Friday, December 9, 2011
Hershey hate; demand the Hershey's Company intervene to reverse decision on HIV+ student and dismiss school officials
***Reprinted with permission from RiseUpToHIV***
How sad that this story continues and the school has not reversed course. Each night for the past three nights CNN’s Anderson Cooper AC360 news show has made this a top story and has been giving it a lot of attention. Thank you Anderson. To view a clip of the story that appeared on AC360, click here.
However, this story has fallen out of news media and the public spotlight, we need to press on with story. We must not allow this school and the Hershey's Company to remain silent on this issue. We deserve a dignified and actionable response. Below is my take on this incident and the various information that has been in the news.
The communications director of the school has made numerous on air appearances continuing to support statements coming from the school. Does Connie McNamara, Vice President of Communications at Milton Hershey School really stand behind these statements each night, does she really believe in the words in these statements, and is she THAT uneducated about HIV/AIDS?!? Or, is she trying to keep a job? If I were her I would do the right thing and resign my position immediately. I feel this fear goes deeper into the administration at Milton Hershey and those NOT in support of this decision have a moral duty to walk away, bring down the veil and reveal who the real fear mongers are at this school. It is time for Milton Hershey Trust Company to intervene in this matter!
I cannot believe the ignorance surrounding this story, and why the parents of these children of the school are not in support of this boy?!? Have we really fallen back 20 + years on AIDS education and awareness? I am mad and saddened. If I had the organizing power I would organize busloads of protestors to descend on the school and we would hold out for days, or weeks. If not to force the school to accept this student, but to stand in solidarity with this student as reminder that HIV/AIDS is still around 30 years later, and that this kind of discrimination today, especially in America cannot be tolerated.
I am further outraged that a school founded by the Hershey Co. in 1909 and financed by the Milton Hershey School Trust, which also holds the controlling interest in The Hershey Co. has yet to issue a statement or intervene in this matter. Below is part of the mission statement for the Hershey Co…..
"At The Hershey Company, we make the chocolate brands that people love. Hershey’s Mission Statement, Bringing sweet moments of Hershey happiness to the world every day, summarizes our company, our people, our past and our future. Our history of producing the world’s best treats goes back more than 100 years. We take great pride in our brands and in the fun and enjoyment our products add to the lives of our consumers.
Hershey has a distinguished record of supporting the well-being of children through our relationship with Milton Hershey School. The School was established by the company’s founder in 1909 and provides a nurturing environment, quality education, housing, and medical care at no cost to children in social and financial need. The School is administered by the Hershey Trust Company, Hershey’s largest shareholder, making the students of Milton Hershey School direct beneficiaries of Hershey’s success."
By denying access to this child to the Milton Hershey School, Hershey Co. has gone a 100 year back on its strong values, and distinguished record of supporting the well-being of children. Milton Hershey School and Hershey Co. have put the well-being of this child at risk, and the school and Hershey Co. should be held liable to the highest extent of the law. No longer will I think of Hershey as bringing sweet moments and happiness to the world every day. When I see a Hershey product it will bring me disgust and sadness. I will forever connect the Hershey Co Brand with this horrific display of ignorance.
I have started a petition on change.org asking people to sign and leave a comment, regarding boycotting the Hershey brand and supporting a statement directly from the Hershey Trust Company. Again, if I had the organizing power I would position protestors outside grocery stores throughout the country, asking shoppers to boycott Hershey products; especially during this holiday season.
I can only hope the community of Hershey, PA, surrounding communities, the students and the parents of the school take a stand, by rising up to HIV, dismantle the ignorance that lies deep within this schools administration. As a PLWH and in solidarity with those around the World; we must and will continue to educate the public on the very minimal risks of contracting HIV/AIDS. I would immediately call on and ask the Hershey Trust Company to intervene and issue a statement on this matter.
In the interim I have compiled a list below of all Hershey products you may consider boycotting, and remember to sign the petition!
