Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fast Trending Tuesday

I'm just never surprised to what falls in the inbox, crosses my path, drifts in my ear shot and certainly info that raises my eyebrows. In the past seven years of pounding on at least three separate keyboard, the amount of info, links, updates, corrections and mash-up's that I've produced has startled myself. Not to mention when I check my Google stats, I'm even more overwhelmed to a series of factoids such as we average at least 400 page views a day culminating in 46, 189 overall page views since our beginning. Besides Explorer, COP 24/7 gets accessed by Firefox, Chrome and Opera but the stats show that many of you have yet to discover us on mobile platforms. Just in case you didn't know, you can stay in the COP 24/7 loop on both I-Phone or Android which is formatted to give you headlines then expands into other content. And last but not least, COP 24/7 seems to be getting the attention of folks in Poland this year versus Viva La France last year. Talk about going global. Now with all that said, sounds like COP 24/7 is meeting and doing it best to exceed on all levels. After all, we are the longest running web platform designed with the LGBTQ community and beyond in mind. Now lets rock some news shall we...

Editors Note: The following item was circulated last week to the surprise of many in the HIV/AIDS field. This notice comes on the heels that AIDS United shut down its Regional Field Organizing effort due to a lack of future supportive funding amidst other staff trimming during 2012. These two announcements are just the latest of AIDS service organizations that are disappearing or severely hampered in their activities. Primarily these group's demise is due lack of community support, strained funding streams, competitive grant seeking, developing viable and sustainable resources and retaining qualified staff continuing to endure unacceptable wage levels. This is taking place among entities from coast to coast with crushing debt ratios that far exceed assets. Locally the situation has ebbed and flowed within the same circumstances. Each struggling entity attempting to keep its programs available and its community commitment can not  continue addressing this health crisis amidst funding shortfalls, access to capital, well connected board members, and more infusions of revenues. Let's be clear, if something doesn't come through for them, then most likely they won't be there when you most need them the most. Think about it...then do something about it.

COP 24/7 Special

NAPWA Announces Suspension of

Operations and Bankruptcy Filing

The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) - the largest, oldest, and most trusted voice for the 1.2 million People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the U.S. - has ceased operations and has filed a petition in United States Bankruptcy Court to discharge its debts in bankruptcy and liquidate.

NAPWA was founded in 1983 to implement the Denver Principles, in which those living with the still-new disease syndrome claimed the right to be called 'People with AIDS,' not 'AIDS victims,' and to be at the table to speak for themselves when medical and policy decisions were being made. Thirty years later, that is recognized as best practice in medical and policy settings and will continue to be so for as long as HIV is still with us.

NAPWA pioneered wonderful programs for people living with HIV and AIDS, and it has faith that such programs will be continued by other AIDS service and community-based organizations. Those programs included AIDSWatch, the annual event in which hundreds of PLWHA from across the country come to Washington, D.C., to meet HIV policy experts, learn how latest science and policy developments connect with their lives on the ground, and go to Capitol Hill to tell their elected representatives what they need and why it is fiscally more responsible to serve than not to serve them. AIDS Watch will continue under the leadership of our colleagues at the Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP) and AIDS United as they continue to recognize the critical importance for ongoing positive leadership.

The annual Staying Alive conference, recently rebranded the National Healthy Living Summit, was also founded by NAPWA for so many of those who now live for years and decades with undetectable viral load and good health. The conferences met participants where they were, with skills-building institutes for HIV-positive women, young people, and African American men. This work will also continue in other hands.

In 1998 NAPWA founded National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), the country's first national HIV awareness day, and supported The Mayors Campaign Against HIV to extend its reach. Thirteen years later, NAPWA recognized that many ethnic and other special groups had followed suit by founding their own awareness days, but there was still no day for men who have sex with men − America's only major HIV population in which the number of new infections is still rising − so it responded by founding National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). NHTD and NGMHAAD will flourish.

Through a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NAPWA founded SABER, an HIV advocacy and network building program for Hispanics and Latinos − one of America's fastest growing populations, one of its most medically under-served, and, in immigration-hostile states, one of its most excluded. With the support of the Washington, D.C. EMA Ryan White Planning Council, it created the Bayard Rustin Project, an HIV-positive peer-led outreach program for African American MSM in the heart of Washington, D.C., one of America's highest HIV-incidence urban centers. Also with the support of the EMA, NAPWA pioneered best practices in medical and support system navigation and practical interventions to help those not in care find care and sustain themselves in care. This initiative, too, first as the Consumer Advocacy Project and later as HealthConnect, was led and staffed by PLWHA drawn from the communities they served. These service models helped PLWHA in special populations take charge of meeting their own needs, and we are grateful that others will continue their work.

Today, with appropriate ongoing access to care and treatment, our communities have arrived in a new era of the domestic epidemic where HIV/AIDS is a manageable long-term chronic disease- for most, not all. It's a pivotal moment in the epidemic where science underscores our ability to end the HIV epidemic, yet moving forward there is still much work to be done. People living with HIV still need a place at the policy table. Our communities need continued education. Americans living with the virus still need help finding information and navigating services. The spirit of NAPWA will live on in the lives of many to make those things happen.

NAPWA is grateful for the collaboration of other HIV advocacy organizations with national reach to maintain a consistent and constructive policy voice on Capitol Hill. Stigma, legal discrimination, poverty, and unequal access to health care remain not just health issues, but also issues of social justice and our equal rights as humans. NAPWA takes tremendous pride in having served the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV today over the last three decades.

Leaving the stage is bittersweet: bitter, because NAPWA so wanted to be here to see the end of the HIV epidemic; but sweet, because the end of HIV and AIDS is coming. With wider testing and treatment, the HIV epidemic could end today − but there are social and political barriers to getting the job done. In not too many years, there will be a cure and a vaccine, and it will be possible to campaign for the world-wide eradication of HIV.

When that day comes, one thing NAPWA always stood for should not be forgotten. HIV is only a virus. The HIV epidemic happened because of racial and gender inequality, discrimination against sexual minorities, increasing inequality in this country in economic and educational opportunity, and demagogic and divisive us-vs.-them politics that justify denying services to populations who deserve services and can more than repay them in increased economic and social productivity.

No comments: