Thursday, October 11, 2018

NPR Examines Health Disparities Facing Former Inmates Living with HIV/AIDS

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The inadequate approach to linking formerly incarcerated inmates living with HIV/AIDS in the United State to timely access to care and treatment gained an important spotlight. This week, National Public Radio's public health feature by Heather Boerner, "After Prison, Many People Living With HIV Go Without Treatment," draws attention to formerly incarcerated people struggling to get health care and treatment for HIV on re-entering society.

The ADAP Advocacy Association has elevated the issue among its public policy portfolio this year, highlighted by its Correctional Health Project  which has included numerous blog posts, an infographic, and forthcoming policy white paper on the role of the State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs ("ADAPs") serving these people. As noted on July 5th by our intern, Jonathan J. Pena, "Programs do exist, such as State ADAPs, which are designed to assist these individuals. But the most recent National ADAP Monitoring Project demonstrates that ADAPs are assisting some of these individuals, it is also clear more can be done to assist them. The National AIDS Strategy also provides some guidance to help formerly incarcerated populations achieve viral suppression."[1]

After Prison, Many People Living With HIV Go Without Treatment
Photo Source: Kenyon Ellsworth for NPR

Boerner's article examines a recent study about post-incarceration release and the disparities that exist in gaining access to healthcare (including anti-retrovirals medications). Unfortunately, nearly one-third of the inmates tracked had fallen out of care within one year after being released from prison or jail.[2]

It isn’t to say that incarcerated and formerly incarcerated HIV-positive populations aren’t being served by the ADAPs. According to the National Monitoring Project’s annual report, services provided to recently incarcerated individuals in 2016 shows that 42% were receiving federal funds for ADAP-related services; however, 64% of those who were currently incarcerated in county or city jails were not being provided any services because the reach of ADAP doesn’t include jail divisions.[3]

Our forthcoming policy white paper aims to shed further light on the issue, with recommendations. We commend NPR and Boerner for covering this important issue on health disparities for former inmates living with HIV/AIDS.

__________
[1] Pena, Jonathan J. (2018, July 5). Linkages to Care During Post-Incarceration. ADAP Blog. Retrieved from https://adapadvocacyassociation.blogspot.com/2018/07/linkages-to-care-during-post.html. 
[2] Boerner, Heather (2018, October 9). After Prison, Many People Living With HIV Go Without Treatment. National Public Radion. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/10/09/655890525/after-prison-many-people-living-with-hiv-go-without-treatment?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social.
[3] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018). National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part B & ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report. Retrieved from: https://www.nastad.org/sites/default/files/Uploads/2018/2018-national-rwhap-partb-adap-monitoring-project-annual-report.pdf

Friday, October 5, 2018

Did Trump Pull the Plug on ONAP & PACHA?

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The ADAP Advocacy Association has learned from a highly credible source that the Trump Administration will not fill the vacant director position at the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), nor will appointments be made for the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). These important leadership roles have remained unfilled since President Barack Obama left the White House, or soon thereafter.

Angry looking photo of Donald J. Trump
Photo Source: crooksandliars.com
Earlier this year the ADAP Advocacy Association called for the appointment of an ONAP director after Amy Lansky, ONAP's last-serving director, stepped down. Subsequently, it has been an issue at the center of our advocacy efforts, including a previous ADAP Blog. It should really come as no surprise that the Trump Administration, which has proven itself to not be friendly to the HIV/AIDS community, would leave ONAP vacant. 

Equally troubling is how the Trump Administration solicited nominations for PACHA, only to file them in the trash. It begs the question: Is there no regard for our community’s input into this nation’s public health response to the ongoing epidemic here in the United States?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Funding Raided, Again

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

Over the summer the Trump Administration raided previously unspent Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funding from Fiscal Years 2015-2016 to pay for its controversial "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. The ADAP Advocacy Association sounded the alarm not once, but actually two times over concern about the dangerous precedent established by transferring these funds. We warned if funding budgeted to provide supports and services to people living with HIV/AIDS could be diverted on one occasion, then what would prevent it from happening again? Unfortunately, our concerns were validated because more money is being taken away from these important programs to fund the immigration child detention centers on our southern borders.

Insert the phrase: "We were right!"

Hands off my healthcare
Photo Source: virginiainterfaithcenter.org

The Trump Administration, rather than asking how we can ensure these funds are better spent as they were intended...to help meet the needs of the people living with HIV/AIDS more readily...has decided the epidemic is of less a public health concern than putting kids in cages.

We applaud AIDS United once again for leading the charge and holding the Trump Administration accountable for this thievery! We encourage you to read their recent action alerts in The Body:
Among other vital program funding being raided again, State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs ("ADAP") stand to lose $5.75 million in unspent funding from the current Fiscal Year. This isn't so-called "fake news" either. A letter to Congress from Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS"), spells it out in plain language.

Think about it; there was over $2.6 million taken from HIV prevention programs. Like we still don't have people at risk for contracting HIV, right?

Think about it; there was over $6.3 million taken from mental health and substance abuse programs. Like untreated mental illness isn't an ongoing issue, right? Or like there isn't an ongoing opioid epidemic, right?

Think about it; there was over one million dollars taken from viral hepatitis programs. Like we don't have an emerging Hepatitis C crisis, right?

The fact remains that the people living with HIV/AIDS who reply on ADAP — and who rely on other HIV-related programs being impacted by this move  are PISSED OFF! Let me repeat, they are PISSED OFF!

Whereas HIV-infection can now be characterized as a chronic illness, nearly 20,000 people annually receive an AIDS diagnosis.[1] And yes, people still die of AIDS in this country, including some who cannot access life-saving treatments. People living with HIV/AIDS are watching their brothers and sisters struggle to endure the challenges present with this illness, all while their government appears hell-bent on undermining the progress made under the previous four Presidents!

Mike Pence
Photo Source: accidentallygay.com|

Putting aside the inhumane nature of these immigration child detention centers (if that is even remotely possible, mind you), there is plenty of evidence available for people living with HIV/AIDS to be concerned over ongoing raiding of the funding from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The Trump Administration is infested with right wing, religious ideologues who frown upon people who are different from their WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) culture. Such evidence was on full display this week.

The sad reality is starring our HIV community squarely in the face. The Trump Administration doesn't care about people living with HIV/AIDS. There are simply too many examples to site, too. And far worse, there is no reasoning with the right-wing, religious ideologues who are pulling the strings behind the scenes. It's hard for our people to be tactful when their being punched in the face by bigots.

__________
[1] U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (2018, August 6). HIV in the United States: At A Glance (AIDS Diagnoses). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/ataglance.html.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

HIV Stakeholder Surveys

By: A. Toni Young, Executive Director, Community Education Group

Community Education Group (CEG), a nonprofit located in Washington, DC  that is dedicated to ending HIV and related health disparities. CEG has a commitment to changing the way the world tackles public health in underserved communities. My colleague, Dr. Tyriesa Howard Howell, and I (A. Toni Young)  are conducting disseminating two surveys study to evaluate how nonprofit organizations around the world are preparing to ensure their sustainability. One participant from each survey who completes the survey in its entirety will be randomly selected to win a $200 gift card that will be electronically delivered by December 1, 2018.

  • Survey 1: Project Boundless
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RYB9MH6

BACKGROUND
Throughout the 30+ years of the fight against HIV, medical advancements such as antiretroviral therapy (ARV) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) have shifted the ways in which nonprofits (including CEG) have evolved in an effort to maintain the community's presence and engagement in HIV treatment and prevention. As a part of our evolution, community organizations have embraced our roles in Red Carpet linkage-to-care networks, transitioned from traditional behavior modification approaches by navigating community members to PrEP, and have expanded other areas in the services we provide. On the dawn of a new day in HIV service delivery, that being HIV cure research, we would like to learn more about your organization's preparation for the next phase of the fight.

WHY WE'RE ASKING
The purpose of our study is to inform how to best establish a global dialogue among non-government and community organizations concerning the impact of biomedical HIV treatment and cure-related research. This research will also help us understand how finding an HIV cure may affect organizational sustainability.

WHO WE'RE ASKING
Participants 18 years and older that are affiliated with nongovernmental, nonprofit and community-based organizations are being asked to participate.

WHAT WE'RE ASKING
Please complete our survey and share it with other colleagues on the frontlines of community-based HIV prevention and treatment.

This study was approved by the New England Review Board (Protocol No. 120180166).
  • Survey 2: The Equitable Access Survey
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TFCWTTX

BACKGROUND
The Equitable Access Coalition (EAC) seeks to mobilize a diverse group of individuals and organizations reflecting persons of color living in rural communities in the South. We want to influence policy change and provide access to education affecting policy change at the state and county levels.

WHY WE’RE ASKING
Our purpose is to:
1.   increase access to HIV prevention care and treatment with an emphasis on PrEP;
2.   increase access to HCV screening, education, and treatment; and
3.   increase access to family planning and health services for transgender men and transgender women.
4. identify local and state policy issues

We are interested in organizations located in the Southern United States:  including Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, New Orleans, Florida, and Texas.

WHO WE'RE ASKING
Organizations and persons representing these key populations: people living with HIV and/or HCV, injection drug users, formerly incarcerated, harm reduction specialist, gender nonconforming individuals, transgender men, transgender women, same gender loving persons, persons with substance use disorders, heterosexual men, and heterosexual women.

WHAT WE'RE ASKING
Please complete our survey and share it with other colleagues.


Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

3rd Annual National Monitoring Report on HIV/HCV Co-Infection

By: Marcus J. Hopkins, Consultant, Community Access National Network

The Community Access National Network (CANN) will be hosting its 3rd Annual National Monitoring Report on HIV/HCV Co-Infection on Wednesday, September 19th, beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST. This annual report provides valuable information on the state of Hepatitis C (HCV) treatment coverage, harm reduction measures to prevent transmission of HIV and HCV, and, new to this year, a brief focus on HIV and HCV testing and treatment for individuals currently incarcerated and post-incarceration.


Returning this year are yours truly (as the Project Director for the HIV/HCV Co-Infection Watch and Medicaid Watch), and Amanda Bowes, Manager on the National Alliance for State and Territorial AIDS Directors’ (NASTAD) Health Care Access Team. New presenters for 2018 include Ayesha Azam, Senior Director of Medical Affairs at the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, and Jack Rollins, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

At last year’s National Monitoring Report, I focused on the increase in coverage options for both the Ryan White and Medicaid programs, showing how treatment options have expanded across the country since 2015 (when the HIV/HCV Co-Infection Watch began). Mrs. Bowes provided more detailed information available about coverage, as well as NASTAD’s efforts to expand coverage for Hepatitis C (HCV) Direct-Acting Antivirals (DAAs) within the nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs).

This year’s event is sponsored by the ADAP Advocacy Association, Gilead Sciences, Merck, Quest Diagnostics, Walgreens, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

The 3rdAnnual National Monitoring Report on HIV/HCV Co-Infection can be attended either in person at PhRMA Headquarters in Washington, DC, or remotely for non-DC residents. Registration is free and can be done online. While registration is free, there is limited seating for those attending in person and advanced registration is required to attend.

Learn more at http://www.tiicann.org/events.html#091918cr.


Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Older Adults with HIV: The Forgotten Majority

By: Tez Anderson, Founder & Executive Director, Let’s Kick ASS—AIDS Survivor Syndrome

Older Adults with HIV make up 60 percent of all people living with the virus in the United States. But the majority cohort continues to overlooked and ignored by HIV/AIDS care, services and community-based organizations, international and national AIDS conferences, and governmental bodies.