With sadness in my heart and with hope for a positive outcome,
Founder: Rise Up To HIV
“Voices in Unity Strengthening Community”
SIGN THE PETITION
If you would like to write a letter, send an e mail, and/or call the school and the Hershey Company a list of contact information is below:
Milton Hershey School
PH: (717) 520-2000
Fax: (717) 520-2117
(A phone number is listed, and you can fill out an online form choosing which state in the US or where in Canada you are located)
Almond Joy Bars
GOOD & PLENTY
Hershey's Chocolate for Baking Bars
Sweet & Salty granola bars
Hershey's EXTRA DARK
Hershey's Jar Toppings
Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes
Hershey's POT OF GOLD
Hershey's SPECIAL DARK
Hershey's Sundae Syrup
Ice Breakers FROST
Ice Breakers ICE CUBES Gum
Ice Breakers Mints
Ice Breakers Sours
Ice Breakers Stick Gum
Kit Kat Wafer Bars
Mauna Loa Boxed Chocolates
Mauna Loa Mix
Mauna Loa Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts
Mauna Loa Cookies
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts
Mounds Sweetened Coconut Flakes
Reese's Crispy Crunchy
Reese's FAST BREAK
Reese's Peanut Butter
Reese's Peanut Butter Toppings
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Twizzlers PULL N PEEL Candy
YOUNG & SMYLIE
Thursday, December 1, 2011
People living with HIV/AIDS have come to expect proclamations on World AIDS Day from the President, Congress, Governors, State Legislators, Mayors, City Councils, AIDS Service Organizations, State Health Departments, and so on. Whereas proclamations make us all feel good, they do little to solve the ongoing ADAP crisis that has allowed thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS to fall through the cracks of our public health system. So, it begs the question: What do these proclamations do to help the 75 people in Alabama, 3,213 people in Florida, 1,525 people in Georgia, 5 people in Idaho, 475 people in Louisiana, 9 people in Montana, 9 people in Nebraska, 95 people in North Carolina, 0 people in Ohio, 65 people in South Carolina, 13 people in Utah, and 1,111 people in Virginia presently being denied access to appropriate, timely care and treatment?
While there remain a few ideological "Talibangelicals" who view HIV/AIDS as God's "punishment" for behavior or lifestyle, Americans have mostly opened their hearts and their minds to accepting and helping people living with the disease. By in large, politicians of both political parties have recognized the importance of stable, robust HIV/AIDS programs - including ADAPs. That is why what marks the 24th celebration of World AIDS Day, how can thousands of people living with a potentially life-threatening disease be asked to WAIT for their life-saving medications?
Read related CNN Story, "The long wait"
Yesterday, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) sent a letter to State Department Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seeking to find a solution to the lingering ADAP crisis facing thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS languishing on waiting lists. Their letter comes on the heels of similar requests made by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), as well as Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL-23), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-20), Ted Deutch (D-FL-19), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL-17) to HHS. Each of these lawmakers have been fighting to secure additional federal funding since the crisis started over two years ago.
[Photo: Burr-Coburn-Enzi-Isakson ADAP Letter]
And today, President Obama announced he has directed HHS to increase funding for domestic HIV/AIDS treatment by $50 million, including $35 million to ADAPs. This represents the second time in as many years whereby the President has reprogrammed funding to the cash-strapped program. While the additional funding is welcomed news, it remains short of the level necessary to eliminate the ADAP waiting lists entirely.
World AIDS Day is important because it highlights a disease that continues to impact millions of people in this country, and abroad. The proclamations are important because they symbol the national commitment to eradicate the disease. But more important are the solutions designed to help people (and help people help themselves) RIGHT NOW! After all, it are those solutions that are a true testament to nation's commitment to fight HIV/AIDS!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution provides that "no money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Consequence of Appropriations[.]" More accurately however, it can be characterized like making sausage.
In recent history, Congress has been forced to lump a litany of federal programs together during a messy, non-transparent legislative process...ending with an "Omnibus" spending package. Omnibus spending bills provide both opportunities and challenges for important federally-funded programs. But in the current fiscal environment, many HIV/AIDS advocates are concerned that needed funding increases will fall by the wayside.
In fact, there is already some indication that programs like ADAP could be facing even harder times. The House Appropriations Committee earlier this year released its draft fiscal year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations. The spending bill includes federal funding for programs within the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other related agencies.
