First Monday in October

Traditionally, the first Monday in October is the day that the US Supreme Court convenes following its summer recess. On Tuesday, Oct 8th the court will hear three cases about whether it is legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court will decide if federal laws that ban discrimination based on sex apply to a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Given the current make-up of the court, the outcome is not certain. If we lose, the decision will codify discrimination into the law and run contrary to the court’s ruling on marriage equality. In 2015, the Court ruled that states cannot deny two people the right to get married based upon their sexual orientation because of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. Same-sex couples, thereby, had the same terms and conditions for marriage as mixed-sex couples. States could not discriminate based on the sex of either marriage applicant. If states can’t discriminate, can employers?

People living with HIV are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities including those living with the virus. That means if you are LGBTQ+ living with HIV, employers cannot discriminate against you for having HIV, but in 25 states they can fire you for being gay, lesbian or bisexual. And in 26 states, you can be fired for being of transgender experience and/or gender non-conforming. Approximately half of Americans reside in a state where you can fired for identifying as LGBTQ+.

The majority of people living with HIV are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Stigma and discrimination are things that they face on a daily basis. Often it is impossible to differentiate where the discrimination started. Were you fired because you are living with HIV or because of your sexual orientation and/or gender identity? Will the Americans with Disabilities Act protect people living with HIV if they are fired because they are LGBTQ+ identified? Is that distinction even possible to make? Can you imagine there is an employer who will protect the straight people living with HIV, but fire the LGBTQ+ person living with the virus?

Why does this matter to our efforts to end the HIV epidemic in America? Over the last 35 years, we’ve seen and documented the impact that stigma has on PLHIV. We’ve learned how stigma impacts access and retention in healthcare and adherence to meds. Whether the stigma comes from living with HIV, race, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation, it is usually impossible to tell. Our efforts to end HIV must address the stigma that the Court may codify into law. If you can be fired for identifying as LGBTQ+, that makes us by law second class citizens who are not worthy of the same rights as our straight counterparts.


The states colored in grey do not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public or private employment. The ones in purple or pink only offer limited protections for public employees.

How many of those states are part of our efforts to end the HIV epidemic?



Here is the map for our efforts to end the HIV epidemic. The dots represent the local jurisdictions and the states in blue represent the states that are part of the effort. Of the seven states that are targeted in the federal effort to end HIV, none of them fully prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public and private employment.

Regardless of the state or jurisdiction, most people living with HIV feel that discrimination and stigma are challenges that impact their daily lives. Even if the target jurisdictions has laws that protect them (most of them do), they live in the country where the courts will soon decide if they are second class citizens, not worthy of the same protections. This is important because our solutions must fit within the political realities of where people living with HIV live and why we must fight against laws that discriminate against the communities that are highly impacted by HIV.

For decades, Congress has tried to amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, sexual identity, sex-based stereotypes, as well as other life facts.  In fact, on May 17, 2019, the House again passed the act, and again, Majority Leader McConnell is refusing to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote.

This is a terrible injustice and we find ourselves depending on a conservative Supreme Court to protect LGBTQ citizens because the Senate has again failed to act.

I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court recognizes the refusal of the Senate to allow a vote on the Equality Act.  Millions of Americans risk getting fired or losing their housing based on who they are and who they love.

On behalf of NMAC’s staff and Board, I strongly urge the Supreme Court to do the right thing – to protect all LGBTQ Americans from employment and housing discrimination.  And I call upon Senate Majority Leader McConnell to stop obstructing justice for these Americans – pass the Equality Act.

Onward. Together.

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata

HOPWA Cuts Endanger HIV Fight

This week’s “Ending the Epidemic” is from Ace Robinson, NMAC’s Director of Strategic Partnerships.

More than meds! More than meds!

It is a mantra that our community keeps preaching if we are serious about ending the HIV epidemic. In 2019, we have had medication that can prevent HIV acquisition after someone is exposed in the form of PEP for 14 years. We also have meds to prevent HIV acquisition before someone is exposed in the form of PrEP for the past seven years. We also know that people living with HIV (PLHIV) who have sustained access and use of treatment can live a longer and healthier life. And those people who can maintain sustained access to care and treatment and achieve viral suppression cannot sexually pass the virus onto another person, aka Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) or Treatment as Prevention (TasP).

Compared to 1987, when we opened our doors at NMAC, we have come light years ahead in our journey to End the Epidemic. But one thing that has become more abundantly clear with each passing day is that we will never achieve our common goal to End HIV with just meds. The stark reality is that HIV clinics still have a steady stream of new patients who are either newly diagnosed and have people who have fallen in and out of healthcare.