The median age of the people living with HIV in America is 58. Approximately 660,000 of the estimated 1.1 million women, men and transgender people living with the virus over age 50. A proportion that in 2020 will increase to 70 percent.

As HIV activists, we hear a lot about “key populations,” disparities” and “bridging the gaps.” The conversation usually revolves around gender, gender expression, race and poverty and the roles they play in people with HIV lives.

Current Care Policy Leaves Older Adults with HIV Behind

But the topic of Aging and HIV isn’t brought up. Why is it that the largest key population—Older Adults with HIV—is never included in these gaps? Why do older people with HIV receive the least attention, funding, and focus?

It would be easy to point the finger at discrimination based on age, or ageism. While that is undoubtedly part of the problem, there is more to it.

For one, HIV has all but disappeared from the mainstream headlines in the U.S. It was once a fatal disease and is now a “chronic manageable disease,” ignoring the fact that without daily medications it is still deadly. Most long-term survivors scoff at the idea that it is easily managed. HIV/AIDS is no longer on most people’s mind.

For another, the HIV care community and conferences have overoptimistically focused a cure (which remains elusive) and being “AIDS-Free” by some arbitrary date. It was once in 2020, and now it is 2030.

The people and agencies providing our care are more focused on the future while older adults are regarded as relics of a bygone era. Our lives are defined by mass causalities, enormous loss, caretaking, illness, and ensuing trauma. We hear little about the astounding resilience of the first generation of people with HIV/AIDS. We do not think of individuals living with this virus for 20 and 30-plus years are the pioneers of the AIDS epidemic. We are survivors of the worst epidemic in history. Alas, too often we are just thought of as old.

Examples of the indifference include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention ("CDC") is aging data from 2013, old statics which vastly under-represents the present-day reality. September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. But the folks that originated the day have all but abandoned it. The website has not been updated years. If there’s a theme for 2018, I can’t find it.

This ongoing in indifference has an impact on the health and well-being of older adults. Lost in the apathy are the complexities and nuances of HIV and aging. What about our lives right now?

For instance, the differences in quality of life for long-term survivors and those older adults who have acquired HIV more recently. These facets matter.

Polypharmacy is a big word for the number of medications we take for “non–HIV comorbidities.” We appear to be aging at an accentuated rate too. Older adults with HIV are more likely to exhibit characteristics of people in their 60s, 70s or even 80s. In other words, 60 is the new 70 for those living with HIV for decades.

I often wonder if part of the problem is the aim established by the CDC and UNAIDS which states the “ultimate goal is achieving viral suppression.” They don’t have a vision for what happens next. What is beyond viral suppression for a population aging with HIV?

What about those living with HIV who are who’ve been undetectable for years. Then what? It seems to be the end of a conversation not the start of another dialogue about. How about we focus on what it will take to change the narrative to what it will take for healthy aging with HIV? How does that look? Isn’t that a worthier goal?

Aging is not on the agenda. It is time to change this. It will take us demanding it and not put up with invisibility. We are the ones that changed the face of healthcare advocacy for all diseases. Are we up for doing the something to envision an agenda for aging with HIV?

Some communities around the country are taking matters into their own hands and holding dedicated HIV and Aging Conferences. I’ve spoken at some of these conferences, and they are incredible. But are we not worthy of an “aging track” or the spotlight on the main stage at expensive AIDS conferences?

The thing I hear most from older adults and long-term survivors is they feel forgotten and invisible. If this is how we treat our aging population what’s the message we are sending to young people living with HIV?

It seems the focus is on “ushering in an AIDS-Free generation” and a concerted effort to End AIDS by, first it was 2020, now it is 2030. What does “ending AIDS” mean to those of us living with AIDS for decades? Most of us finishing it “after I’m dead.”

I know we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can envision an AIDS-free generation and ensure that our health care system and services are empowering the first generation to live meaningful and healthier lives.

Learn more about Let’s Kick ASS—AIDS Survivor Syndrome online at https://letskickass.hiv.

What is AIDS Survivor Syndrome? And why you need to know.




Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

State Departments of Corrections Lack Focus on HIV Care for Former Inmates

By: Marcus J. Hopkins, Consultant, Community Access National Network (CANN)

It has been nearly 40 years since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began showing up across the United States, and after all this time, with the amazing level of resources and support available for those living with the disease, it became clear that there was little information publicly available concerning incarcerated populations. To that end, all 50 states’ and the District of Columbia’s respective Departments of Correction (DOCs) were contacted by the ADAP Advocacy Association and Community Access National Network (CANN) to inquire about their procedures for preparing inmates living with HIV for reentry into the general population. Not surprisingly, our research re-confirmed the disparities that exist in serving former inmates.

A few of the disparities are highlighted in the findings presented earlier this week in an infographic, which was made available by the ADAP Advocacy Association as part of its ongoing Correctional Health Project. The infographic can be downloaded from their website.

1 in 6 of the 1.2 million people living with HIV pass through correctional settings

HIV is currently a disease that requires lifelong treatment that must be adhered to regularly in order to achieve and maintain Viral Suppression – when the Viral Load (the number of HIV virus cells active in the body) measures below 40 copies per milliliter (aka – Undetectable). With new data showing that Undetectable = Untransmittable, it is more important than ever for people living with HIV to have access to their medications in order to both stay healthy, and to prevent transmission of the disease to others. Former inmates deserve the same access to care and treatment as the general population, especially upon their discharge from prison.

We found that 31.3% of state DOCs fail to disclose the amount of meds inmates are provided upon release, making it difficult to track or accurately report the circumstances inmates face upon reentering the general population. In addition, 27.4% of states provide NO policy information on their reentry programs, whatsoever.

