Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Tuesday Catch All and Catch UP

HIV Is Not a Crime Conference Scheduled

A coalition of advocates will hold the first national HIV Is Not a Crime conference June 2 to 5, at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. The meeting will train advocates from across the country living with HIV and allies on how to end the criminalization of people with HIV. The workshops and practical trainings will cover state advocacy, grassroots organizing and activism, as well as the related legal, medical, media and public health issues.
Interesting to this announcement was a recent opportunity for Arkansas's HIV Planning Group Co-Chair, C. Mabin to participate in a strategy session with Iowa HIV Planning Group colleagues who have been central to the issues of HIV criminalization in their state. Mabin was slated to attend a February training in Iowa through a sponsorship of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.(www.nastad.org )
However Mabin was excluded from the session based on nebulous and sketchy circumstances although the Co-Chair has direct expertise on the issue. Mabin has worked directly with area organization Living Affected (www.livingaffected.org ) on its criminalization repeal or reform project since 2012. The group has moved forward with creating an issue position paper, collecting petition signatures and will seek future opportunities to educate policy makers on the issue. Under Arkansas law, Code Ann. 5-14-123. Exposing another person to human immunodeficiency virus is a Class A felony.
ADH agency officials opted to send Ms. T. Vance, Ryan White Program manager as well as Co-Chair Ms. C. Hampton as envoys for the training. Neither has distinctively addressed HIV criminalization as apart of their ADH roles nor has the issue be central to their overall public health focus. As of this posting resources are being sought to sponsor a delegate(s) to this important conference and additional information will be posted on this platform.

The coalition is still in formation, but initial supporters include: AIDS Foundation of Chicago / HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Black AIDS Institute, Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network, Family Planning Council of Iowa, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Global Network of People Living with HIV North America, HIV Justice Network, Housing Works, Lambda Legal, Louisiana AIDS Advocacy Network, My Fabulous Disease, One Iowa, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, National Minority AIDS Council, Positive Iowans Taking Charge, Positive Women’s Network-USA, Sero Project, Sociologist AIDS Network, The Project of Primary Health Care, and U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus.

Registration for the conference is now open. Scholarships to attend are available, but applications must be submitted by April 7. Go to HIVIsNotACrime.com for more information.
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