Upon releasing its LHHS spending bill, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said, “Many of the programs and services funded in this bill protect the health and safety of the American people and provide assistance to the most vulnerable among us. However, excessive and wasteful spending over the years has put many of the programs and agencies funded in this bill on an irresponsible and unsustainable fiscal path. To protect critical programs and services that many Americans rely on – especially in this time of fiscal crisis – the bill takes decisive action to cut duplicative, inefficient, and wasteful spending to help get these agency budgets onto sustainable financial footing.”
While most observers agree that something needs to be done about the ballooning federal deficit, it begs the question whether deficit spending or austerity measures are more harmful to the public safety net. Are the current 6,489 people living with HIV/AIDS being denied access to appropriate, timely care and treatment "duplicative" as described by Rep. Rogers since the Committee proposed no new ADAP funding?
With respect to Ryan White the draft appropriations bill reads:
"For carrying out title XXVI of the PHS Act with respect to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, $2,311,665,000, of which $1,980,670,000 shall remain available to the Secretary of Health and Human Services through September 30, 2014, for parts A and B of title XXVI of the PHS Act, of which not less than 25 $885,000,000 shall be for State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs under the authority of section 2616 or 311(c) of such Act: Provided, That in addition to amounts provided herein, $25,000,000 shall be available from amounts available under section 241 of the PHS Act to carry out parts A, B, C, and D of title XXVI of the PHS Act to fund Special Projects of National Significance under section 2691."
ADAPs under this scenario would be flat-funded, despite thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS languishing on waiting lists in twelve states. Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director of The AIDS Institute, summarized this Republican-backed approach accurately when he said, "If ever passed, this spending bill would set back the progress we are making in preventing HIV and providing basic care and treatment for those who have HIV/AIDS in our country."
According to the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) there were 6,489 individuals in 12 states on ADAP waiting lists, as of October 27, 2011 - including 44 individuals in Alabama, 3,260 individuals in Florida, 1,415 individuals in Georgia, 2 individuals in Idaho, 489 individuals in Louisiana, 11 individuals in Montana, 8 individuals in Nebraska, 78 individuals in North Carolina, 0 individuals in Ohio, 60 individuals in South Carolina, 31 individuals in Utah and 1,091 individuals in Virginia.
The House legislation would not only flat-fund ADAPs, but also cut certain prevention programs and ban federal funding of syringe exchange programs. Unfortunately, things don't look much better on the Senate side either. When the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY12 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, it proposed only a $15 million increase for ADAPs despite the waiting list crisis. Fortunately, other HIV/AIDS-related programs were not cut in the Senate's pending version.
In the final analysis, thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS on ADAP waiting lists will be looking to the Congress...and President Obama...to address this ongoing crisis by making sound decisions on fiscal policy and public health, which aren't mutually exclusive. Whether it's deficit spending, or austerity measures steps need to be taken by the leaders in Washington, DC to enhance the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. Period!
Friday, October 21, 2011
The problem of growing ADAP waiting lists is exacerbated because the United States is facing an HIV/AIDS epidemic of devastating proportion. According to some estimates, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States exceeded two million people by of last year. These numbers are not due to decrease in the near future. In 2006 alone, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimated that there have been more than 56,000 new HIV infections per year for the last decade. If this was not severe enough, the disease is far from color blind. Currently, the incidence rate of new HIV infection among African American men and women is seven times that of the Caucasian population. Furthermore, racial disparities are echoed regionally as the epidemic has seen its most recent unfettered growth in Southern states, which often times have smaller state budgets and fewer access points to comprehensive care.
The good news is that with the advent of new medicines, people living with HIV/AIDS are able to live full and productive lives. The bad news is that it is increasingly difficult for people living with HIV/AIDS to afford their medications. Life saving medications can cost a single patient up to $20,000 per year. This is compounded by the fact that nearly three quarters of all people with HIV/AIDS are either uninsured or dependent on public insurance. This makes strengthening the public HIV/AIDS healthcare system of critical importance – but in the meantime efforts should concentrate on eliminating the wait lists.
With ADAP budgets stretched to the limit, other resources are needed to help plug the gap. Enter prescription assistance programs (PAPs) and co-payment assistance programs. Pharmaceutical company PAPs make available free or low-cost medications to eligible patients, while co-pay programs provide financial assistance for certain health care costs to patients who qualify financially and medically.