Rhode Island’s DOC has perhaps the most comprehensive HIV care program in the U.S. justice system, both during and post-incarceration. The state contracts with the state university to provide care throughout the inmate’s stay at state facilities and ensures that continuity of care continues by keeping inmates with their same providers after they leave (should they stay in the state). Additionally, inmates are provided with an excellent comprehensive reentry program that integrates the state’s Ryan White program and assists with the Medicaid application process. They also look into accessing HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS) to help provide housing if they are returning without a reliable home.

New Hampshire's DOC was unaware of the Ryan White Program. We were able to provide them information about the program and connect them with the state's Ryan White Director. NH is currently determining whether or not to incorporate Ryan White as part of their Reentry Program for inmates living with HIV/AIDS who do not qualify for Medicaid.

The latter story should be considered a success story for the Correctional Health Project – introducing state DOC’s to resources for reentering inmates living with HIV that can help them to maintain continuity of care between incarceration and reintegration into the general population is one of the primary goals. Additional resources will be made available on this project continues to unfold this year.


Read our related blogs on this topic:

Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Reflections from an HIV Advocate's Journey: Michael Zee Zalnasky

By: Michael Zee Zalnasky, Founder, The AIDS HIV Survivor Living Memorial

Only diagnosed with AIDS in August 2014, I quickly learned about the ramifications of revealing one's status. The first person who I revealed my status to was my Supervisor, and it cost me my job...my livelihood...along with my pride and integrity. Little did I know it would create a fight in me to stand up to any challenge, so I made a conscious decision to simply tell all. In doing so, I re-gained my self-confidence, my self-pride, and sharing my story released a courage that I didn’t know existed inside of me.

Michael Zee Zalnasky

I quickly realized it was a life-changing decision that I could live with because it left me with nothing — absolutely nothing — to hide. Being public about my status wasn’t enough. I wanted others to feel the freedom associated with open disclosure and the benefits of being open about living with HIV/AIDS, such as less stress. Ironically, support came from every direction; even from people who I didn’t expect to give it.

I had lost a dear friend in the early eighties following her AIDS diagnosis. Shame led her to take her own life. After my diagnosis, I promised myself that I would never feel that same shame. I set out on a journey to change the way the world views HIV/AIDS. I decided to make it bright, bold, and beautiful! I’d make it colorful. Next, simple framed graphics designed to empower others to reveal their HIV status publicly. The journey led me to create The AIDS HIV Survivor Living Memorial on Facebook as Public Group. Better known as The Digital Living Quilt, it now has worldwide participation and it is slowly changing the face of HIV/AIDS.

For me, it has been a game changer, if you will, because there are so many requests to be part of the Digital Living Quilt. It is amazing what it has done to the for so many people living with HIV/AIDS. This life-changing, inspiring work is something that I could never be more proud off.

It has given our community a platform to say, “Look at me. I’m HIV+ and I don’t need to hide.” The Digital Living Quilt is creating a place where, together, we’re pushing back against HIV-related shame and stigma.

My work and dedication to helping others has led me to great opportunities, such as being awarded a scholarship to the 11th Annual ADAP Conference in September. It is an event I’m more than thankful to be attending with fellow advocates, and making new connections. The AIDS Drug Assistance Program is a much needed program for so many, including me as a person who’s benefited from it.

Our self-advocacy is needed because it is changing the way others see life living with HIV/AIDS. Eliminating HIV-related shame and stigma can only lead to better lives for all of us. I invite you to visit the Digital Living Quilt online.


Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

An Inherent Value in Advocacy Partnerships

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

As we've witnessed our national dialogue boil over into "us versus them" or "red versus blue" or "urban versus rural" or the even more egregious "you're either with us or you're against us", it is important to remember there is an inherent value in advocacy partnerships. It is even more important for the HIV advocacy community to continue to leverage broad partnerships, rather than retreat into corners. Adopting the latter approach would surely result in less potent national and state-level advocacy, fewer programmatic outcomes, and far less access to care and treatment for the patients who need it.

The ADAP Advocacy Association has long boasted in its tag line that it "works with advocates, community, health care, government, patients, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders." Yet, all too often, some question why one group or another is invited to sit our communal table. Unfortunately, it is happening more so in recent years. It is a troubling trend, no doubt.

Our organization's primary audience is the patient. One of our core value statements is that the voice of individuals living with HIV/AIDS shall always be at the table and the center of the discussion. All too often the patient voice is pushed aside, or not even included in important conversations because they're characterized as "bitching and moaning" rather than proposing solutions. But haven't patients earned that right, because after all they're the ones living with the damn disease? That said, such an narrow attitude under-estimates the valuable contributions made by patients every single day!


Likewise, state health department employees aren't the enemy. They are our partners and if state agencies are doing something counterintuitive to promoting greater access to care and treatment, then it is the advocacy community's and patient community's role to engage them. Joey Wynn, who serves as a board member to this organization, routinely engages state agencies in Florida...including when those same agencies are doing something the local advocacy community finds potentially harmful. Joey's approach has served people living with HIV/AIDS in South Florida rather well, too. In fact, I've personally witnessed the effectiveness behind his approach at a town hall meeting in Miami (as seen above when Joey invited me to speak), as well as his past leadership with the Florida HIV/AIDS Advocacy Network ("FHAAN").

Beating up on pharmaceutical companies is easy, and it most certainly is a popular thing to do. Yet, it is indeed possible to push back on the high cost of prescription drug prices while simultaneously working with these same partners to fight harmful public policy proposals, such as federal budget cuts, or the dangerous idea of drug importation.

Rev. William Barber II at Moral Monday rally in North Carolina
Photo Source: Wikipedia

Nashville, Tennessee-based advocate and social media guru Josh Robbins is prime example! Josh has partnered with numerous private entities  such as medical diagnostic companies and pharmaceutical companies  and various public agencies  including health departments  to promote a litany of public health initiatives ranging from National HIV Testing Day, U=U, and access to PrEP. His groundbreaking work in Tennessee could not have been achieved operating from a silo.