Why is that? HIV is more than just a virus. It is an opportunistic disease that is firmly rooted in the communities of greatest need. HIV, even more so than before, finds a way to harm the most vulnerable among us. And there are no people more vulnerable in this country than people who are sleeping on American streets. On any given night, over half a million people sleep in shelters are on the streets. And, according to the Office of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), 40% of those people identify as Black/African-American.

The ripple effect of housing insecurity knows no bounds. The HUD program called HOPWA, or Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS, is a lifeline for PLHIV and their families to access housing. And that’s why there is a nationwide call-to-action alert throughout the field of HIV. President Trump’s budget was released for 2020. The budget added nearly $300M in HIV funding for the new Ending the HIV Epidemic (EtHE) initiative announced in February at the State of the Union address. However, that HIV-specific funding increase for EtHE came at the same time as a proposed $63M decrease in HOPWA funding.

The impact on reducing access to HOPWA would be enormous. It would exceed its impact on just PLHIV. Recently Greg Millett, vice president of amfAR, stated, “We know that people living with HIV who are unstably housed are less likely to be virally suppressed. If you are virally suppressed, you are more likely to die from HIV while also making it possible to transmit the virus on to other people. This is why temporary housing subsidies are allowable under Medicaid and the Ryan White Care Act programs. It is an explicit recognition that housing status and health are interconnected.”

And Millett’s assertion is not just supported by PLHIV, their loved ones, and community-based organizations supporting HIV-impacted populations. A few weeks ago at NMAC’s United States Conference on AIDS (USCA), the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield proclaimed, “I believe it in every bone in my body. Housing is a medical issue…we are never going to get to the end game unless we recognize that housing is a medical issue.”

HOPWA is core to our ability to reduce the numbers of new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths. That fact is clear. HOPWA funding not only should not be decreased. HOPWA funding must be increased. Under no circumstances can we go backwards.

Public health is not rocket science. We must align what we already know is best to achieve our common goal to End HIV in America and beyond. It can and will be done.

Onward. Together.

Yours in the struggle,
Ace Robinson, MHL, MPH

Thank You

Thank you for another great United States Conference on AIDS. We are a movement, and a family and together we will change the world by ending the domestic HIV epidemic.

I am continually moved by the passion, commitment, and vision of the activists, caregivers, and providers on the frontlines.

This is an epic journey as we fight to end an epidemic that does not yet have a vaccine or cure. Can biomedical HIV prevention take us to the end?

There are people who will try to minimize our contributions because they don’t understand the value and power of community. Their privilege makes them believe they have answers for people that can’t begin to understand.

Here are some of the amazing comments I received on Facebook (I received their permission to reprint):

For leaders who want to extend their education about Biomedical HIV Prevention, we have moved the deadline to apply for scholarships for the 2019 Summit to Friday, September 20th.USCA 2020 will be in San Juan Puerto Rico, Oct. 10-13, 2020. The meeting was pushed to later in the year to avoid the peak of the hurricane season. USCA is going to Puerto Rico to 1) bring much needed economic development to the island after Hurricane Maria, 2) focus on the impact of HIV in the Latinx community, and 3) give attendees the experience of being in a meeting where English is not the only language.I want to extend a final thank you to the NMAC staff, board, and Constituent Advisory Panel members; to members of the DC Host Committee; and to our generous and committed sponsors, including:

And thank you to all 3,000 attendees. We hope it was all you wanted.

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata







Welcome to USCA!

This is going to be the largest United States Conference on AIDS. The weather is very concerning. We want everyone to be safe. The best way to stay informed about the conference is via the smartphone app. Go to Google Play or Apple app stores and search for “2019 USCA.” There are 160 workshops. The non-printed program book is 110 pages long. There are four plenaries and there will be long lines at registration and to get into plenary sessions. We apologize in advance and thank you for understanding. There is lots of interest and concerns about building federal plans to end the domestic HIV epidemic.
Hurricane Dorian

While Washington, DC is not directly impacted, attendees come from regions that might be hit by Hurricane Dorian. Your safety is our first concern. If you can’t make it because of Hurricane Dorian, USCA will refund your registration fee. Be safe and stay in touch. We just want to know you are OK.

If you are hosting a workshop and need to cancel, please inform Alison McKeithen/

If you have a scholarship and need to cancel, please inform your NMAC contact person.