PAPs are designed to support low income U.S. residents with free or low cost prescriptions. The programs usually cover brand name drugs only and are administered individually by the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs. PAP programs are administered differently by manufacturer and sometimes by drugs within the same manufacturer. In most cases the programs are designed around income guidelines. Most often income has to be below or just above the poverty guideline set by the federal government. There are some companies that go as high as 2-3 times the poverty guidelines. The majority of the programs require the patients to be U.S. residents, be uninsured, and meet the income requirements. Income verification in the form of W-2, 1099, pay stub, etc. must be provided, as well as any benefit statement received. There are exceptions to these requirements. Some programs, for example, allow insurance but no drug coverage, Medicare D recipients are eligible in some cases. Each program has specific eligibility requirements with some are more stringent than others.
There exists an immediate need in ten states - plus numerous others - to link stakeholders with these two important resources. NASTAD is now reporting 7,299 individuals are currently on ADAP waiting lists, as of October 13, 2011 – including 3,389 people in Florida, 1,763 people in Georgia, 5 people in Idaho, 790 people in Louisiana, 11 people in Montana, 58 people in North Carolina, 0 people in Ohio, 18 people in South Carolina, 51 people in Utah and 1,044 people in Virginia.
In response to this growing crisis, please participate in a training on the state of the epidemic and what can be done to help. The ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+), in coordination with the Community Access National Network (CANN), HealthHIV, AIDS Alabama, Broward House and the Great Lakes ADA Center – which all work to ensure access to care and treatment for every person with HIV in need – is extending this invitation to all ADAP Stakeholders nationwide to gain a fuller perspective from the pharmaceutical companies about how their prescription assistance and co-payment assistance programs can address the many issues confronting people living with HIV disease on wait lists.
The “Accessing & Understanding HIV/AIDS Patient Assistance Programs” virtual trainings are being held to raise awareness about pharmaceutical patient assistance programs (PAPs), in an effort to alleviate the ongoing ADAP crisis. There will be an introductory training for ADAP stakeholders who have little or no knowledge about PAPs, and an advanced training for ADAP stakeholders who are well versed with PAPs, but seek additional information.
Registration is free!
To learn more, or register, please visit http://www.adapadvocacyassociation.org/events.html.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The outcries from numerous organizations, PLWHAs, their friends, family and loved ones have grown into one voice...one movement...with one goal. Their purpose is to bring awareness to the AIDS crisis in America with the achievable goal of ENDING the ADAP crisis now! When will POTUS and other leaders in Washington recognize the problem and finally ACT on it in a substantial and meaningful way?!? The crisis is not going away, and neither are HIV/AIDS advocates!
So, what is PEPFAR?
Launched in 2003 by President George W. Bush with strong bipartisan support, PEPFAR is America’s commitment to fighting the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Through shared responsibility and smart investments, PEPFAR is saving lives, building more secure families and helping to stabilize fragile nations.
No one is questioning the need for PEPFAR!
How is PEPFAR funded?
With the generous support of the American people (through taxpayer dollars), the U.S. Government has committed nearly $46 billion to bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and bilateral TB programs through fiscal year (FY) 2012.
PEPFAR’s success is measured in lives improved and saved.
➢ In fiscal year 2010, PEPFAR directly supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 3.2 million men, women and children worldwide, up from less than 2.5 million in 2009.
➢ PEPFAR directly supported antiretroviral prophylaxis to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission for more than 600,000 HIV-positive pregnant women in fiscal year 2010, allowing more than 114,000 infants to be born HIV-free.
➢ Through its partnerships with more than 30 countries, PEPFAR directly supported 11 million people with care and support, including nearly 3.8 million orphans and vulnerable children, in fiscal year 2010 alone.
PEPFAR is making smart investments to improve lives, build more secure families and help stabilize fragile nations. With continued support from the U.S. Congress, PEPFAR will be able continuing working towards the goals of treating more than 4 million people, preventing more than 12 million new HIV infections, and caring for more than 12 million people, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children.
➢ For FY 2011, President Obama has requested nearly $7.0 billion, including nearly $5.74 billion for bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, $1 billion for the Global Fund, and $251 million for bilateral TB programs.
