Monday, March 18, 2013

Take Me Higher Monday

COP 24/7 Hits Record One Day Visitors

Its taken some time and much trial and error, but the "COP 24/7" train that could is chugging along nicely, thank you. On Saturday, March 16, 2013, the COP 24/7 blog site hit 800 page views for the day which is a all time marker for the site.  At post time, I am still trying to analyze this surge and what item, ad or interest drove the traffic. Currently I access the Google analytical modules that offer an informational snapshot of comings and goings. As I've stated in the past, COP 24/7 has proven to have a what I've termed as a "beacon" style cascade which reverberates not only throughout the far reaches of rural Arkansas but to my surprise a "global" reach as far as the Ukraine in Asia. And I do mean that Asia! Now I'm saying all of this in juxtaposition to the fall 2012 focus group's canvassed by The Latino Commission's capacity building program Healthy Communities Now and co-sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Health.

The sessions were concerning Internet usage in connecting and mobilizing the LGBTQ community in building healthier communities by building a web based virtual platform interfaced by end users. Since the meet up's took place, the entity has assessed their findings, while sharing in a final report some startling internal perceptions and interesting facts about how the Internet is either being used or not used among gay individuals. Although a methodology was instituted in the report, it was noted that the report was intended to be a broad approach in its results.

 What COP 24/7 found most striking in the report was the level of "negativity" that respondents cited about their respective areas ranging from Fayetteville to Forrest City. Many involved used descriptive words of "drama, divided, clickish, tired and ugly," to describe what they "saw" as the LGBTQ community around them. Furthermore, it seems that many participants used social media outlets as a means to avoid being in local bars or venues where gay people congregate or frequent.  Even more glaring to COP 24/7 was the notion that despite the 70's gay movement and subsequent HIV/AIDS health crisis, many felt that both generational issues and the scope of advocacy involvement still presents challenges or barriers for gay Arkansans. And as COP 24/7 poured over the findings, it was apparent that this forum has been "on point" about the lack of agenda continuity, leadership vacuum, cultivating relationships and the ongoing ability to alienate individuals without resolve. Not to steal any thunder from this agency, but COP 24/7 has been pounding the table about these issues and asking the hard questions about it for the past seven years and counting.

 If there's to be a "virtual platform" developed, its seems that COP 24/7 has been at the forefront of such a possible model. There's no doubt that this long running platform could easily be retro fitted to meet the cited criteria set forth in the final report. So, where do we go from here? Or will this be another "much a do about nothing going no where?"  The entire report will shared next month during a two day long capacity building workshop being presented by ACRIA ( AIDS Community Research Initiative of America) and TLC. Stay tuned, we will keep you betcha!

HIV Infection Is Most Concentrated In The South, Where Students Don’t Learn About It In School

The CDC’s most recent HIV Surveillance Report contains the first-ever comprehensive data set allowing researchers to map HIV infections across the entire country. As the agency explains, their new data paints a “complete picture of diagnosed HIV infection in the U.S.,” revealing potential trends in infections across different regions. At least one clear trend emerges among Southern states, where the concentration of HIV infections tend to be higher:

It’s likely no coincidence that many of those same states lack the comprehensive sexual education requirements that would help educate their residents about HIV transmission from an early age. Health classes in Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana aren’t required to provide any kind of medically accurate information about HIV. And in two of those states — Texas and Florida — public schools don’t have to offer any type of sexual health education whatsoever.

In fact, just 20 states across the country mandate both sex education and HIV education, while the rest of country’s youth are growing up with significant gaps in their knowledge about sexual health. That’s especially troubling amid reports that, even though new cases of HIV in the U.S. are beginning to stabilize, young people still continue to put themselves at risk for the virus.

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