Wanda Brendle-Moss, who also serves as a board member to this organization, recently reflected on her HIV advocacy journey. Wanda has demonstrated that collaboration is an effective advocacy tool in North Carolina, evidenced by her relationships with the North Carolina AIDS Action Network, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition ("NCHRC"), and the Rev. William Barber II's Moral Mondays (as seen in the photo above). Wanda would work with anyone who will answer her phone call, email, or text!

Speaking of North Carolina and NCHRC, under the leadership of the former executive director, Robert Childs, progressive harm reduction policies were adopted in a conservative state with an even more conservative General Assembly. Such legislative victories in the state included achieving syringe exchange programs, expanded Naloxone access, Good Samaritan protections, prescription drug monitoring programs, among other things. How? It was the advocacy partnerships developed by NCHRC, including with some VERY unlikely allies.

Nationally, efforts such as the ongoing U=U campaign ("Undetectable = Untransmittable") to reduce HIV-related stigma could not have happened without Bruce Richman's steady leadership. It isn't surprising that Bruce has assembled an extremely broad coalition of community partners, representing all stakeholder groups.

The most effective advocacy is rooted in advocacy partnerships, and not rivalries. With the current occupant residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue being so unfriendly to our community, such advocacy partnerships are even more important now!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Award Honorees Embody Our Commitment to the Public Health Safety Net

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The ADAP Advocacy Association announced earlier this week the honorees for its Annual ADAP Leadership Awards, which recognize individual, community, government and corporate leaders who are working to improve access to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS  including under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). The 2017-2018 award honorees reflect the theme of the organization's 11th Annual ADAP Conference, “Mapping a New Course to Protect the Public Health Safety Net,” being held in next month in Washington, DC.

As in years past, it is always difficult selecting the honorees for the various awards because so much amazing work continues to be done fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. But some work always stands out and it deserves our recognition! It is our way of saying, thank you.

aaa+ Leadership Awards

The following awards will be presented during the Annual ADAP Leadership Awards Dinner, which will be hosted on Friday, September 21st:
  • “William E. Arnold” ADAP Champion awarded to Evelyn Foust, Director of the North Carolina DHHS Communicable Diseases Branch. Evelyn has been instrumental in the implementation of the ADAP premium assistance in the state. 
  • ADAP Corporate Partner awarded to Lambda Legal for their tireless work on behalf of so many people living with HIV/AIDS, including most recently with Harrison v. Mattis & Doe v. Mattis
  • ADAP Lawmaker awarded to the Honorable John McCain, Arizona’s senior U.S. Senator, for his courageous thumbs down vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. Sen. McCain's surprise vote ensured countless people living with HIV/AIDS continued to receive care. Former President Barack Obama even called McCain to thank him!
  • ADAP Community Organization awarded to the Community Research Initiative ("CRI"), based in Boston, MA. CRI embodies the community-based focus that has long been associated with appropriate and timely access to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. Serving over 12,000 clients in the greater metropolitan area of Boston, CRI not only manages Massachusetts’ AIDS Drug Assistance Program, but it has also been on the front lines in fighting Hepatitis C, training service providers on culturally competent care, and advocating for successful prevention strategies, just to name a few. Learn more at https://crine.org
  • ADAP Social Media Campaign awarded to Jennifer Vaughan for her YouTube channel,"Jennifer’s Positive HIV Life,"with over 10,000 subscribers and with almost 2 million views on her 90+ videos about living with HIV/AIDS.
Information about the awards (including former honorees) is listed online at  www.adapadvocacyassociation.org/awards.html.

Tickets for the awards dinner can be purchased online. This year's awards dinner will be headlined by the one and only, Josh Robbins (who also happens to be a past award honoree).

Congratulations to the honorees of the 2017-2018 ADAP Leadership Awards!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Reflections from an HIV Advocate's Journey: Wanda Brendle-Moss

By: Wanda Brendle-Moss, Board Member, ADAP Advocacy Association

It amazes me when people praise me for “being so brave" for telling my story, or this one: "I can never do what you do!” But here is the truth; I was diagnosed with HIV in July 2002, with AIDS in May 2008 (and that’s another story to be shared later), yet my advocacy journey didn’t start until I became homeless in December 2009. It took me SEVEN years to find my bravery. My local AIDS Service Organization placed me in transitional housing and unknown to them, it gave me courage to start a new and exciting journey.

Wanda Brendle-Moss
Photo Source: HIVPlus Magazine

Upon reflection, social media made it easier for me to find my footing in the advocacy world. I volunteered during AIDS 2012 after many months of joining in social media advocacy. Yet, even still I was still tentative in calling myself an advocate. I added my name to the email lists of all the top national HIV advocacy groups, including that of ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+). This one was important to me personally because North Carolina was having all sorts of problems and it led to issues for those of us dependent on ADAP funding to receive our meds! At one time, North Carolina had one of the largest ADAP waiting lists, too.

In 2013, I attended my very first ADAP Conference after the ADAP Advocacy Association extended a scholarship to me. I was the ONLY attendee from my state! I felt so overwhelmed, yet at same time felt a tiny flicker of determination being born! Brandon Macsata, who I was in awe of because he ensured patients are front and center, offered me much encouragement to “spread my advocacy wings”, and to not be afraid to “just do it”! That encouragement started me on journey to the advocate many of you know today. Years later, Brandon was so impressed with my growth as a self advocate that he asked me to join the organization’s board of directors!

I’ve learned that advocacy cannot be dictated by anyone, or any organization. We are all different, and we have different ways of engaging in the fight to end the epidemic. It is troubling to see some organizations shut out the patient voice, while others use it to protect systems rather than people. Each of us living with or impacted by HIV must learn how to be advocates. Blogging may not be for you. Protesting might not be a good fit for you. Meeting one-on-one with lawmakers may intimidate you. And that is okay! There are still days when I wonder if I am a worthy advocate, and I reflect: YES I AM

All these words are simply meant to encourage you to take that leap of faith and believe in yourself, even through the setbacks! Get online and join listservs of organizations who do the work you’re passionate about! Take that first step and before you know it you will be telling your story!