➢ For FY 2012, the President is requesting nearly $7.2 billion, including nearly $5.6 billion for bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, $1.3 billion for the Global Fund, and $254 million for bilateral TB programs.
While international efforts are laudable, and the ROI is huge, domestic funding for HIV/AIDS services and supports are severely underfunded. If POTUS does not act, then many PLWHAs fear a flashback to the 80’s...people dying. This time not because there are no medicines to treat the disease, but because we have insufficient funding to put these medicines in the hands of the people who need them. This is unconscionable, and begs the question...is this American?
And no one is questioning the need for America to fund PEPFAR!
CLICK HERE to read "THE INTERNATIONAL vs. NATIONAL DEBATE: Is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) international commitment to combating HIV/AIDS succeeding at the expense of those people living with the disease in the United States?"
Is PEPFAR is an unfit parent who feeds her neighbors as her own family goes hungry?
Through FY2012 under PEPFAR, U.S. taxpayers will have spent 46 billion to support this initiative. Is it wrong to think that the U.S. could have funneled some of that money over the past 9 years into domestic HIV/AIDS initiatives, such as treatment, prevention, research, and other services for PLWHA under the Ryan White Program? Increasingly, many PLWHAs are asking this very question!
Federal appropriations for the Ryan White Program FY2012 equate to $1.3 billion, and AIDS advocates are asking for an increase of $106 million just to maintain ADAP; though this would not be enough to end the ADAP wait-lists. An increase of $360 million is needed to maintain ADAP programs and fill the structural deficits that have built up over the last several years. Is 7.2 billion in taxpayer money appropriated under PEPFAR and $1.3 billion under the Ryan White program fair? Why would U.S. taxpayers, and especially American PLWHA not be outraged?
Further egregious, last week in an effort led by New York's junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, 18 U.S. Senators sought to immunize the Global AIDS funding from cuts threatened by the impending showdown over the national budget and deficit committee. The letter is signed by Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Durbin (D-NY), Barbara Milkulski (D-MD), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ron Wyden D-OR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Christopher Coons (D-DE).
Do they know that this is the 30th year of the AIDS epidemic in America? Are they aware of the domestic AIDS crisis? Are they aware that the impending funding cuts could put the lives of PLWHAs in America at risk? Are they aware of the rich history of AIDS in America and the advocates who marched...who protested...who fought for future generations; all the while watching dozens upon dozens of friends die, and they themselves on the brink of death?
So again, is it wrong for Americans living with HIV/AIDS to look in their own ‘backyards’ before looking overseas?
Inaction and silence WILL = death of countless PLWHA in America. Mr. President, 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS, their friends, family, and countless advocates; with one resounding voice they ask you to intervene in this crisis, the time to ACT is NOW!
Please sign the petition on change.org requesting that the POTUS and Congress work together to divert 15-20 percent of PEPFAR funds to domestic HIV/AIDS programs: http://www.change.org/petitions/divert-15-of-international-aids-relief-money-to-help-american-plwha.
Blog by Kevin Maloney, ADAP Advocacy Association member from Clifton Park, NY
Saturday, September 24, 2011
During the 1990s when the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act was passed, it was done so with strong bipartisan support. In fact, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy - the liberal lion of the Senate - was joined by one of the most conservative Republicans to introduce the legislation, Sen. Orrin Hatch. Every reauthorization since has also enjoyed the same level of bipartisanship. But while certain aspects of the Ryan White law have struggled to garner consensus, often falling victim to the ideological divide, ADAP and its funding always served as the model of how the two political parties could work together. In many respects, ADAP served as the bellwether program of the Ryan White law.
President Bill Clinton worked with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to ensure ADAPs were adequately funded because both leaders understood the Return on Investment (ROI) from a public health perspective. From 1995 to 1999, federal funding for ADAPs fared relatively well, as ADAP funding increased from $51.9 million to $460.6 million. But the last major influx of funds occurred in 2003, when Congress approved an increase of nearly $100 million. Since then, however, ADAPs have been perpetually underfunded at the federal level.
