Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Wild Cards

Ryan White Part B Medical Provider Reimbursement Increase

Effective December 15, 2014

The Arkansas Ryan White Part B program has reviewed current funding and approved an increase to the program’s medical provider reimbursement rates was announced by Program Manager, Tiffany Vance. The new Part B program rates will be comparable to the Medicare rates for the state of Arkansas.
The new Part B medical provider reimbursement rates will be effective December 15, 2014 and the reimbursement rates will be reviewed on a quarterly basis by the program to ensure sustainability. Any changes to the reimbursement rates determined during the quarterly review will be communicated to Part B medical providers, and the changes will become effective the following month.

 For more information or additional questions, contact Sheila Clubb at 501-661-2148.

Little Rock Adds Protest Voices

As the protest continue across the country and government official seek to create blue ribbon panels and summits on how to address the civil unrest, a local group quickly mobilized as Little Rock Direct
Action Planning Group which has now morphed or been enveloped into Community Planning for Justice in Arkansas. 

According to the group's Facebook page, this group has been developed in order for community members in Arkansas to plan and execute proactive participation in our communities against injustice - specifically pertaining to racial justice, economic justice, police brutality, and other issues related to these. We want to address our concerns together.
Protestors during a peaceful but vocal protest last Sunday at Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock, staged a "die in" in response to a non indictment of the Police Officer who,using a choke hold, killed Eric Garner during an arrest on staten island New York.
The protest was also intended to draw more attention to the use of deadly force on African Americans throughout the U.S. Chants... of  "No justice no peace no racist police", "I can't breath", and "Hands up don't shoot" were repeated by the protestors. Many protestors held signs and formed a circle around those who chose to lay down to symbolically represent those who have been shot and killed by Law Enforcement around the country.

 Little Rock Police officers had a presence around the protest but did not engage with the protestors instead allowing the protest carry on to it's own conclusion. COP 24/7 applauds these citizens on their act to address this critical issue and demanding that law enforcement and governmental officials respond wit positive outcomes. The group is also in the planning stages of another public protest. Watch COP 24/7 for updates, links and coverage on our Facebook page.(

Out Country Singer Ty Herndon Makes First Public Appearance With Boyfriend

'This is monumental for both of us,' Herndon said at the Trevor Live L.A. benefit on Sunday.

 Country singer Ty Herndon proudly walked the red carpet with his partner Matt Collum (pictured left)  at the TrevorLIVE L.A. benefit, held yesterday at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles.
The annual event marked 16 years of life-saving work by The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens and young adults. It also marked the first time Herndon made a public appearance with the man who has been his partner since 2008.

"So many times in my life and career I’ve had to do these things alone, and leave the person I love at home sitting on the couch because I wasn’t brave enough to bring him and I wasn’t out," Herndon emotionally tells The Advocate. "So this is monumental for both of us tonight."
Herndon helped LGBT visibility in country music take a monumental leap forward when he revealed he is a gay man in a November interview with Entertainment Tonight. The 52-year-old singer says he immediately received support from several country music artists, including LeAnn Rimes — who recently spoke to GLAAD about why she’s proud to be an LGBT ally.

"When I watched him come out on TV, I texted him right away and said, 'I'm the proudest son of a bitch there is,'" says Herndon’s partner, Collum. "I was, and still am. I am so proud of this man."
Since coming out of the closet, Herndon says his life has changed for the better now that he’s able to live his life openly and honestly. And he’s thankful that he's able to see the way his honesty is having a positive effect on others.

"At my very first show after coming out, I had a young man who was 19 years old come up to me and tell me, 'I came out to my family this week, and I brought them all to this show,'" Herndon recalls. "Man, when he told me that, I just burst into tears because it was such an emotional moment for me."
"Then at that same show, there was a 65-year-old man who told me 'I'm coming out to my kids on Thanksgiving and you helped me to do that,'" he continues. "I was so moved, I just had no words."
Herndon performed his song "Journey On" from his 2010 album of the same name on the TrevorLIVE stage, noting that the track holds a special place in his heart because of lyrics which encourage people to push through dark moments for a brighter tomorrow — a perfect complement to The Trevor Project’s message.

"Before I even thought about coming out, I was writing it in my music," says Herndon. "It’s a song about being brave and finding your brave heart. I'm so proud be doing that here tonight."

LinQ for Life encourages individuals to Save the Date!




Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Hello Is This thing ON??

Testing in the City: So what's the 411?
In lieu of a recent article citing that Just 30 percent of Americans with HIV have it under control, even though most of them know they are infected.