I look forward to meeting you as our advocacy journeys cross paths!


Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

In May 2018, drug pricing took center stage as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released its proposed Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs. It what has been characterized as "a way forward in fight against mushrooming costs,"[1] HHS has set the stage for an extremely important debate...and likely the most contentious battle on health policy since passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Drug Prices
Photo Source: NBC WPSD-6

According to the Notice published in the Federal Register, HHS' blueprint covers multiple areas including, but not limited to:[2]
  • Improving competition and ending the gaming of the regulatory process,
  • supporting better negotiation of drug discounts in government-funded insurance programs,
  • creating incentives for pharmaceutical companies to lower list prices, and,
  • reducing out-of-pocket spending for patients at the pharmacy and other sites of care.
Comments on the blueprint were due on or before July 16, 2018.

The ADAP Advocacy Association endorsed two coalition letters submitted to HHS.

One letter, spearheaded by the Patient Access Network Foundation (PAN), "cautions against HHS undertaking policy changes without evidence-based research. HHS must be confident that any changes it makes will have the intended positive impact on individuals and families, with no unintended consequences that could harm patients and make prescription drugs less affordable and accessible."[3] PAN's letter was signed by 52 patient advocacy organizations, representing millions of patients with serious, life-threatening, chronic, complex and disabling conditions.

The other letter was a collaborative effort led by the HIV Health Care Access Working Group (HHCAWG), which represents over 100 national and community-based HIV service organizations representing HIV medical providers, public health professionals, advocates, and people living with HIV who are all committed to ensuring access to critical HIV- and Hepatitis C-related health care and support services.

We have compiled a listing of the comments submitted by some other organizations, which are available to download here:

__________

[1] Aronson, Lauren (2018, July 13). Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices could offer a way forward in fight against mushrooming costs. The Hill. Retrieved online at http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/396883-blueprint-to-lower-drug-prices-could-offer-a-way-forward-in.
[2] A Notice by the Health and Human Services Department (2018, May 16). HHS Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs. Retrieved online at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/16/2018-10435/hhs-blueprint-to-lower-drug-prices-and-reduce-out-of-pocket-costs.
[3] Naples, Maggie (2018, July 17). National Patient Advocacy Organizations Come Together to Respond to the HHS Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket (OOP) Costs. Patient Access Network Foundation. Retrieved online at https://panfoundation.org/index.php/en/about-us/media-room/national-patient-advocacy-organizations-come-together-to-respond-to-the-hhs-blueprint-to-lower-drug-prices-and-reduce-out-of-pocket-oop-costs.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

UPDATE: Hey Trump! Hands Off Our Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program!

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The ADAP Blog last week addressed troubling news that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS") planned to divert funds from existing programs to pay for the rising cost associated with the Trump Administration's controversial "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. This statement was indeed true (as fact checked by Snopes),[1] though fortunately the impact is debatable since none of the diverted funding came from the current year's program. What it did accomplish was to ignite a firestorm among many in the HIV grassroots community.

Snopes: True

The good news, especially for the HIV grassroots community, is none of the transferred funding will impact Ryan White-funded supports or services to people living with HIV/AIDS for the current program year. The transfer included expired Ryan White funds from FY 2016, which hadn't been spent and was due to be returned to the U.S. Treasury. Basically the news is still bad, but not nearly as bad as initially thought.

Though news about HHS transferring funds only broke last week by Slate, it has subsequently been determined that the transfer request was made in January 2017. As reported by POLITICO, nearly $200 million in funds were moved to address the refugee crisis, including "at least $17 million in unspent funds on the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program."[1]

Emily Holubowich, executive director of the Coalition for Health Funding, raised an excellent point in the POLITICO article when she argued, "If there’s leftover money from Ryan White, it should go to support programs for poor people with HIV and AIDS, not this outrageous separation policy."[3]

This point is exactly why the flames are still burning among many grassroots activists at the state and local levels. It begs the question, couldn't those Ryan White dollars have been used to expand drug formularies under the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs ("ADAP") to pay for anti-diarrhea medications, or Hepatitis C ("HCV") therapies for people co-infected with HCV, or lipodystrophy treatments? These concerns were spelled out in a blog earlier this year.

Donald J. Trump
Photo Source: NY Magazine

Furthermore, at what point does the HIV community draw a red line with the Trump Administration and its Family-Research Council ("FRC") cronies known for their anti-immigrant, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic views? This Administration has been attacking people living with HIV/AIDS for the last eighteen months by proposing harsh federal budgetsdemonstrating a flagrant disregard for the public health systemignoring key leadership postssanctioning discrimination by healthcare workersundermining the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and most recently deleting 20 years of critical medical guidelines. Make no mistake...Trump and the FRC have brought the fight to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Overall the Ryan White program, in general, and ADAPs, specifically, are extremely well-run programs. This is a message that the community should embrace, and not run away from out of fear. The best defense is a good offense!

__________

[1] Garcia, Arturo (2018, July 13). Are Federal HIV Treatment Funds Being Used for Immigrant Internment? Snopes. Retrieved from: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hiv-treatment-funds-immigrants/.

[2] Diamond, Dan (2018, July 18). Trump’s migrant fiasco diverts millions from health programs. POLITICO. Retrieved from: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-migrants-health-programs-692955.
[3] Diamond, Dan (2018, July 18). Trump’s migrant fiasco diverts millions from health programs. POLITICO. Retrieved from: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-migrants-health-programs-692955.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hey Trump! Hands Off Our Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program!