In August 2003, ADAPs were facing a similar funding crisis, albeit not equal to the scale faced today. The ADAP Working Group published its White Paper, "The History and Status of the ADAP Funding Crisis; The Current ADAP Crisis status as of Month #5 of the FY ’03 Funded Program Year," in response to the crisis at the time when there were 509 people living with HIV/AIDS on ADAP waiting lists in 10 states. (1) It summarized ADAP's bellwether status very accurately:
"ADAP was generally well funded from FY ’96 through FY ’00 with active and open bi-partisan Congressional support. ADAP related crises did occur but tended to be a function of new programs, rapid scale up, State level resource needs, or local health care delivery issues. Underfunding on a serious nationwide federal level started in FY ’01 and continues." (2)
Fast forward to 2011, when ADAP waiting lists and other cost containment strategies are at record high levels. In fact, historically nothing compares to the crisis facing the nearly 10,000 people living with HIV/AIDS being adversely impacted by the ongoing ADAP crisis. During the last "major" ADAP crisis, ADAP waiting lists only pushed the upward levels of 1,400+ on waiting lists. Now, there are just shy of 9,000 on waiting lists, approximately another 1,000 kicked off the program (via eligibility changes) and states like Ohio are toying with medical criteria, which was once taboo.
ADAP wasn't immune from internal bickering over how to solve the crisis, as some national HIV/AIDS organizations were hesitant to publicly challenge longtime leaders, despite their failure to solve the problem. "The Politics of ADAPs" (3) provides an excellent historical analysis on why the current ADAP crisis should cause alarm for HIV/AIDS advocates fighting for other important programs, such as prevention.
Think back to the struggles...and failures...over needle exchange programs, or abstinence only sex education. When HIV/AIDS advocates were desperately trying to fend off attacks on proven prevention strategies from the religious right, ADAP was receiving millions of dollars in new federal funding. So, ADAP's ongoing fight to secure as little as $101 million dollars despite the overwhelming evidence and history of bipartisan support is troublesome because if a "popular" HIV/AIDS program like ADAP is facing increasingly tough times, how can other "less popular" programs expect to make needed gains?
The ongoing debate over federal appropriations is evidence enough. For Fiscal Year 2012, ADAP funding increases could be as little as $15 million despite the escalating crisis. Meanwhile, most other HIV/AIDS programs could look at level funding, or even damaging spending cuts. (4)
Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director of The AIDS Institute, best summarized the ongoing plight facing domestic HIV/AIDS programs:
"While we appreciate Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin's effort to preserve existing programs, our Nation is not going to reduce new HIV infections or provide adequate care and treatment to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS without new resources. This is extremely disappointing since we have the drugs to keep people alive, the knowledge that treatment is prevention, along with a number of other tools that help prevent HIV, and the leadership by the Obama Administration as detailed in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Without the necessary resources, the goals of the Strategy will not be achieved, and thousands of more people in the United States will needlessly become infected with HIV." (5)
Until the HIV/AIDS community can find consensus on how to solve the ADAP crisis, it is hard to imagine how other important programs can receive the resources that they desperately need, too. As goes ADAP, so goes Ryan White programs.
(1) The ADAP Working Group, "The History and Status of the ADAP Funding Crisis; The Current ADAP Crisis status as of Month #5 of the FY ’03 Funded Program Year," August 2003, p. 1.
(2) The ADAP Working Group, "The History and Status of the ADAP Funding Crisis; The Current ADAP Crisis status as of Month #5 of the FY ’03 Funded Program Year," August 2003, p. 3.
(3) ACHIEVE, "The Politics of ADAP," Fall 2008, p. 11.
(4) U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, "Summary: FY12 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill," September 21, 2011.
(5) The AIDS Institute, "Senate Flat Funds Most Domestic HIV/AIDS Programs," September 22, 2011.
Friday, September 16, 2011
On September 21st, grab your digital camera or smartphone and take a snapshot. Capture a moment of your everyday life. Each photo tells a story. Get in the picture, and tell your story.
The ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+) encourages people living with HIV/AIDS currently receiving their life-saving medications under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to submit photos. Let's put a face on the ADAP program, especially since as of September 8th there were 9,066 people living with HIV/AIDS on ADAP waiting lists in 11 states.
Photo submissions will be posted on their site. Select pictures will be published in the November-December issue of POSITIVELY AWARE. Send your photo by September 26th to email@example.com.