Also important to this complex dilemma is the fact that  the challenge of continuing to address an estimated 4000 Arkansans whom meet the threshold of not having labs performed or engaging a primary care physician is critical in the fight to decrease infections in the state not to mention the concept of achieving a zero infection generation.
This conundrum could be a frightening problem because drugs can control the AIDS virus, keep people healthy and greatly reduce the odds they’ll infect someone else. But people with untreated HIV will get sicker and can die — and are much more likely to spread the virus.
Yet amidst all the window dressing of a testing initiatives and linkage to care verbiage, central to this issue are some critical bullet points that must be spotlighted for discussion and solutions. Although there have been great strides put forth, its could be concluded that high profile campaigns and other educational pursuits have all but fallen short in their intended goals. Ranging from individual knowledge of  access points to the capacity of area agencies to continue to offer such services within the changing scope of there missions and resources.
Historically, some testing has occurred in non-traditional area such as bars, book stores and other local venues. However, this approach has been plagued with numerous challenges and barriers that have included deteriorated relationships with bar owners, poor continuity, lackluster media campaign engagement, stigma and complacency of the population, no matter the orientation, is a definite factor in raising awareness.
COP 24/7 has been on the forefront of offering our platform for the most up to date information, links, video and commentary on HIV and AIDS. Currently this site also includes a Test Locator widget that will allow users to identify testing sites closes to their zip codes. Plus in the margins of the platform, we have provided additional links to specific information portals that have a array of resources and tools for end users to further educate, empower and get involved in their health care. In continuing our mission to share information we have included the following testing opportunities below:
  1. 5921 W 12th St Ste B & C
    Little Rock, AR 72204
    United States
    Services Offered:
    • Chlamydia Test
    • Conventional HIV Blood Test
    • Gonorrhea Test
    • Hepatitis B Vaccine
    • Herpes Test
    • HPV Vaccine
    • Rapid HIV Oral Test
    • Syphilis Test
  2. 3915 W 8th St
    Little Rock, AR 72204
    United States
    Services Offered:
    • Chlamydia Test
    • Conventional HIV Blood Test
    • Free HIV Test
    • Gonorrhea Test
    • Hepatitis B Vaccine
    • HPV Vaccine
    • Rapid HIV Oral Test
    • Syphilis Test
  3. 401 N Maple
    Ste A
    Little Rock, AR 72214
    United States
    Services Offered:
    • Free HIV Test
    • Rapid HIV Oral Test
  4. 1225 Dr Martin Luther King Dr
    Little Rock, AR 72202
    United States
    Services Offered:
    • Chlamydia Test
    • Conventional HIV Blood Test
    • Gonorrhea Test
    • Hepatitis A Vaccine
    • Hepatitis B Vaccine
    • Syphilis Test
  5. 523 S Louisiana St
    Ste 216
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    United States
    Services Offered:
    • Rapid HIV Blood Test
    • Rapid HIV Oral Test
  6. 2800 Willow St
    North Little Rock, AR 72114
    United States
    Services Offered:
    • Chlamydia Test
    • Conventional HIV Blood Test
    • Gonorrhea Test
    • Hepatitis A Vaccine
    • Hepatitis B Test
    • Hepatitis B Vaccine
    • Herpes Test
    • HPV Vaccine
    • Rapid HIV Oral Test
    • Syphilis Test

  7. If you did not find the appropriate service organization, click National Organizations to see a list of commercial organizations that provide testing services for a fee across the country. You may also contact CDC-INFO at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) for assistance. Locally you can contact Arkansas RAPPS at 501-349-7777 or LinQ for Life at 501-404-4799 for more navigation or counseling information.

Monday, December 08, 2014

No Peace, No Justice Monday

As the protest continue from shore to shore, voices from those beyond troubled by this continuing bloodshed and murder of unarmed citizens is rising to a crescendo of outrage.

The daily news cycles are filled with commentary, viewpoints, op-editorials, opinion and the distinct voices of mother's and wife's of those who have been lost to this tragic use of violence.

COP 24/7 has always offered its platform as a "town square," for those seeking to share, empathize or scream from their souls about what bothers them or they feel should be bothersome to us all. With the addition of other murders that have occurred, we feel it is our duty to let others share our space to let us feel their pain. All content will be posted as submitted and are the viewpoints of the content providers.

NABWMT Statement on Police Accountability & the Justice System
The National Association of Black and White Men Together condemns the racist killings of unarmed

We are beyond "wait and see."

We are beyond debating, "Is this racism?".