If you need to change any of your travel or hotel reservations, please do it directly with the airline and/or hotel. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to provide this service. Be sure to read and follow all the cancellation policies.
  • USCA Host Hotel: Marriott Marquis, 202-824-9200
  • Courtyard Marriott (DC Convention Center), 202-589-1800
  • Embassy Suites, 202-739-2001
  • Cambria, 202-299-1188

Thank you for understanding and contacting the properties directly.

Disruptive Innovation!!!

An HIV leader recently said, “We are only going to end the HIV epidemic using disruptive innovation.” If we repeat what we’ve always done, we will probably get the same result. Ending the epidemic plans must do things differently in order to reach the people living with HIV who have fallen out of care or are unaware of their HIV status. To use disruptive innovation means to bring the promise of PrEP to communities that were missed in early efforts. Who is this person calling for disruptive innovation? It’s the head of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield. He is also the target for a protest at the Opening Plenary.

Dr. Robert Redfield portraitNMAC supports Dr. Redfield’s mandate for disruptive innovation and our community’s right to protest and speak truth to power. We agree that we can’t do things the same way and expect different results. Our concern is that this message is not getting to the field. How can we use disruptive innovation and build comprehensive community consultations into the jurisdictional plans, particularly when a “draft” of the plan is due by the end of the year? NMAC hopes the CDC will listen to the concerns that are raised and that we all work together to achieve Dr. Redfield’s goals of comprehensive community consultation and disruptive innovation!


As a meeting planner, protests give me acid reflux. As an activist, I understand their power and importance. At NMAC, our response to protests is based on our values. We believe that protests are in the DNA of the HIV movement. It is our shared legacy from the civil rights movement to the women’s movement to the fight for LGBTQ equality to ACT-UP. We stand on the shoulders of generations who stood up and spoke truth to power.

At the same time, we also know that knowledge is power. As oppressed people, we do not always have access to the people and information that can save our communities. Attendees come to USCA to listen and learn. NMAC has a responsibility to also ensure that result.

There is no space for hate speech, bullying, or violence. Given life’s traumas, particularly the trauma of living with HIV, NMAC fights to protect all the communities that are hardest hit by HIV.

The protest at the Opening is about the CDC. Naina Khanna thinks it’s more an organized and permitted speak-out. It was organized by PrEP4All and includes the Positive Women’s Network-USA, Housing Works, Positively Trans/Translatin@Coalition, People Living with HIV Caucus, and ThriveSS.  They are concerned about molecular HIV surveillance, clinical trials, guidelines, and prevention efforts. We’ve agreed in advance that the protest will be limited to 10 minutes so attendees can hear the full presentations from the speakers.

All of the Opening Speakers were informed in advance. To their credit, nobody pulled out. NMAC shared information about the speak-out because we don’t want to surprise anyone, particularly our federal colleagues. USCA does not want to “get” anyone. Our field needs real answers to some of the most complex questions of our times. How do we re-engage and keep the 250,000 people living with HIV who have fallen out of healthcare? How can we reach all the communities that need and could benefit from PrEP? What is the scale needed to reach all these people and the goals of the federal plan? What are the roles that race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, depression, and addiction play in HIV prevention, care, and services? There will be a private meeting after the plenary between Dr. Redfield and these organizations. The goal is to have a conversation.

It is a tough time in America. There are lots of reasons to be upset, confused, and mad. Can we put aside our differences and work together to end the HIV epidemic? This will be the biggest test of our leadership.

Using Culture To Highlight Communities

USCA believes that HIV prevention and care efforts must value the culture of the communities the work is trying to reach. All too often services are based on the institution and not the clients. We use culture to connect the humanity of the communities highly impacted by HIV and the provider of services to those communities. Saturday’s plenary is a celebration of people living with HIV and Undetectable equal Untransmittable, including HIV positive singers Branden James and Jade Elektra. Mykki Blanco is hosting a master lecture on how HIV impacts his art. Janssen is sponsoring a special showing of the documentary “5B.” Cliff Morrison and I will host a question and answer period following the film. On Saturday night we get to meet with Noah’s Arc star Rodney Chester and screen “Noah’s Arc: Jumping The Broom.”

Join NMAC and the DC USCA Host Committee for a welcome reception for all USCA attendees on Thursday, September 5th. Enjoy an evening of entertainment, fellowship, and a Special Exhibition Ball featuring Dominique Jackson, Mother Elektra from “Pose!”

