Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday Take Out

AHPG Announces December Meet UP
Courtney Hampton representing the Arkansas Department of Health and Cornelius Mabin, Community Co-Chair of Arkansas HIV Planning Group have announced to its partner members and community at large of its final 2013 meeting December 13, 2012 in the ADH Auditorium 4815 West Markham Street in Little Rock, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Call for more information at 661-2942.
The Arkansas HIV Planning Group (AHPG) is a collaborative entity and partners such as Arkansas Department of Corrections, Planned Parenthood, Better Community Developers,  with the Arkansas Department of Health's HIV/TB/ Hep C Section is charged with the mission to decrease the number of Arkansans who become infected with HIV. To these means, AHPG moved forward with a planning process to address challenges, barriers and social determinants that impact those living with HIV and AIDS.
The primary purpose  of the AHPG is to collaborate and participate in the development of a comprehensive plan for the prevention of HIV transmission utilizing the tenants of the National HIV AIDS Strategy and guidance from the Center for Disease Control resulting in high impact programming across the state.
Membership to the group only requires a minimum of applying with the membership chair and is open to all interested individuals or organizations. Those living with HIV/AIDS are highly encourage to attend and participate. 
As a collective body, AHPG will identify precedence in HIV prevention needs based on priority targeted populations. Such populations should be approached through "high impact" prevention modes that ensure that HIV prevention resources are directed to these priority targeted populations culminating in efficient and focused outcomes.
 AHPG encourages reduce reporting documentation, streamlining communications, coordination and implementation of needed services including mental health and substance abuse, across the continuum of HIV prevention, care and treatment services.
A concurrence of the states Jurisdictional Plan was decided by the voting body on August 9, 2013, during a update retreat in the auditorium of the Arkansas Department of Health. The vote was unanimous. The document was created and signed by the Co-Chair's at the direction of the voting body to acknowledge that the plan will commence in 2012 through 2015.
COP 24/7 Guest Column
Voices Carry from World AIDS Day 2013
I always want to share as well as applaud those who share their insights and observations around the
fight of HIV and AIDS or other health maladies. One such voice is from Mr. Kevin Dedner that I culled from a recent Facebook post on World AIDS Day 2013.
Most interesting is the fact that Mr. Dedner is a former State AIDS Director in Arkansas to which I respected and admired for his vision in working issues involved with this health dilemma. In that challenging position Mr. Dedner wasn't always in favor with those whom took a stance that his efforts were insufficient or perhaps didn't meet expectations.
Yet as I got to know him, I sensed that his intentions were heartfelt then and again was exalted as I read his posting to which more heterosexual Black men would engage in ramping up the community dialog around this issue. As I am always seeking interesting content for this page, I felt compelled to share his thoughts and insights on this day of reflection. Ladies and Gentlemen, this item has not been edited and is the expressed opinion of the writer.

Since it’s World AIDS Day, let me share a few thoughts. I have often said that my time as a State AIDS Director was the hardest job I have ever had. That’s still the case. I consider HIV/AIDS the quintessential public health challenge. Even with the advent of modern science, we are not close to ending the epidemic particularly within communities of color. Here’s what I think needs to happen to end the epidemic.
 1. Communities of Faith need to step up! - Many churches are involved in HIV/AIDS testing as a ministry. But, most fail to deal with the theological complexity of their doctrines associated with homosexuality. This drives stigma and I believe is the root of ALL stigma especially within the African American community. Last time I checked, none of us hold the keys to Heaven or Hell and therefore have no right to grant access to either.
 2. Heterosexual Black Men need to own this as a community issue- When I worked in HIV/AIDS, I was often asked about my “partner” or how long I had been out. It was always surprising to people when they learned I was a heterosexual black man and that I could treat homosexual men with dignity and respect. Heterosexual black men have to be part of the solution within our communities. We can help turn the tide on stigma and save our communities from this awful epidemic
 3. Access to Care is still vital- I can’t stress the importance of access to care. But, here’s what I know, even when care is available… many choose not to access care. As a State AIDS Director, I struggled with a 70% unmet need. That single number kept me up at night. For those of you not in HIV/AIDS, unmet need means those who are not in care. We had these numbers even when we were accepting new clients. This leads back to stigma.
My list is not comprehensive but suffice it to say that I think Stigma is driving the epidemic. In public health we are taught to go back upstream. Albeit very complex, the path leads back to stigma associated with poverty, racism, discrimination, lack of housing, etc.
ACA Pops this Wednesday at The New 610 Center lounge from 6-8pm featuring licensed In Person Assiters to answer your questions on the enrollment process. Come out to 610 Center to make sure you understand your responsibility in getting affordable health care!

Did your know that their is a Affordable Care Act LGBTQ Info line in Arkansas? Well there is! If you need more information or enrollment assistance call 501.349-7777 or contact this site.

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