Monday, April 28, 2014

COP 24/7 takes it Out on the Road

AIDS Watch 2014: Ending AIDS in America?

Through a partnership of Treatment Access Expansion Project, AIDS United and the US People Living with HIV Caucus, AIDS Watch 2014 drew it largest contingency  of HIV-positive advocates and their allies to Washington DC ( April 28-29) to educate Members of Congress and their staff about HIV/AIDS.

All participants were provided with training on current science, legislative agendas, and conducting effective meetings with their elected representation. 

Arkansas was represented by the delegation of Bob Coffey, Tommie Lockett, K. Farmer, and C. Mabin who journeyed to the city to engage in a Capitol Hill Lobbying effort of the Arkansas congressional representatives.

Opening the event was Executive Director, Michael Kaplan whom called the roll of states in attendance as well as citied his enthusiasm to the response from as far away as Puerto Rico. He spoke to learning of his diagnosis and feeling alone. Yet as he looked out at the capacity crowd, he felt a sense of family and home. Mr. Doug Brook, MSW, Director, of the Office of National
AIDS Policy  rose to the podium after a standing ovation from attendees. He said " I love you and I am overwhelmed at the reception."

As a recent appointment of the Obama Administration and first openly positive individual to serve in the post, Brooks offered "greetings and salutations from President of the United States," which got a rousing round of applause. In his remarks he emphasized that throughout the Obama Administration, he has gotten a sense that the issues of HIV and AIDS are on the radar. He encourage attendees to be "bold and focused in addressing the needs of those living with HIV and AIDS." It was his hope that during the remainder of the administration that as much could be accomplished. Brooks will also host a listen session during the meeting in which he announced will be among the first of his impending southern listening tour.
The two day event also launched agenda items such as HIV  criminalization, housing, Budget appropriations, Syringe exchange mandates and Ryan White funding juxtaposed to the Affordable Care Act. Watch COP 24/7  and online platform partners to updates and live coverage.

COP 24/7 Quick Thought?

Alcohol and drugs can impair your judgement and affect your ability to make safe choices, putting you at grater risk for HIV.
Learn about how drug use and HIV are related, the HIV risks of different types of drugs, reducing your risk of HIV infection if you use drugs, and the importance of HIV testing for people who use drugs. Need for information check out the Arkansas HIV Planning Group page on Facebook! Do it today at www.facebookcom/arkansasplanninggroup

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