Monday, June 16, 2014

Road Warrior on the Move Part 1

Here we go again! It's on the road to engage, network and seek education opportunities for my personal enrichment as well as retrieving the information to share with as many as possible. And I'm not alone in this activity as the post will note. Those activist and concerned citizens who make these junkets are the "boots on the ground" folks who make their way to conferences, workshops, seminars, and or a variety of teleconferences, webinars and strategy sessions.

Its this type of making the connection that is required to make sure that Arkansas interest and concerns at least get a chance to be a part of a greater conversation or policy making decision.

However, often time there are not resources available to offer delegates which are desperately needed to attend such outings. This forum is not purporting that there be yet another "fund raiser" but our current infrastructure is hampered by the lack of secured funding streams, unrestricted allotments and viable as well as crediable management of any fund that is established.

Its unfortunate that much of this mindset is not "sexy" enough for most since they don't get it that our liaison's and road warriors often time have to fund their own expenses or accept reimbursement options. If want equality, then there's a price to pay for it on many levels and there needs to be some serious meeting of the minds on just how to do it.

Arkansas HIV Planning Group Strategizes

The Arkansas HIV Planning Group has announced its Mid year Strategy Session scheduled for June 19-20 at the 4-H Center and compound in Ferndale, Arkansas. According to Co-Chair's Courtney Hampton and Cornelius Mabin, this meeting will cover a wide berth of discussion, assessment and unpacking what's working or not working in Arkansas.

During the meet up, technical assistance will be provided by NASTAD, (National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors) to clarify internal structural challenges and barriers. Also participating will be all 2014 grantees who were awarded prevention dollars for cycle 2014. Each entity has been requested to demonstrate the effectiveness of their respective projects in relation to the states jurisdictional plan and NHAS.

The entity scaled up its 2014 collaboration capacity by composing a Medicaid Expansion sign on letter that was forwarded  to both Health committee members and legislators. According to Arkansas HIV Task Force Co-Chair and AHPG Membership Committee Chair Ann Dixon stated, "it was our opinion that a group we should publicly share our support of Governor Bebee's support of the expansion measure."

She continued, " we believed that the expansion would be and has been beneficial to all Arkansans." The group also followed up its sign-on circulation with phone banking to legislators. Co-Chair, C. Mabin, Kari Coffman and Dixon also provided testimony concerning House Bill 1185 which will allow therapeutic substitutions for prescribed drugs.

Unfortunately the bill received committee "do pass" support and was enacted at the displeasure of activist.  Currently AHPG also undertook creating and launching a Facebook page ( ) to assist with disseminating vital information. The page also has contact information and meeting dates updates.  COP 24/7 urges our readers, allies and supporters to follow this platform for the latest information as well as encourage you to action on these matters.

White House Meeting on HIV in the South

Arkansas' "road warriors" Mr. Bob Coffey and Ms. D. Levi will serve as representative during this week's "White House Meeting on HIV in the South," June 18. The session was rescheduled from last year government budget shut down debacle.

This meeting will continue the dialog about specific issues, challenges and barriers directly impacting those living with HIV and AIDS. Attendees have had a series of pre-meeting teleconferences coordinated by SASI ( Southern AIDS Strategy Initiative) to outline questions around new HOPWA guidelines, PrEP, transgender engagement and rising infection rates among communities of color.

In a April report release, the group's SASI research team  expanded its analysis of the CDC HIV surveillance data over a four year period (2008-2011) and released their updated report.  SASI’s analysis shows that black/African-American MSM and women remain the hardest hit in the deep south southern region.  The percentage increase of new HIV and AIDS diagnoses that were black/African American MSM was the largest in the South.  In the targeted deep south region, the percentage of new HIV diagnoses among black/African American MSM increased from 26% in 2008 to 29.9% in 2011.

For black/African-American women, the large disparity in rates with those of white women remain in the targeted deep south region.  In 2011 the HIV diagnosis rate for black/African-American women in the targeted region was 42.8/100,000 white the rate for white women was 3.2/100,000.        
The Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) is part of the White House Domestic Policy Council and is tasked with coordinating the continuing efforts of the government to reduce the number of HIV infections across the United States. The Office emphasizes prevention through wide-ranging education initiatives and helps to coordinate the care and treatment of citizens with HIV/AIDS. Thanks to SASI for their assistance in both keeping in the information flow and travel assistance.

Got Questions? Need Information? Then get in the know prior to June 30, 2014. Call 379-8203 for the latest about how Affordable Care Act can work for you!


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