Just another typical year at USCA. What would the meeting be if there wasn’t a hurricane or protest or both? Thank you again for joining us. We never take your support for granted and work hard to make USCA the innovative meeting that our movement needs.

Yours in the struggle,





Paul Kawata
POZ magazine was gracious to print a special run of the magazine for USCA. I am not on the cover, but they are doing this wrap for the meeting. Thirty years is a long time and I am proud to stand with NMAC in our fight to end the HIV epidemic.

NMAC Welcomes the 2019 USCA Social Media Fellows

NMAC is proud to welcome this year’s USCA Social Media Fellows! Each year, 18 Fellows are selected to attend USCA to use their existing social media skills to help spread the word about HIV prevention, care, and treatment and expand their abilities through interacting with others in the field.

Davina Conner

Facebook: PozitivelyDee
Podcast: PozitivelyDeesDiscussion
Twitter: @DavinaConner
Instagram: @pozitivelydee

Davina Conner Otalor was diagnosed with HIV 22 years ago and her podcast has reached many for the last five years, educating by way of social media and community work to clarify the impact of HIV criminalization, seeking to dispel stigma, and address internalized stigma within people living with HIV. She uses her show as a platform to educate individuals who are HIV positive and HIV negative. Davina is an advocate/activist, speaker, radio host, a founding steering committee member of Prevention Access Campaign (UequalsU), a member of Positive Women’s Network USA’s Colorado Reginal Chapter, a 2020 Leading Women’s Society Alumni and a former Denver HIV Planning Council member. Dee’s podcast won the ADAP Social Media Campaign in 2017, the persistent advocate award at AIDS Watch 2019, and has also been featured in several magazines for her work. She founded her own non-profit organization 501c3 called Poz Haven Foundation that started out as grassroots advocacy. Her nonprofit works mentoring those who are diagnosed and individuals who are struggling mentally by way of telephone or in-home mentoring while bringing the often-underrepresented voice of women of color and women living with HIV to the table. Davina started advocating because of the stigma that many go through being diagnosed with HIV and is determined to work hard for women of color, trans women and all women with HIV. Davina uses her show as a platform to educate all communities and stands for the rights of every human being no matter how they chose to live their life. Dee’s big heart and the love she has for people shows while working to inspire, encourage and motivate all.

Jacen Zhu

Jacen Zhu is a voice within the queer community who uses his platform in erotica to address issues affecting people of color (POC). He advocates primarily for black queer issues such as: racism within the industry, sexual & mental health, and substance use. Jacen utilizes his experience with addiction to start the initiative #TakedownTina. He also speaks about his journey being HIV positive living undetectably and the continued stigma within and out of the industry. He has partnered with PrEP Squad DC, as Undetectable Man to spread the message of U=U (Undetectable equals Untransmittable) in communities of color.


Jeffrey Long

Facebook: MyAdvocacyWorkJeffreyLong

Jeffrey Long is an HIV, hepatitis, and harm reduction activist from Cherokee, NC. He has been extensively involved in federal, state, and tribal advocacy on behalf of people living with HIV and substance abuse disorder. Jeffrey currently sits on the Steering Committee for the North Carolina Ending the Epidemic initiative, as well as several boards and committees for the Western NC AIDS Project, based in Asheville.



Lester Bloom


Lester Bloom goes by the name Tazzico. He was born, raised, and still resides in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a visual artist, he plays around with various mediums from painting to glassblowing to photography. He loves expressing himself and inspiring others through his artwork. You can find some of his artwork on Instagram.

Instagram: @Tazzico


Shyronn Jones
Shyronn Jones is a woman living with HIV, freelance writer, author, movie producer and cross-movement activist based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the Founder of iknowAwareness LLC where she shares her personal experiences and education about HIV. She encourages others to “Educate About HIV With Care Not Fear” and to use people-first language. She leverages social media to bring information to community stakeholders and maintains a presence in HIV advocacy efforts in Metro Atlanta. She has amplified local, regional and national issues to bring about political and social change. As a Black woman living with HIV, she brings her perspective to movements like Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15. She is a dedicated member of the Positive Women’s Network-USA– serving as a Communication Action Team Member, Member Spokesperson, Policy Fellow, Certified Regional Trainer and Georgia State Lead. She also serves as the Interim Vice Chair of The Fulton County HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Policy Advisory Committee and a Member of The Metropolitan Atlanta HIV Health Services Planning Councils’ Priorities Committee.

