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.

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