Our organization’s vision statement is "NABWMT envisions America free of racism and homophobia," and we progress from envisioning to working to make “the goal of human equality realized.”

We take our place not on the sidelines, but on the front line, "Dealing with the racism, ... in our communities and in our lives," as per our statement of purpose.
African Americans and other People of Color by police, and the injustice of the no-indictment Grand Jury decisions.

The National Association of Black and White Men Together: A Gay Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT) is a tax exempt, gay, multiracial, multicultural organization committed to fostering supportive environments wherein racial and cultural barriers can be overcome and the goal of human equality realized.

To these ends we engage in educational, political, cultural and social activities as a means of dealing with the racism, sexism, homophobia, HIV/AIDS discrimination and other inequities in our communities and in our lives.

House Committee Shuts Down ENDA for 2014

Another session of Congress will likely end before the House addresses legislation to protect LGBT workers.

BY Michelle Garcia

A bill meant to establish protections for LGBT Americans against employment discrimination was officially killed by the House Rules Committee Tuesday.
Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as an amendment to the annual defense spending bill, on behalf of sponsor Jared Polis of Colorado, the Washington Blade reports.

The committee, made up of nine Republicans and four Democrats, killed ENDA with a 7-3 vote. LGBT-supportive Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is a member of the committee and a cosponsor of ENDA, was not present at the committee session. Polis is also a member of the committee, but was not present during the vote.

The eight House Republicans who cosponsored ENDA worked with Freedom to Work to promote passing the measure as part of the defense bill. A group of Republicans also sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, urging a vote on ENDA as part of the defense legislation. Had the committee approved, ENDA would have been attached to the defense bill and put up for a vote on the House floor.

Even though the Senate passed its version of the bill 64-32 last year, Republican House Speaker John Boehner has previously said that ENDA had no likelihood of passing during this session. “I am opposed to discrimination of any kind in the workplace or anyplace else, but I think this legislation … is unnecessary and would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits,” he said in a press conference in 2013, “People are already protected in the workplace.”

A version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been introduced to every congressional session but one in the last four decades.

Got insurance yet? Don't forget that you should get in by December 15th to get your coverage started by January 2015!  Need assistance? Have questions?  Let us help by hitting us up in comment section to offer information and links to getting you covered!

Arkansas RAPPS is a new program seeking to engage the positive MSM community in assessing linkage to care issues or challenges, outreach opportunities and peer to peer empowerment sessions. Want to know more you can call us at 501-349-7777

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Friday, December 05, 2014

Trending and Tossing a TGIF

Gays Condemning Riots: The Greatest of Hypocrisies
Editor's Note: Guest blogger Matt Comer lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where he works as editor of QNotes, the state's Charlotte-based LGBT community newspaper. Matt has been active in local, state and national LGBT and progressive educational work, journalism and advocacy since his teens.

They attacked cops, after hitting them with personal items, resisting arrest and escaping detainment. They hurled bottles and other debris through the air. One cop's eye was badly cut. Police officers were forced to barricade themselves inside a business to protect them from the unruly mob, which in turn uprooted a parking meter trying to break down the locked door and then tried to burn the business down while the cops were inside -- a business many considered their "home."
They set garbage cans on fire. They marched through the streets blocking traffic and stopping cars and busses full of people, intimidating passengers -- including a newly wedded couple -- into supporting their cause. They overturned one car and used it as a barricade against a police phalanx. They set another car on fire. They smashed the windows of at least one police cruiser.
They damaged other stores in the area and there were even some reports of looting, though protesters would blame that on outside agitators unassociated with their cause. A mob of as many as 1,000 threatened to burn down the offices of the local newspaper.
No, that's not Ferguson after the failed non-indictment of officer Darren Wilson. No, it's not New York City after the failed non-indictment of officers involved in the killing of Eric Garner. No, it's not any of the other disruptive protests that occurred in the aftermaths of both of these systemic failures of justice.

It's the Stonewall Riots -- when LGBT people took to the streets, lashed out at police and waged an all-out affront against police authority, a quintessential, dictionary case of "riot."
This photo appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News on Sunday, June 29, 1969. It's apparently the only photo taken during the first night of the Stonewall Riots. In it, street kids, including homeless youth who made the park across the street from Stonewall home, are shown getting into a fight with police.

But some gays are hypocrites: They condemn the rioting in the aftermath of extreme miscarriages of justice for black people, all the while ignoring the fact they gather once a year to openly celebrate and commemorate a riot -- a violent outburst that served as the so-called birth of their movement.
Either that, or they're completely, utterly ignorant of their own history.