Twitter: @shyronn_jones
Instagram: @shyronnjones
FB Group: iknowAwareness
FB Profile: shyronn
LinkedIn: iknowawareness
YouTube: Shyronn Jones

Dimitri Moise
Dimitri Joseph Moise is an actor, award-winning editor, social entrepreneur, speaker, and advocate. He is notably known for his work as Mostel Defferies on The Last O.G. starring Tracy Morgan, on TBS. Dimitri is the founder of spl : inc, a consultancy focused on intentionally inclusive media; and the US Project Manager at Global Thinking Foundation, which promotes financial literacy and gender equality worldwide. Dimitri has also been featured on Good Morning America. As an advocate and spokesperson in the HIV/AIDS community, Dimitri dedicates his life to eradicating HIV stigma and addressing the disparities existing among marginalized communities. As an undetectable advocate, he has been featured in HIV Plus Magazine; Thought Catalog; and is a spokesperson for the nonprofit HIV Advocates. Dimitri is also nominated for three 2019 WEGO Health Awards. “Empowering others means empowering yourself.”

Facebook Profile: dimitri.moise

Facebook Fan Page:

Instagram: dimitrimoiseofficial

Twitter: dimitrijmoise

LinkedIn: dimitrijosephmoise

Dernell Green

Dernell E. Green is the 3MV Director/ Social Media/Marketing Coordinator at Brotherhood, Incorporated in New Orleans, Louisiana. Before working at Brotherhood he was a school teacher by day photographer and graphic designer by night. Dernell has attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette & Dillard University where he majored in Public Relations and Music. He became an advocate in the HIV field when he realized that he influenced so many of his friends and followers’ actions in life. Since being at Brotherhood for the past two years Dernell has impacted over 100+ college students to simply “Know Your Status” by taking a Rapid HIV test with his agency. Also, he created avenues and outlets for students/community to just have somewhere to go enjoy each other’s company and more, from POSE Watch Parties to Good Friday Shakedowns. Being a voice and giving the kids what they want has always been his ultimate purpose in life.

Insta: @blazerndbowtie

Twitter: @blazerndbowtie

Facebook: kydd.mychal

James Q. Simmons
James Q. Simmons is a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and on-air medical expert currently working on his Doctorate in Nursing Practice at UCLA. His research is focused on understanding the impact of social media on initiation of PrEP in the Black MSM community. He also curates the online and social media health initiative “Ask The NP – everything you’re too scared to ask your MD!” A safe space on social media where followers get real, relatable, and reliable information to empower their health. He is on the Advisory Board for APAIT, an organization working to positively impact the quality of life for medically under served communities living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS and other health disparities through culturally competent and linguistically appropriate programs in Southern California. He believes strongly in NMAC’s mission of leading with race to end the HIV epidemic in all communities and is honored to be a Social Media Fellow at his first ever United States Conference on AIDS.

Twitter: @AskTheNP

Instagram: @AskTheNP

Facebook: AskTheNP

YouTube: AskTheNP

Hernando Umana
Hernando Umana has been seen on Broadway and National tours with Kinky Boots and School of Rock. He recently launched a premium line of CBD products for pets called CBD Dog Health (@cbddoghealth) and promotes medicinal cannabis as an activist. Diagnosed with HIV 11 years ago, Hernando decided to come out publicly with his status. Since then he’s worked as an activist with features in Esquire, Poz Magazine, the U=U campaign all over New York and more.

Twitter: @hernandoumana

Instagram: @Hernandoumana

Ian L. Haddock
Ian L. Haddock (he, him, his) is a black, gay/queer/pansexual male residing in Houston, Texas. He is the Executive Director of The Normal Anomaly Initiative and the President of Impulse Group Houston. He is the Executive Producer of Outcry the Mini Doc streaming on Amazon Prime Video and the forthcoming docu-series to be released in Fall 2019. He also serves as a host of The Real Gag Internet Radio Show. Haddock is the 2019 Trailblazer of the Year from the African American State of Emergency Task Force and was awarded as the 2019 Dr. Mark A Colomb Emerging Young Leader from the National African American Leadership Conference.

Facebook: ianlhaddock
Facebook Page: Normal Anomaly
Instagram: @thenormalanomaly

D’Ontace Keyes

[D’Angelo] D’Ontace Keyes is the Digital Communication Manager at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) where he executes content distribution and social media strategies. Keyes previous led marketing and fundraising activities for Philadelphia Black Pride and served as a content producer for MOBI (Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative) in New York City. Keyes received his MBA in Marketing with a focus in Innovation from Philadelphia University and formal arts education from The University of the Arts. Since postgrad, Keyes has worked with teams from the Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation, Pride Action Tank and GLSEN to adopt design mapping for  developing innovative solutions to issues impacting youth in healthcare, welfare and education systems. A dedicated public servant, Keyes previously served as a commissioner with Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, where he assisted in developing the first government level report addressing racism and discrimination in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community.