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

Earlier this week, Slate reported that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS") planned to divert funds from existing programs to pay for the rising cost associated with the Trump Administration's controversial "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. The policy, which separates children from their families on the southern border, is overseen by the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, and it is burning through so much cash that it needs more. In the crossfire is millions of dollars in funding designated for HIV/AIDS services under the Ryan White CARE Act.[1]

According to the reporting by Slate, HHS is planning for a surge in immigrant minors over the next three months:[2]
"The internal documents estimate that if 25,400 beds are needed, ORR would face a budget shortfall of $585 million for ORR in fiscal year 2018, which ends on Sept. 30. Under this scenario, that shortfall would increase to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, adding up to a total shortfall of $1.9 billion for the period between Oct. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2018. The documents stress that these budget estimates represent maximum possible expenditures and that actual expenses may be lower. The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to multiple requests for comment about these figures or anything else relating to the documents."
In order to offset the budgetary shortfall, HHS will seek supplemental appropriations from Congress, as well as reallocate existing funds from within the department  including Ryan White funding. Slate's reporting also indicates the process of transferring those HIV/AIDS funds is underway.

The ADAP Advocacy Association has strongly condemned this decision. In an era when people living with HIV/AIDS are already facing enough uncertainty over the current government's commitment to fighting the epidemic, it was the latest setback to achieving an AIDS-free generation.


The pushback from a leading national patient advocacy group was swift when news broke that the Trump Administration would use Ryan White HIV/AIDS program dollars to fund its widely unpopular family separation policy at the southern border. AIDS United CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. issued a strongly-worded statement on the funding reallocation:[2]
"As a payer of last resort, the Ryan White Program covers services for people that have no other means to pay for them. Any shortages in funding to the program would result in essential services not provided to potentially thousands of Americans. This could mean people not receiving life-saving medications or losing insurance coverage because funding was not available to cover their premiums. For an administration that just recently proclaimed its commitment to ending the HIV epidemic in this country, stripping funding from the largest HIV-specific federal program defies all logic."
The fact that the money being diverted is "unspent" money makes no difference to people living with HIV/AIDS who rely on Ryan White-related supports and services. There are always creative ways to spend or transfer federal money within an agency's budget,[4] because it happens all of the time. And considering there are ongoing challenges facing ADAP consumers limiting their access to care, such as restrictive drug formularies, that money should be spent on people living with HIV/AIDS. (Editor's Note: Read our previous blog on open drug formularies, "ADAP Open Drug Formulary Programs Improve Access to Care & Treatment; So why are there so few?")

Numerous national LGBTQ groups also condemned the news, including Lambda Legal and Human Rights Campaign. It appears that this development is fluid, and we will continue to closely monitor it.

__________

[1] Stern, Mark Joseph. (2018, July 10). Trump’s Office of Refugee Resettlement Is Budgeting for a Surge in Child Separations. Slate. Retrieved from: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/trumps-office-of-refugee-resettlement-is-budgeting-for-a-surge-in-child-separations.html
[2] Stern, Mark Joseph. (2018, July 10). Trump’s Office of Refugee Resettlement Is Budgeting for a Surge in Child Separations. Slate. Retrieved from: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/trumps-office-of-refugee-resettlement-is-budgeting-for-a-surge-in-child-separations.html
[3] Milan, Jr., Jesse. (2018, July 10). AIDS UNITED STATEMENT ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO REALLOCATE RYAN WHITE FUNDING FOR CHILD SEPARATION TIED TO ZERO TOLERANCE BORDER POLICY. AIDS United. Retrieved from: https://www.aidsunited.org/News/Default.aspx?id=1197
[4] EveryCRSReport.com (2013, June 6). Transfer and Reprogramming of Appropriations: An Overview of Authorities, Limitations, and Procedures. R43098. Retrieved from https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/R43098.html.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Linkages to Care During Post-Incarceration

By: Jonathan J. Pena, intern, ADAP Advocacy Association, and rising junior in social work, North Carolina State University

The ADAP Advocacy Association late last year announced its Correctional Health Project, which aims to raise awareness about issues confronting formerly incarcerated populations living with HIV/AIDS (and/or Hepatitis C) who also access care and treatment (or whom could benefit from such care and treatment) under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ("ADAP"), as well as provide useful resources and tools to the communities serving them. A subsequent blog also focused on the issue. While this approach is an effort to sharpen the scope and need for access to care and treatment for HIV-infection (and/or HCV) among formally incarcerated populations, it is equally important to widen to the lens just for a minute in order to see where we stand globally on the issue of incarceration.

Incarceration rates are highest in the United States out of any country, which translates to 910 per 100,000 adults.[1] When you factor in the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S, a sixth of this population are entering prisons and jails and also transitioning back into their communities.[2] This sets the stage for an enormous request to address the needs of these populations so that the public health system may begin to seal the cracks that they fall through by utilizing accurate assessments and combining it with proactive case management in order to link them to care.

Programs do exist, such as State ADAPs, which are designed to assist these individuals. But the most recent National ADAP Monitoring Project demonstrates that ADAPs are assisting some of these individuals, it is also clear more can be done to assist them. The National AIDS Strategy also provides some guidance to help formerly incarcerated populations achieve viral suppression.

Viral suppression is crucial for HIV-positive ex-offenders during post-incarceration but the challenges that they face can seem monstrous and when faced with so many immediate competing needs like housing, food and transportation, continuity of viral suppression may fall by the waste side. Very often the linkage to care is lost for these populations due to poor discharge planning and thus limited access to quality based community programs. As a result the natural onset of vulnerability that is placed on an HIV-positive ex-offender is amplified when re-entering their communities that the possibility for them to engage in risky behavior like drug use, and transactional unprotect sex to maintain goods increases. These negative affects of poor discharge planning not only hurts the ex-offender but also hurts those within their community with other possible new cases of infection if they are not adherent to their medication.