Black HIV Awareness Day 2015 Ushers In New Entity

February 7, 2015 marks the 15th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora. In conjunction with this day, emerging local community based organization, LINQ for Life ( ) will launch its "Beyond The Red Ribbon," campaign that will highlight moving forward to end HIV infections while continuing to address the increasing need to assess how those living with HIV or AIDS are navigating needed "wrap around" services. The entity has been working diligently to get its footing and making progress in securing necessary structure," said Lee Brown, Founder and CEO. "I've envisioned that this organization will be prepared to meet forthcoming opportunities that will support our mission to "create and sustain links to a greater quality of life." 

The campaign will have are three specific focal points: Get tested, Get Treated, Get Involved. From an educationally focal point, the task is to get African Americans educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities. Since testing is at the core many initiatives including the deployment of the Arkansas Community Connectors Initiative, it is the intention of the entity to have February 7th become a annual day of programming which will include not only HIV testing opportunities but other possible screenings as well.

Entity organizers emphasize that it is vital for those who are sexually active and those at high risk of contracting HIV learn about their status. When it comes to community and organization leadership, getting Blacks involved to serve is another key focus.

"We need Black People from all walks of life, economic classes, literacy levels, shades and tones as well as communities (large and small) to get connected to the work happening on the ground in their local areas," said Cedric Gum, local activist and founding board member. He continued, "and lastly, for those living with HIV or newly testing positive for the virus, getting them connected to treatment and care services becomes paramount. We have learned that you can't lead Black people towards HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing, leadership or treatment unless you love them. And, we can't save Black people from an epidemic unless we totally understand that dynamic."
With the Affordable Care Act now in motion, it becomes particularly important for those who are at the highest risk of contracting HIV to get tested and connected to HIV/AIDS prevention, education, testing, and treatment programs and services in their area. The organization is strategizing how to be most effective as it continues to develop its mission to "decrease HIV/AIDS and STI's while addressing other vital health disparities in marginalized communities." To learn more about the ACA and how it affects those loving with HIV/AIDS, see video below and also "Like" the LINQ for life Facebook page. Watch for more updates and links on the groups 2015 programming.
Do you have insurance? Got Questions? Call us at 501-379-8203

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Staying in the RED Awareness Zone

Largest and Longest-Running HIV/AIDS Coalition Calls for Scale-Up of PrEP

The largest and longest-running national coalition of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations, the
AIDS United Public Policy Committee (PPC) — which covers jurisdictions that include more than two-thirds of people living with HIV/AIDS — calls for the scale-up of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

PrEP, a breakthrough in biomedical HIV prevention, involves a once-daily medication that when taken as directed, reduces the risk of HIV infection by upwards of 90%. The PPC commits to raising awareness of and reducing barriers to full scale-up of PrEP as a critically important prevention tool for people faced with substantial risk of HIV infection.

In Arkansas, limited discussion have begun but no formal statements have been forthcoming from area health officials or physician associations. It has been noted that some local doctors have not been fully educationally engaged as to use of this method and furthermore, many are not prescribing the medication despite its availability with cost being covered by most insurance companies. The Arkansas HIV Planning Group has provided information links on it's Facebook web platform and has suggested that a formal position will be posted in the near future.

Read the AIDS United PPC statement on PrEP, view the full press release and other resources, and download the #PrEPWorks social media toolkit at

Editor's Note: In the wake of the recent Grand Jury decision not to indict in both St. Louis and New York City concerning unarmed citizens who were murdered at the hands of local policeman, COP 24/7 has opened its pages to those whom want share their viewpoints, observations, or discussion about these ongoing matters in our society. This platform has not edited content with the acknowledgement that posted items are the opinions of the composers. Graphics and pictures were added to highlight the issue.

Black Lives Matter and Beyond
CAR stands in solidarity against the legalization, justification, and exoneration of criminal acts committed by all too many of this nation’s law enforcement officers. With deep sadness and grief, we at CAR lament the unwillingness of the legal system to hold police officers accountable for violent and all too many times fatal interactions with the citizenry that they are sworn to serve and protect. We mourn the needless loss of life, families left without their children and children left without their fathers. We are aggrieved at the disproportionate rates that people of color are targeted and their communities over policed. Young Black and Latino men bear the brunt of this and are literally being policed to death.