Facebook: AIDS Chicago

IG: @aidsfoundationchicago

Facebook: D.Ontace

IG: @mrkeyes

Melanie Ampon

Melanie Ampon, a California Bay Area native, is a passionate advocate for transgender and human rights. She is a Human Rights Commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco. She has worked at San Francisco’s transgender cabaret dining club, AsiaSF since 2003. She was in a national television program in 2015-16 called Transcendent, that chronicled 5 trans women navigating their personal and professional lives in San Francisco. It was one of the first all-trans docu-series television programs. It helped give light and understanding of the transgender community from an entertainer’s point of view.

Melanie is co-chair of the HRC’s LGBT Advisory Committee (LGBTAC), a Community Advisory Board (CAB) member at the San Francisco Community Health Center (SFCHC), and is also a Transgender Advisory Committee (TAC) member at the Office of Transgender Initiatives (OTI) the first Trans lead City Office in the nation. She has lent her voice to host numerous events for organizations such as Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), SF Trans March, The Trevor Project, and more.

Instagram: @nyacruz
Twitter: @nyaasiasf

Tiana Jones

Tiana Jones is a 24-year-old born and raised Las Vegas native. Tiana is a current Master of Public Health student at Grand Canyon University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from the University of Nevada-Reno. Her advocacy for HIV/AIDS started with the passing of her Aunt Rhonda in 1994 from AIDs related complications. During her undergrad, she was a Peer Health Educator where she helped assist with free STI testing weekly. She was an intern for Northern Nevada Hopes in Reno, Nevada, which was the first HIV treatment clinic in the state. Today she is serving her community as an HIV Program Specialist in Las Vegas. Her future includes becoming a well-known advocate for HIV/AIDs not only in Nevada but in the United States through social media. Tiana also known as “TIANAAWOAH’’ on YouTube, started her channel in 2015 focusing on hair tutorials, fashion hauls, and lifestyle experiences. She believes that if you allow the conversation around HIV treatment and prevention to become normalized, then we as people will be on our way to ending stigma and the epidemic. It’s not easy being an advocate for HIV, but if it was, everyone would do it. That is why it’s important to continue to educate our peers, our family, and strangers on the importance of getting tested, getting treatment, prevention and simply staying educated. Driven by her strong belief in the value of human life and dignity of all people, her ultimate goal is to provide support for the most marginalized and underserved populations affected by HIV. Tiana is excited to be at USCA for the first time and cannot wait to meet and learn from all the fabulous attendees.

Instagram: @tianaawoah
YouTube: TianaaWoah

Lillian Lennon
Lillian Lennon is a queer woman who is proud to call Talkeetna and Anchorage, Alaska her home. Her career in activism started with the cofounding of Talkeetna Pride, her hometown’s first LGBTQ+ organization. After moving back to Anchorage for school she became the field organizer for the successful Fair Anchorage campaign that took down the transphobic ballot initiative known as Proposition 1. Since then she has been a freelance activist and recently an LGBTQ+ field organizer for Planned Parenthood and Transgender Leadership Alaska. In her free time, she enjoys illustrating, filmmaking, and jamming out on the ukulele.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @mslillianlennon
Instagram: @mslillianlennon

Raif Derrazi
Raif was diagnosed with AIDS on his 27th birthday in 2012. This was his greatest fear in life and he soon realized his ‘victim mindset’ is what brought him down this long circuitous journey to his current circumstances. A LOT had to change both internally and externally for him to regain control of his life. He did a lot of internal work and started to take a leadership role in his life with the intention of being his own hero! Fitness and bodybuilding were a natural fit and a great outward manifestation of his new-found power. Raif is now a pro natural competitive physique bodybuilder. He also realized that role models for the HIV community were hard to come by so he decided to start talking about his HIV status on social media in hopes of providing guidance and inspiration to others. With a growing YouTube subscribership (10k) and following on Instagram (23k), he shares his life and his journey living with HIV and embracing a fitness lifestyle. What was originally his worst fear, has now become the biggest blessing in disguise as Raif is happier and healthier than he has ever been with a new found purpose and passion for being an example and helping others.


