Friday, June 27, 2014

Outbound Friday

It's been another of those weeks of burning the candle at both ends! COP 24/7 has clicked off updates, did live "real time" posting to our Facebook page, checked in with our partners at The READ and done it all from the Southern Health Partners Conference in Atlanta.

Wow, who does this? Why does anyone do this? And why should anyone keep doing this work? Seems like we do here at COP 24/7 and it's done because it vitally important that Arkansas has representation at all policy tables, conferences, webinars, teleconferences and beyond. It is for this reason that I encourage readers to join our Rainbow Circle of Friends which is designed to assist with creating the vital independent funding stream to make sure that fuels our efforts to advocate and staying engaged with the processes that result in decisions by policy makers. If we don't create those streams of fund, then just who do we expect will do it for us?

We'll have more on that later, but just know that it has been our call to use this forum as an open space to "educate, inform and empower" for the past 10 years! Who knew that when this little experiment started that it would be still giving for all this time.

Especially as other's joined me here in cyberspace, but didn't last and have long since vanished from the scene. Thanks to all who have came along on this journey while sharing your encouragement, criticism, observations and or rant to how we may have rumpled your feathers. Through it all, COP 24/7 has stuck it out as we prepare to determine what's next in our forward momentum. Stay locked and loaded to COP 24/7, I've got some special announcements to make. Stay tuned, you will not want to miss out....

COP 24/7 Special

Observing National HIV Testing Day

A statement by Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH
Today, as we recognize National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), it is important to note that nearly 1 in 6 Americans who have HIV do not know they are infected. If you are between the ages of 13-64, or are pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you be tested for HIV at least once as a part of routine healthcare, and more often if you are at high risk for infection.
National HIV Testing Day - June 27Testing is particularly important if you are part of a population that is heavily affected by HIV.

These populations include African Americans, Latinos, and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races – particularly young African American MSM (ages 13-24), who have higher rates of new HIV infection than any other race/ethnicity or gender.

Fortunately, getting an HIV test has become easier thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA requires most new health insurance plans to cover certain preventive services –including HIV testing – without additional costs (e.g., co-pays or deductibles) to you.
If you aren’t sure where to get an HIV test, visit’s HIV Testing Site & Care Services Locator to find a convenient testing location. You can also visit the NHTD website to find information on more than 400 NHTD testing events taking place across the nation.

You can benefit from testing no matter what the results are, because knowing your HIV status puts you in charge of your health.

For more information about NHTD, or to find an HIV testing location near you, please visit You can also follow the conversation on social media with #NHTD. For resources on HIV prevention, please visit Act Against AIDS. For more information on the ACA, please visit

AHPG Supports NMAC Pride Letter

Community Co-Chair C. Mabin of the Arkansas HIV Planning Group, signaled his support to a letter that acknowledges leaders from the HIV/AIDS community appreciates and says thank you to those LBGT leaders who stood up and recommitted to the fight against HIV/AIDS. President Obama host an annual LGBTQ Pride Reception on June 30 in which he highlights challenges and triumphs during his administration. From the groundbreaking National HIV/ AIDS Strategy to the continuum of care initiative, the administration has created a spectrum of access of funding across all levels of the government.

Within all of this work it has also included passing a hate crimes bill in Matthew Shepard’s name. Lifting the HIV entry ban, strengthening the Violence Against Women Act to protect LGBT victims.  The administration told hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid that they have to treat LGBT patients just like everybody else  With the arrival of the Affordable Care Act it will ban insurance companies from denying someone from coverage just for being LGBT. 

Plus the administration put in place new policies that treat transgender Americans with dignity and respect. And because no one should have to hide who they love to serve the country that they love, the administration ended "don't ask, don't tell" once and for all. There is much to be proud about as the society continues to evolve around equality and equity for all. Below is the actual letter that will be circulated next week.  

June 30, 2014

Dear LGBT Community, 

On the occasion of President Obama’s annual LGBT Pride Reception, leaders from the HIV/AIDS community appreciate and say thank you to those LGBT leaders who stood up and recommitted to the fight against HIV/AIDS.  

One year ago, leaders in the LGBT community wrote a Declaration to the community asking them to recommit to the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Over 1000 leaders signed the Declaration and many local, regional and national organizations disseminated it via listserves, newsletters and social media. Since the release of the Declaration, there has been a significant increase in our community’s discussion about the disease.  We’ve seen editorials, newsletter articles, staff trainings, workshops and plenaries at annual meetings, and a host of other activities to raise awareness about HIV within the LGBT community.  

Our work is far from over, but last year was an important step forward and we look forward to working collaboratively to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America.  However, even as we work to stop new HIV infections, there are still over one million Americans living with HIV.  Our fight must continue until we find a cure.

Over the next year, it’s our hope that together we can combat HIV criminalization, fight stigma that keeps many people with HIV living in fear, provide sexual health education for LGBT youth, and ensure access to healthcare for the LGBT community via the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, and remain committed to finding a cure. 

Science and policy have aligned like never before to make it possible to envision an AIDS-free generation. That vision will not be realized without addressing the persistent and disparate impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. Thank you for all that you’ve done and for all that you will do.  

Happy Pride America!

Dont' forget to Save the Date!!!


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