Staying Strong Inside
Photo Source: SERO

Jails and prison systems are such dynamic institutions that they face additional compounding challenges to providing heath services other than HIV. With such a revolving door, these institutions have to tackle issues like addiction and mental illness. However, what seems to be alarming is the rate of HCV infections. A team of researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney pooled together a series of data from 196 countries spanning from 2005 through 2015 that aimed at determining the number of inmates with HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and TB. This data indicated that out of 10 million inmates, HCV ranked at the top with 15.1% of infections and with HIV estimated at 3.8% of infections.[3]

As the ADAP Advocacy Association's Correctional Health Project continues to take shape, it is important to convey some of the needs driving our interest behind it. Important community resources will be made available in a few months.

__________

[1]  The Lancet HIV. (2017, November 27). Predictors of linkage to HIV care and  suppression after release from jails and prison: a retrospective cohort study. Retrieved from: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhiv/article/PIIS2352-3018(17)30209-6/fulltext?code=lancet-site
[2] The Lancet HIV. (2017, November 27). Predictors of linkage to HIV care and  suppression after release from jails and prison: a retrospective cohort study. Retrieved from: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhiv/article/PIIS2352-3018(17)30209-6/fulltext?code=lancet-site
[3] HIVandHepatitis. (2016, September 07). AIDS 2016: Neglect of Infectious Disease in Prisons Highlighted at Conference. Retrieved from: http://www.hivandhepatitis.com/hiv-epidemiology/5845-aids-2016-neglect-of-infectious-disease-in-prisons-highlighted-at-conference




Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part B & ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors ("NASTAD") earlier this year released its annual report on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ("ADAP"), 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report. It includes state-level program-related major findings, tables, with data, and thus it provides the most comprehensive snapshot on all 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the six U.S. Pacific Territories. It is a must-read for ADAP stakeholders!

2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report
Photo Source: NASTAD

Upon releasing the 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report, NASTAD issued the following statement:
"Building on the 22-year history of reporting on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), the National ADAP Monitoring Project, including the Annual Report, has evolved to include the program under which ADAP falls – the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B program.  The Annual Report has thus been renamed and reimagined.  The 2018 National RWHAP Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (The Report) includes narrative and findings that span the totality of the RWHAP Part B program and reflect the reality that the achievements of ADAPs and other elements of the RWHAP Part B programs are inextricably linked."[1]
The report includes relevant information about ADAP's funding and structure, as well as key programmatic details  such as number of clients served, viral load suppression rates, and medical program expenditures. This year's report also includes important sections on structural inequities and the changing health care landscape. Infographics once again accompanied this year's report. In addition, a glossary of key ADAP terms can be found on the NASTAD website.

In FY2017, Congress appropriated $1.4 billion for RWHAP Part B programs, with $898.8 million appropriated to ADAP specifically. Funding was also allocated to 24 Part B Supplemental grants, 9 Part B ADAP Supplemental Treatment grants, and 9 ADAP Emergency Relief grants. Additional funding sources included Part A contribution allocated to Part B (2), State contributions (31), drug rebates (46), and other State/Federal funds (23).[2]

Some key findings include:
  • Fourth open enrollment period via Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace ended on April 30, 2017[3]
  • Part B estimated drug rebates = $193,335,704[4]
  • ADAP estimated drug rebates = $723,825,912[5]
  • $398.2 million in estimated expenditures insurance purchasing/continuation[6]
  • 48% ADAP clients served by full-pay prescription program only[7]
  • 38% ADAP clients served by ADAP-funded insurance program only[8]
  • 14% ADAP clients served by ADAP-funded insurance and full-pay prescription programs[9]
  • 273,680 RWHAP Part B & ADAP clients enrolled[10]
Other key component of the report include valuable information about clients co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C ("HCV"), incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations, aging populations (and related morbidity and mortality), and clients impacted by substance use. As is customary, NASTAD should be applauded for their amazing work on pulling together all of this information for ADAP stakeholders.

To download the 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report, go to https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.

__________

[1] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report. Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[2] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 9). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[3] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 11). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[4] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 15). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[5] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 15). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[6] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 25). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[7] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 27). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[8] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 27). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[9] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 27). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.
[10] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2018, May). 2018 National Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (p. 30). Retrieved from https://www.nastad.org/PartBADAPreport.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Why Our Annual ADAP Leadership Awards Are More Than a Shiny Plaque

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The ADAP Advocacy Association earlier this week announced the Call for Nominations for its 2018 Annual ADAP Leadership Awards. The awards recognize individual, community, government and corporate leaders who are working to improve access to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS - notably under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Whereas the honorees are awarded a shiny plaque, more importantly they receive the acknowledgment and appreciation for their meaningful contributions to ending the epidemic impacting the 1.1 million people in the United States who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Submit a nomination at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F52YKT3.


Nominations are solicited annually from the community, and honorees are selected by an Awards Committee comprised of our board members, as well as other ADAP stakeholders (including former award honorees). The awards are presented to the honorees during our Annual ADAP Leadership Awards Dinner, which is held at the conclusion of our Annual AIDS Drug Assistance Program Conference in Washington, DC. This year's awards dinner is slated for Friday, September 21st and it will be headlined by the one-and-only Josh Robbins, who is "one of the coolest HIV-positive patient advocates in the history of the world."

The award categories focus on community-based advocacy, social media advocacy, and grassroots advocacy. Additionally, individuals are recognized for their contributions with the "William E. Arnold" ADAP Champion award, Emerging Leader award, and Lawmaker award. Other awards are also part of the annual celebration of the grit, grind, satisfaction, and tribulations associated with fighting the epidemic.

2018 represents the eleventh year that the ADAP Advocacy Association has publicly thanked honorees for their leadership, and since 2010, it has been done at our awards dinner. We invite you to nominate someone today at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F52YKT3.