To learn more, go to http://www.adaywithhivinamerica.com/.
Friday, September 9, 2011
The ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+) is taking a page out of the playbook from the "Arab Spring" protesters in order to launch its "ADAP Fall" social media campaign starting with a “Obama-ADAP Twitter Day.” The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the growing ADAP waiting lists by leveraging one of the leading social media outlets. Twitter users are asked to direct their hashtag #ObamaADAP Tweets at President Obama using handle @whitehouse.
Ultimately, aaa+ and many other national, state and local HIV/AIDS organizations want the Obama Administration to reprogram funding from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services toward the Ryan White CARE Act and ADAP, specifically. President Obama did something similar last year, but the $25 million transfer wasn't nearly enough funding to make a noticeable dent in the escalating ADAP waiting lists.
Twitter users are asked to do the following on Thursday, September 15th starting anytime after 7:00am:
To view the aaa+ profile on Twitter, go to https://twitter.com/#!/adapadvocacy.
The goal on September 15th is to make hashtag #ObamaADAP trending on Twitter with ADAP-related tweets directed at President Obama by using handle @whitehouse. Some example tweets might include:
As of September 1st, there were 9,298 individuals in 11 states on ADAP waiting lists, including Alabama with 211 individuals; Florida with 4,022 individuals; Georgia with 1,715 individuals; Idaho with 31 individuals; Louisiana with 1,056 individuals; Montana with 28 individuals; North Carolina with 340 individuals; Ohio with 59 individuals; South Carolina with 836 individuals; Utah with 50 individuals; and Virginia with 950 individuals.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
[Photo: AIDS Healthcare Foundation protesting then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as ADAP waiting lists exploded from 99 people living with HIV/AIDS to several thousand]
Friday, August 26, 2011
- Black Americans, and particularly young blacks, express much higher levels of concern about HIV infection than whites.
- Reported HIV testing rates are flat since 1997, including among some key groups at higher risk.
- Thirty years into the epidemic, there is a declining sense of national urgency and visibility of HIV/AIDS.
- At the same time, after nearly a decade of decline, the share of Americans who say they are personally "very concerned" about becoming infected ticked up for the first time in this year's survey.
- Many Americans still hold attitudes that may stigmatize people with HIV/AIDS, but such reported attitudes have declined in recent years.
- Despite continuing economic problems, more than half of Americans support increased funding for HIV/AIDS, and fewer than one in ten say the federal government spends too much in this area.
- Media, which includes radio, television, newspapers and online sources, is the top information source on HIV across racial/ethnic groups and for younger and older adults alike.
- Three-quarters of Americans could not name an individual who stands out as a national leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and no person who was mentioned makes it into double digits.
Obviously, Americans no longer view HIV/AIDS as a priority in the United States. Is there any other reason to explain why the number of people living with HIV/AIDS on ADAP waiting lists in this country has exploded from 99 in May 2009 to 9,201 to August 2011? That's a 9,193% increase!!!
The Red Ribbon was once a widely-recognized symbol of awareness and hope for people effected, and affected by HIV/AIDS. Wearing the Red Ribbon was likened to a first place ribbon in the fight against the disease...but now, that ribbon has fallen behind to competing colors. Whether it is the Pink Ribbon for breast cancer, Blue Ribbon for prostate cancer or the Jigsaw Ribbon for autism, numerous other colors have relegated the AIDS Ribbon to the back of the pack. For example, cancer research received $1.3 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for spending by the National Cancer Institute in FY 2009 and FY 2010.5 Ironically, despite repeated pleas by some Members of Congress and the broader HIV/AIDS community, no such stimulus funding was devoted to alleviate the ongoing ADAP crisis. That's whammy #2!
1 Kaiser Family Foundation, "HIV/AIDS At 30: A Public Opinion Perspective," June 2011.
4 National Association of State & Territorial AIDS Directors, “FY2004 – FY2008 Appropriations for the Ryan White Program”, February 2008
5 National Cancer Institute, "Cancer Research Funding - Key Points," June 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan
Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan
Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas
Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland
Rep. Xavier Becerra of California
Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts
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- Posted by Julie Turkewitz , August 11, 2011 at 12:20pm