Instagram: @raifderrazi

Twitter: @rderrazi

Brandon Bright
Brandon Bright is from from Ft. Worth, TX. He started work with the AIDS Outreach Center in 2017 as an Outreach Worker and is now spearheading MPact DFW. MPact DFW is part of the Empowerment intervention, which is geared towards young gay men of color. He is looking forward to learning ways that he can enhance his social media outreach.


Lateef D Hudson
Lateef D Hudson was born and raised in Detroit Michigan. He identifies in the LGBTQ community where he tries to teach and learn from the youth as much as possible in bettering his community. Lateef worked with the non-profit Ruth Ellis, volunteering and interning for five years before becoming a member of their LGBT youth advisory board. Lateef has been in and out of foster care for as long as he remembers, bouncing from home to home but also picking up on some skills like problem-solving, self-confidence, strong work ethic and many more. In October 2018, he started his journey by becoming a linkage specialist at the Detroit Health Department. Lateef is a young and energetic person who, like most of the youth of today, uses way to much social media but also knows the ins and outs of it in to regards to reaching out to his own generation and those that came after him. He does not let any obstacles get in his way, he perseveres and keeps working towards his dreams.

Facebook: Linkup Detroit


Maria Meija

Maria is the co-author of the book from a “Warrior’s Passion and Pain,” a real life account of her 30-year battle with HIV. She is currently the co-chair of the Women and Minorities Outreach for the Dab the AIDS bear project. Maria is a part of the campaign “Let’s Stop HIV Together” for the Center for Disease Control as their ambassador. She is also an ambassador for a Greater
than AIDS ongoing campaign for women, HIV, Trauma, and IPV, “The Stigma Project, and the global ambassador and CAB member for the women’s organization “The Well Project.” Diagnosed with HIV in 1991 after contracting it in 1988 at the age of 15, Maria began a long journey finding hope, pride, and passion in an undereducated society unprepared to deal with the growing epidemic of HIV and AIDS. After ten years without treatment, Maria found herself at a crossroads. She could begin medical treatment or continue to slide towards death. Thankfully she chose to live and to fight for more than just her own health.

Maria immersed herself in HIV/AIDS education and became a powerful activist for education, treatment, testing, prevention, LGBTQ, and human rights. She has been featured in magazines, billboards, TV, as well as national and international conventions. Maria has been a part of four documentaries to help raise HIV awareness. She is a volunteer for the Red Cross, an HIV educator for Jackson Memorial Hospital and a motivational speaker. She is an HIV consultant and a member of several digital advisory boards: Janssen Pharmaceuticals Digital advisory board, Community Advisory Board of The Well Project, and sits on the Board of Directors “CANN” in Washington, DC.

Her extensive social media involvement is included below. Maria’s book from a “Warrior’s Passion and Pain” has made her message very clear: she is far more than a condition. Her personal journey through life is a moving account of survival. HIV has been only one of her many challenges.

Today Maria lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She continues to build support, educate, and encourage testing and health care in a city with one of the highest new HIV infection rates in the country.

Maria es la co-autora del libro Desde la Pasión y dolor de una guerrera, una historia de la vida real de su batalla de 30 años con el VIH y su vida. Actualmente es co-presidente de la Divulgación Mujeres y Minorías de Dab The AIDS bear project.

Maria hace parte de la campaña “Detengamos el VIH Juntos” como su embajadora para el Centro de Control de Enfermedades, tambien es embajadora de “The Stigma Project” y es la Embajadora Global y CAB de la Organizacion global para mujeres y chicas “The Well Project” tambien Embajadora de Greater than AIDS y su campana “VIH,Trauma,mujeres y violencia”.
Diagnosticada con el VIH en 1991e infectada en 1988 a la edad de 15 anos, Maria comenzó una larga travesia de esperanza, orgullo y pasión en una sociedad sin educación que están preparados para hacer frente a la creciente epidemia de VIH y SIDA. Después de diez años sin tratamiento Maria se encontró en una encrucijada. Ella podría comenzar el tratamiento médico o continuar a deslizarse hacia la muerte. Afortunadamente ella eligió vivir y luchar por algo más que su propia salud.

Maria se sumergió en la educación sobre el VIH / SIDA y se convirtió en un activista de gran alcance para la educación, el tratamiento, las pruebas y la prevención, para la comunidad LGBTQ y derechos humanos. Ella ha aparecido en revistas, vallas publicitarias, televisión, Radio así como las convenciones nacionales e internacionales.

