Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where you at ? - The ADAP Crisis in America

Some of you may be familiar with and may of read my previous posts -here- here and here about the ever growing AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting list in the United States. Well it is that time of year again when the ADAP Advocacy Association ( aaa+) holds it annual ADAP Conference. aaa+ strives to promote and enhance the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) and improve access to care for persons living with HIV/AIDS. aaa+ works with advocates, community, health care, government, patients, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders to assure that access to services recognize and afford persons living with HIV/AIDS to enjoy a healthy life. As always I have to applaud and say THANK YOU to Brandon Macsata for organizing this whole thing and Amanda,Christopher,Joey and Regine and all the volunteers for making the conference a success.

Currently there are 8,615 Americans (as of 6/30/11) who are not getting their life saving medication. They are just simply sitting on a waiting list. Since 6/29/10 over 6,000 Americans have been added to the ADAP waiting list. That is in just one year. This is what made this year's conference extremely important. Can you imagine finding out you are HIV+ today and not being able to get medications because you can't afford them. AIDS medications can cost $1200 a month or more. Would you take the time to apply for ADAP if it meant you were going on a waiting list ? For many Americans this is a reality. So on top of the 8,615 currently on the list can you imagine the hundreds or thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS who don't apply since they can't get care and treatment they need.

It is very frustrating to me. I feel that every human being should be given the treatment they need to live a happy life, regardless of what disease they have or how big their bank accounts are. How can someone not be able to look inside themselves and find the compassion to want to help another human being. It leaves me dumbfounded. We can sit here and point fingers but as a nation we need to stand up to all responsible and create a movement.We literally need to take the streets and fight for our lives.

Lets get back to the conference. The conference opened up with guest speaker Bishop Joyce Turner Keller. The Bishop has lofted the term “southern hospitality” to an entirely new level. She is not only the founder and CEO of Aspirations, a non-profit faith-based community service organization, but someone who is living with HIV/AIDS herself, and has dedicated herself to educating, supporting and inspiring others living with HIV/AIDS throughout the nation.

She was AMAZING. She not only walked in like a rock star with bright red hair, she brought the house down with her opening speech. We all felt her passion and it re-energized the passion inside all of us. She kept asking us one question thought out her speech. "Where you at ?" It clicked in so many ways. At one point during here speech she was calling out names of states. "Florida..Where you at ? Georgia..Where you at ?" Then attendees from each state would make noise and raise their hands. It was very empowering. By the end of the conference she had us all screaming "Where you at ?" It made it me realize how important it is for us living with HIV/AIDS to STAND UP and get our family and friends involved. I hope to have her come on POZIAM Radio sometime soon.

POZIAMers Meet
Tuesday evening I had an awesome experience. I have always wanted to get a group of POZIAMers together for a dinner or event. FYI - POZIAMers are members of my social network. I knew a bunch of them would be in DC for the conference and I would be meeting them for the first time. So I organized a dinner at Level One and about 20 people responded yes. Most of all met out front of the Westin Hotel.

With the help of our tour guide Christopher Myron, our clan arrived at Level One in one piece. There we met up with other POZIAMers who lived in DC but were not attending the ADAP Conference. It was such an amazing feeling to meet the people you see online in person. People who you talk to everyday or read their blogs. We had a great time and obviously took plenty of pictures. I can't wait for the next POZIAMers dinner. Some of us were outside the hotel sharing stories until 3am. We didn't care what time it was. These little conversations with fellow advocates can be life changing. Having Dab Garner as my roommate was one of the other highlights of my trip. Spending time and having conversations with a man you who has been fighting this for over 30 years was priceless. I admire and respect his wisdom and strength. This was the icing on the cake for me.

1st Annual ADAP Leadership Awards Dinner
Wednesday evening we all attended the 2011 Annual ADAP Leadership Award Dinner. As a Board member of aaa+ I have to say we recognized an amazing slate of leaders, who for the last year have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness about the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. All doing their part in the fight in their own way. It was an honor to be among them all. Over all the conference was a great experience and brought people from across the United States together to discuss a every important issue.

The 2010-2011 award recipients include:

ADAP Champion of the Year:

ADAP Emerging Leader of the Year:

ADAP Corporate Partner of the Year:
The Honorable Neil Romano of The Romano Group, LLC

ADAP Community Organization of the Year:
Stephen Gunsallus of Counseling Ministries.Org

ADAP Lawmaker of the Year:
The Honorable Alcee Hastings, M.C. (FL-23)

ADAP Social Media Campaign of the Year:
AIDS Activism 101 by Mark King of MyFabulousDisease

ADAP Grassroots Campaign of the Year:
ADAP Media Story of the Year:
HIV S.O.S. by Charles Blow of the New York Times

Congratulations to all the recipients and Thank you for the hard work you do and awareness you have continue to bring to the ADAP Crisis in America.

Current ADAP numbers
8,615 individuals in 13 states, as of June 30, 2011

Alabama: 73 people

Arkansas: 40 people

Florida: 3,562 people

Georgia: 1,630 people

Idaho: 20 people

Louisiana: 824 people

Montana: 29 people

North Carolina: 292 people

Ohio: 485 people

South Carolina: 810 people

Utah: 25 people

Virginia: 817 people

Wyoming: 8 people

For more information on ADAP waiting lists.
Please visit

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