The "broken windows" approach seeking out low level offenders as a means of deterring larger criminal acts is utilized in many poor communities, primarily communities of color. This inequitable model of policing only serves to drive families deeper into poverty and in many cases ruins lives. No one is asking the question, "Why are windows in poor communities broken in the first place? Why is there not an effort to repair windows rather than shattering hopes and dreams? Where is the critical thinking and efforts to dismantle

the racism and classim, the assumption of privilege that leaves black and brown lives cast in a constant negative narrative? How did we get to a place where it is okay to constantly confront people of color on the whim of “suspicion” and for police to kill unarmed suspects?”

The truth of the matter is that as a nation, this has always been the way of many white people and their treatment of people of color. Violence, even unto death has repeatedly been the answer in owning, controlling and policing the bodies of people of color. The systemic terrorizing and lynching of Black people in the South and Latinos in the Southwest, where photos were taken and sold as post cards while white families picnicked under the body roped to a tree. Smiling faces for the cameras, including women and children, enjoying a day out at these horrific events.

November 29th is the 150th anniversary of the massacre at Sand Creek, where over 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho, women, children and old men were slaughtered and literally butchered by 700 U.S. Cavalry Troops. Their body parts including genitalia and their scalps were taken to cities and paraded for show.

In November as Sand Creek is remembered, when at long last the Governor of Colorado formally apologized to the descendants of this massacre, there came the news that Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot Mike Brown to death would not stand trial. He would walk free.

On December 1st we learned that officer Joseph Weekly of the Detroit police department would see manslaughter charges dropped for his killing a seven year old girl as she lay sleeping. On December 3rd came the news that an NYPD officer, Daniel Pantaleo will also not be indicted. This despite the city coroner ruling the death of Eric Garner a homicide and Pantaleo is seen clearly on video utilizing a banned choke hold. These are but a tiny portion of the deaths at the hands of police officers across the country.

America remains bound in the clutches of it bloody, racist history. We are not so far removed from the days when the brutal mistreatment of people of color was not only encouraged, but perfectly legal. Law enforcement has historically contained an element that focused on keeping people of color in their place. The reality is that many police forces evolved from efforts to specifically police slaves and indigenous people. The St. Louis Police Department was originally created to protect the town from the first people of color,

It’s only been 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed into law. In 2013 we saw important provisions of the act gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court, a move that led to multiple states immediately engaging in actions that would disenfranchise more voters, especially voters of color.

For-profit prisons trade on the stock market, to make money - they need bodies to fill their beds. In some cases they are charging states where they are based if beds go unfilled. A
Indigenous People. New York, Connecticut, Virginia, etc. enacted laws to criminalize and police slaves starting in the 1600’s. Congress itself passed fugitive slave laws. Many Southern police forces began as slave patrols. The Texas Rangers were formed to protect white families from Indigenous People and Mexicans who were trying to retain their lands. African descended, Indigenous, Latino and Asian-Pacific Islanders have all been unfairly targeted and policed in this country. And this disparate, racially biased policing is no-where near over.

mighty incentive to ensure that there is a growing prison population. Leading right back to controlling the bodies of those who have historically been a critical part of this country’s economic system.

We have not as a country been engaged in a war on crime, a war on drugs; it’s been a war on the poor and a war on people of color, the immigrant, the LGBTQ and all others who don’t fit the mold created in America’s melting pot. While white immigrants, even those who were initially treated badly were able to eventually assimilate based on skin color, a lot of other folks didn’t melt into the pot. Those of us in our differences, we continued to be targets of unjust laws, unjust policing, terror and at times death.

So how do we change things? How do we gather the courage to sit with one another, to listen to one another, to hear the humanity of our beings, the common needs that we all share? How do we protect ourselves and one another from the profiling that happens not only at the hands of the police, but between ourselves? How do we ourselves in our beloved communities dismantle our own prejudices in order to stand with one another, creating the voice of giants, lifting up a groundswell, calling for justice?

If we truly care about justice, we must move out of the framework that casts the personal into a narrative that reflects the politics of “just us” in the pursuit of liberation. We can and we must do better. We must be willing to listen to the truth, the history of where we have been and the reality of today. We must remember to keep the act of love in the midst of the revolution, for if naught, we are no better than those who withhold the cup of fairness and equality from our own lips. Here at CAR along with our many Allies, we believe that together, we can and we will - be the change that we seek.

COP 24/7 was designed as a community town hall square to encourage debate, discussion and analysis of "what's really going on in our community," and beyond. If you would like to share your thoughts feel free to reach out to us at  Let us hear from you today!!

Do you need FREE HIV testing? Don't know where to go? Had a bad experience otherwise? Call Arkansas RAPPS at 501-349-7777 to get the 411 on how you can know your status in 20 minutes!


