Monday, February 25, 2013

Out the Gate Monday

Arkansas HIV Planning Group Collaborates

The Arkansas HIV Planning Group has scaled up its collaboration by composing a Medicaid Expansion sign on letter to be forwarded this week to both Health committee members and legislators. According to Arkansas HIV Task Force Co-Chair and AHPG Membership Committee Chair stated, "it was our opinion that a group we should publicly share our support of Governor Bebee's support of the expansion measure." She continued, " we believe that the expansion will be beneficial to all Arkansans which will provide direct access to health care." The group also plans to follow up its sign-on circulation with phone banking to legislators. Additional hearings will be held at the Capitol concerning the expansion are scheduled for Wednesday Feb. 27 and March 4, 2013.  Co-Chair, C. Mabin, Kari Coffman and A. Dixon also provided testimony concerning House Bill 1185 which will allow therapeutic substitutions for prescribed drugs. The bill received committee "do pass" support and is now scheduled for Senate floor debate. The activist have continued to share their concerns with individual legislature and has offered a advocacy tools via it AHPG Facebook page ( ) The page also has contact information and meeting dates updates.  COP 24/7 urges our readers, allies and supporters to follow this platform for the latest information as well as encourage you to action on these matters.

Southern AIDS Coalition Reaches Out

In a supportive effort to the localized effort around medicaid expansion, The Southern AIDS Coalition's Board Chair, Cathalene Teahan, RN, MSN, crafted a direct letter to Governor Bebee dated February 11, 2013. The coalition comprises a cadre of public health administrators to clinicians whom promotes accessible and high quality systems of HIV and STD prevention, care, treatment, and housing throughout the South through a unique partnership of government, community, people living with HIV disease and business entities. MS. Teahan forwarded to the letter to local activist and advocates to demonstrate the entities desire to advocate for the program expansion. The letter highlights and outlines distinct advantages for the expansion as related to those dealing with HIV and AIDS. She writes:
In Arkansas alone, an estimated 6,000 people are living with HIV. Without adequate insurance these individuals are less likely to have the resources to receive the care and treatment they need to suppress the virus and, subsequently, to prevent the transmission of the virus to others.  Further, they are more likely to die of AIDS. In fact, lack of insurance and other obstacles to treatment and care contribute to rates in Arkansas nearly double the national average and significantly higher than other states in the region. Indicators such as people living with HIV in Arkansas are more likely to receive a concurrent AIDS diagnosis (32%), progress to AIDS within 12 months (46%), or to die within 12 months of a diagnosis (5%) suggest that Arkansans are being diagnosed and entering care in extremely late stages of their illness largely due to barriers in treatment and care.

According to the groups website, former ADH HIV/ Hep C Section Chief Mr. Kevin Dedner, MPH, of Forward Solutions is listed as the Arkansas representative. (pictured) The Southern AIDS Coalition, was formed in 2001 as a membership organization of government representatives, corporations, and community advocates.
This unique partnership is born from the burgeoning numbers of people in the South with infection rates much higher than in the rest of the U.S. population, particularly for newly diagnosed cases. Federal funds do not meet the needs of those living with HIV in the South and are not equally distributed across the country. The HIV/AIDS outbreak is at a state of emergency in the southern United States. The disparate impact of this epidemic on southern citizens, especially within communities of color, must be addressed.

The Southern AIDS Coalition works to provide southerners with the opportunity to receive adequate HIV/AIDS prevention information, treatment, support services, and housing. SAC is a federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit entity. For more information:

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