plan is being implemented as well as achieving the following goals:

1. Rotating the meetings to other statewide locales to extend our outreach while educating member prospects, stakeholders, service providers and allies on the impact of the plans. Demonstrating why they should be concern and what they can do to support it.

2. Pursue a course of action in addressing those 4,617 individuals whom are not in a care continuum and seek establishing a workable and trackable plan that will provide a snapshot of issues that may be barriers to care. Within this paradigm we must also address the increasing rate of Black Gay men whom are being disproportionately being infected while facing stigma, discrimination, homophobia, health access and poverty.

3. Scale up our visibility through affirming our brand with our new proposed logo ( see above) while encouraging collaborative campaigns and activities that will support various aspects of the jurisdictional plan as well as tenants of the National AIDS Strategy.

4. Continue to foster training opportunities, advocacy empowerment, information development, organizational transparency, utilization of technology and other resources to maximize the impact of ARHPG.

There's been much work and many before myself, yet as I embrace the mindset that we should be moving toward the "Endgame of HIV and AIDS" I realized that we must understand that this crisis is about all of us. That's me, you and yes you too. ARHPG is open to those who want to join and be apart of the solution to stop infections, educate individuals and link people to care. I need your energy, opinions, strategies and by all means your enthusiasm in this ongoing fight to get Arkansas into the "end game" of HIV and AIDS.

Contract me at for more info on how you can get involved today.

(The ARHPG meets monthly on the second Friday from 10 am to 1 pm. Locales will be announced prior to meeting. It is open to all individuals interested in this health disparity.) 



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