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

RED Wednesday Take Away

Women, Violence and HIV

Perhaps you are aware of the tragic May 2014 murder of Elisha Henson, a 30 year old Texas mother of two who was brutally strangled and dumped into a lake a few months ago after a male with whom she'd had a previous intimate encounter learned of her HIV status.  It received some media coverage,!/newsDetail/25792737

Though the consensual physical act that Elisha and the alleged murderer engaged in was not an act that would have resulted in any risk of HIV transmission, fear and ignorance fueled a violent, unnecessary act. And now two young boys are without their mother.

Elisha's murder, like that of another young mother, Cicely Bolden of Dallas two years ago (who was murdered by a boyfriend after she disclosed her HIV status to him), and countless others before that, highlight the fact that though we have come very far over the years in the field of HIV, we still have a long, long, way to go.

Though we now know as evidenced by several randomized HIV clinical trials and other data that with adequate treatment, the risk of HIV transmission is quite low, very often people's perceptions do not match up to science or to reality.

Quite literally, HIV stigma kills - though not always in this manner; sometimes in the role it plays in people's decisions to drop out of care due to hurt, denial, and anger; sometimes in harmful actions people might engage in as coping mechanisms; sometimes in other ways.

Nationally, advocates are taking action, including the Positive Women's Network as well as AIDS United's recent Capitol Hill briefing which included Arkansas's own Connie Roebuck (pictured right)  whom shared her local work and journey living with AIDS in Arkansas. " I was so excited for the chance to attend and meet so many other women from across the country.

The discussion was very good and I will continue to share what I learned their back in my community." she concluded. Currently Roebuck is serving as a Arkansas Department of Health. Community Connector contractor which offers capacity building in addressing linkage to care issues, voluntary counseling and testing opportunities and peer to peer services. Under the title "The Roebuck Project," Roebuck will expand her reach to explore options to create further partnerships and collaborations in the delta region.

At a congressional briefing held Oct. 13, AIDS United urged greater collaboration from all stakeholders—including federal partners and community advocates — to address this critical intersection of women, violence, trauma and HIV. The standing room only briefing was sponsored by AIDS United in cooperation with the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, and co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.

The briefing, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, brought together representatives from more than 35 congressional offices, numerous federal agencies, and many organizations and advocates already involved in HIV issues to discuss this critical intersection and to find areas for future collaboration and partnerships.

Power 92, KOKY, & Praise Radio Stations Broadcast Live for Watershed Christmas
Power 92.3 FM, The Legendary KOKY 102.1 FM, and Praise 102.5 FM will broadcast live at the Watershed Headquarters, December 19, 22 & 23, 2014.  The Watershed, located at 3701 Springer Blvd, is preparing to assist families in need for Christmas. The three Cumulus radio stations team up for this annual event which has been going strong for more than 21 years.
 Donations of toys, new or gently used clothing, non-perishable food items, and monetary contributions pour in from corporate sponsors, elected leaders, civic organizations, social clubs, and ordinary residents all concerned about helping those less fortunate. Many individuals and groups also show their support by volunteering to help organize the items received.
The broadcast schedule for Friday, December 19th, Monday, December 22nd, and Tuesday, December 23rd is as follows: Power 92.3 FM from 6am-9am; KOKY 102.1 FM from 9am-2pm; and PRAISE 102.5 FM from 2pm-6pm.
For more information on the live broadcast for Christmas at the Watershed contact Kimberly Armstrong at 501-401-0321 or email For information on the Watershed and its services, call the Watershed Headquarters at 501-378-0176.

 COP 24/7 supports the work of the Community Connector contractors in their efforts to continue to decrease infections in Arkansas through continued voluntary counseling and testing  opportunities, linkage to care navigation and providing peer to peer capacity building. We salute Arkansas's next generation of HIV/AIDS intervention and prevention.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

AIDS Awareness Week 2014

Activities Abound around World AIDS Day 2014 Advocates, allies and activist across Arkansas produced a series of events and recognitions around World AIDS Day 2014.  Connecting to the theme: "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS Free Generation,  the events served to remember lives lost while seeking to address the landscape thirty years into the health dilemma.  The events began with a Impact Summit featuring a roundtable discussion of area agencies, The Living Affected Corporation, Arkansas AIDS Foundation, Part of The Solution, STRILITE and was supported and underwritten by Community Connector contractor, Arkansas RAPPS.  During the session participants robustly discussed the capacity of their agencies while seeking further dialog on impending changes that will impact their stakeholders and client bases. "I had not realized much of this," said JK Hardnett, Arkansas AIDS Foundation Board member. "This opportunity to learn and understand what happen earlier in this crisis and how things could change really make me want to learn even more about this work."  Ultimately, the group crafted a micro community assessment and will seek another meet up in 60 days to continue to create next steps in capacity building including dialog around mergers. Arkansas Department of Health officials held an press conference and testing event at the Southwest Little Rock Community Center.  Dr. Nate Smith, addressed attendees citing the successes amidst challenges and barriers that still persist in Arkansas.  He stated that from his perspective, "infection rates had been steady, although there are significant issues around identifying providers in rural areas, rates in communities of color and the effects of ACA enrollment of Ryan White Clients." Highlighted during the event was Mr. Cedric Gum whom spoke to his journey after learning his status and how he has become confident as well as passionate about educating others. He concluded his address by stating that "I've had so many great folks who have supported and taught me about how I can better speak out about HIV and AIDS."  Gum also appeared in ADH's newsletter and was featured in the CDC's "HIV Treatment Works," campaign. Mr. Jessie Sierra, (pictured left) of the Health Awareness Information and Resources said, "this has been great! I am so glad to be apart of this event as well as offer my business as a resource in the effort to educate about HIV and AIDS." In Forrest City, Connie Roebuck of The Roebuck Project produced her 6th annual World AIDS Day event with over 100 in attendance throughout the evening. The energy filled Roebuck, most commonly known as "Connie,, The Condom Lady," thanked participants and at times was over come with emotion.  "I was so glad at the turn out. At times I wasn't sure if it was going to happen." she said " I had some setbacks in ticket sales, but I kept asking local vendors for donations, prizes and any support they could give. I am proud to have made it happen."  Guest speaker Raven Gray(pictured right) spoke to a captive audience as she shared her struggles and disappointments after learning her diagnosis.  "I think we should talk about HIV and not be a shame to discuss it or post about it," Gray said. Gary was supported by "Team Raven," of the Arkansas AIDS Foundation who wore designed signature T-Shirts and joined in an impromptu "vogue" photo shoot at the conclusion of the program. The event also featured Free HIV testing support provided by Delta Alliance of Lake Village and area vendors such as JCCSI, ATEC and Arkansas Minority Health Commission.  New Social Media Campaign: The HIV Shower Selfie Challenge Raises Awareness and Funds Towards Ending AIDS

Soapy, Sexy Shower Selfies With The Hashtag #weareALLclean Brings Attention to HIV Stigma

Could this be the HIV equivalent to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? We think so. The concept is the brainchild of well-known HIV activist, Jack Mackenroth who has partnered with Moovz, the leading global gay social app, to launch the project. It’s genius in its simplicity. We are now a selfie-obsessed culture and Mackenroth urges everyone to take a special selfie for an important cause.

“I was inspired by the use of the word ‘clean’, especially common in gay culture, to describe oneself as STI/STD free. Indirectly this implies that HIV-positive people are somehow ‘dirty'", says Mackenroth. “I thought a PG or PG-13 shower selfie or Vine video would be a fun way that everyone could easily show their support on social media for finding a cure by using the hashtag #weareALLclean when they post their photo with the link. They then nominate 3 other people to participate and hopefully donate to the project as well.” Locally the campaign has gotten support from LinQ for Life and other individuals committed to "washing away" stigma. Including COP 24/7 Executive Editor C. Mabin whom answered the challenges to join colleagues and activist in the effort.  More pictures can be seen on the COP 24/7 facebook page.

The goal of the campaign is to raise 1 million dollars to stop the epidemic and help find a cure and the campaign will be ongoing indefinitely. Donate here. All donations received will be donated to Housing Works, a New York-based nonprofit organization fighting on the front lines to end AIDS and homelessness, not just in New York but globally by 2030. The CDC estimates that there are currently 1.2 million people in the US living with HIV and over 35 million people around the world.

“As someone who has been living with HIV for 25 years this is very personal to me.” Mackenroth adds, “There is current urgency for funding as we have new treatments that maintain viral suppression and render HIV-positive individuals virtually non-transmissible. Those same treatments can be given to HIV-negative individuals and protect them from infection. Essentially we already have the tools to stop the epidemic from spreading. Exciting new research is bringing us closer to a real cure for AIDS every day. ”

Housing Works President & CEO Charles King, recently appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo as Co-Chair of the New York State Task Force to end AIDS by 2020, adds “My hope is that this campaign inspires conversation, action and a reinvigorated commitment to end AIDS.”
The campaign will launch within Moovz because of the app's high user engagement rates and it's history of successful international LGBT social media campaigns. Mackenroth is known as a social media powerhouse in his own right but he is also enlisting many of his “social media superstar” friends to get the campaign off the ground.

Actor, model, singer and social media stud, Chris Salvatore is igniting the campaign from Los Angeles after joining forces with Moovz as well. "It's time to erase the stigma and unite as a global community. Regardless of your gender or sexual identity---no matter what age, color, size or shape you are, you should be part of this project! Let's all be one loud, united voice in support of awareness, education, treatment and research for a cure.” says Salvatore. "And have fun with it. Be funny, sexy or silly. Who doesn’t want to see people in the shower soaping up for a good cause?”

 “I truly hope this campaign goes viral—no pun intended.” Mackenroth quips.
The campaign is ongoing until the goal is reached. The hope is that there will be traction in the following weeks so that people know about the campaign on World AIDS Day and change their profile photos to show support.

1) Take a  selfie or Vine video of yourself in the shower.** NO EXPLICIT NUDITY**
2) Post your photo on Moovz and all social media platforms with the caption "Take HIV Shower Selfie Challenge raise $$ for AIDS cure #weareALLclean"
3) Challenge 3 or more other people to participate!
4) (Optional) DONATE!! Please consider a small donation if you are able. Every penny counts!
Are you in care or need information about how to link to care? Get into care through the Affordable Care Act. Call 501-379-8203 for more information. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

World AIDS Day 2014

New study funds just 30 percent of Americans with HIV are getting treated for it

Just 30 percent of Americans with HIV have it under control, a new report issued last week finds, even though most of them know they are infected. And in Arkansas, the challenge of continuing to address an estimated 5000 individuals whom meet the threshold of not having labs performed or engaging a primary care physician.
It’s a frightening problem because drugs can control the AIDS virus, keep people healthy and greatly reduce the odds they’ll infect someone else. But people with untreated HIV will get sicker and can die — and are much more likely to spread the virus.
“When you have an infection, you treat it,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden told reporters.
“People with HIV who achieve viral suppression aren’t just healthier — they’re also less likely to infect others,” Frieden added. “Today’s study shows too many people with HIV aren’t getting the care they need.”
The study doesn't look at why people are not getting treatment, but navigating the red tape of the U.S. healthcare system may be one major factor. CDC says providers need to work harder to make sure people not only get diagnosed, but treated for HIV.
The numbers come from CDC’s latest look at HIV in the U.S. In 2011, it found, 1.2 million Americans had HIV and 86 percent of them knew it.
But only 40 percent were seeing a doctor or other provider about it — even though HIV has no cure and it’s a lifelong infection that requires a lifetime of medical attention.
Just 37 percent had a prescription for the drugs that can keep the virus under control, and only 30 percent actually had the virus controlled. That means 840,000 Americans have uncontrolled HIV in their bodies.
Even more startling, only 13 percent of people ages 18 to 24 who were infected were taking an effective dose of HIV drugs.
Historical data cited by ADH states, Arkansas’s HIV epidemic continues to trend upwards in minority populations. African American men, African American women, and Hispanic/Latino (men and women) constitutes nearly sixty (60) percent of all new infections, while the combined population represents only 21.8% of the state’s total population. African
American Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), the highest risk population, represent 21.1% of all new infections statewide. In contrast, the epidemic is showing signs of stabilization in white MSM, a historically high risk group. White MSM comprised about 15.7% of all new infections statewide for 2011, a 2.1% decrease from 2010.
According to a ADH guidance provided to applicants in preparing their 2013 & 2014 year HIV prevention program proposals, organizations were capable of accessing funding in three specific areas as follows:
• HIV Prevention Interventions with MSM ($150,000.00)
• HIV Testing and Counseling with High Risk Populations ($100,000.00)
• Evidence-based Interventions with High Risk Populations ($100,000.00)
However despite funding being disbursed, a percentage of returned funding designated for HIV Prevention Intervention with MSM category was to be awarded through the agencies current, Community Connectors Initiative, but to date has not commenced. The agency has informed contractors that internal functions are being resolved to move the initiative forward.
SAVE The Date:
December 12, 2014, 10 am - 1 pm Arkansas HIV Planning Group meeting will be held in the auditorium of the Arkansas Department of Health. For more information check the groups Facebook site at
Have you ;picked up your copy of The READ yet? Check local venues and area businesses across central Arkansas and statewide including the ASU and UCA campus's. Want to be distribution point or advertise? Call us  501-379-8203 for more information
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