María ha sido parte de cuatro documentales para ayudar a crear conciencia del VIH. Ella es una voluntaria de la Cruz Roja, un educador de VIH para el Hospital Jackson Memorial y un orador motivacional. Ella es asesora de VIH y miembra de varios asesorias digitales: Janssen Pharmaceuticals , Miembra de asesoria para comunidades para The Well project y se sienta en
la junta directiva en Washington “CANN”

Su amplia participación de los medios sociales es extensivo e incluye el libro de Maria Desde la”pasion u el dolor de una guerrero, ella tiene un mensaje muy claro: ella es mucho más que una condicion. Su trayecto por la vida es un relato conmovedor de la supervivencia.

El VIH ha sido sólo uno de sus muchos retos. Hoy María vive en Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Ella continúa construyendo apoyo, educacion y anima a las pruebas y el cuidado de la salud en una ciudad con una de las tasas de nuevas infecciones de VIH más altas del país.

Follow Maria on Twitter at @mariahivmejia

Instagram: MariaHIVMejia
FB: https://mariahivmejia
YouTube: Maria Mejia
English Facebook page: MariaHIV
Spanish: mariahiv1111
Read Maria’s blogs at:

The well project (a girl like me)
Until there’s a cure

Enrique Salas
Instagram: @Salas_enrique

I was born in Maracaibo, State of Zulia, Venezuela in 1968. I did the primary school and high school in my hometown; there I began to combine my academic studies with my initiation into the world of music and theater integrating Youth Music  Orchestra and Dór theater group where I took my first steps in performing arts.

In 1984 I did professional studies in music theory. I also studied piano and violin at the State of Zulia Music Conservatory. Simultaneously I became part of the State’s Juvenile Orchestra where I spent two consecutive years in the strings ensemble. In parallel I participated as an actor in DORgroup plays: “El Cubo” and “Requiem for El Saladillo”, winning several awards at student festivals which motivated me to move to the city of Caracas, capital of Venezuela in 1987, to continue my career in the arts. Once settled in Caracas I joined the Anna Julia Rojas Theatre Laboratory and the National Youth Theatre, where he participated as an actor and production assistant in the play “Hamlet” directed by Master Horacio Peterson (1989). It is in 1992 when I first participated as a director and author of the monologue “Mi Mejor Marido” starred by Venezuelan actress Carolina Lopez during Caracas’ International Theater Festival in 1992. That same year I worked as the producer of the soap opera “Amor de Papel” which aired nationally Venevision, and for fourconsecutive years and I was part of the cast of the sitcom” Cheverisimo”, also from the said television channel.


In 1997, I graduated as Bachelor in Theatre mention Production Management at the Theater University College, then directed by prominent writer and Venezuelan theatrical manager Pilar Romero. Since then I have worked with: Compañia Lili Alvarez Sierra, Centro de Directores para el Nuevo Teatro (New Theater Directors Center) l.E.Producciones C.A where I’ve directed Elizabeth Fuentes play “My husband is a cuckold” masterfully acted by Venezuelan leading actress Elba Escobar, and as Playwright I premiered my big theatrical success “Drunken Tales”  the latter with over 700 performances, well received in all of Venezuela’s cities and in New York and Washington. In Arte y Parte Producciones, I served as general producer of “The World of Oz” musical, “The Sleeping Beauty and Prince Valiant” and “Hercules the hero of the Stars”, and with my own theater company 13  Producciones C.A. I work as a playwright, director and executive producer for the plays: “Se abrio la Jaula” (The Cage is Open),”Reflexiones con 3 de Ellos” (Reflections with three of them), “Mujeres Infieles” (Unfaithful Women) and “Relatos Borrachos” (Drunken Tales) all these presented national and internationally.


In late 2013 I obtain a diploma in Dramaturgy from the School of Arts at Universidad Central de Venezuela. In 2014, I wrote the comedy “Divorciemonos, Cariño” for Caracuchos Producciones C.A., starring leading Venezuelan actor artistic Jean Carlos Simancas, along with Josemith Bermudezand Adrian J Matos, this production was directed by leading Venezuelan actress and director Elba Escobar and has performed at full house in Miami and Venezuela’s major cities, always receiving ovations. For Caracuchos Producciones C.A. I also wrote the short play “El Sauna” (The Sauna) which was a blockbuster in  the ¼ First Theater Festival in Caracas, Venezuela, where he also participated as a playwright of the  play “ElAvila” which received beautiful accolades from the national critique. Two months after, I write for the ¼ Theater second edition “Sin Pecado Concebida” (Conceived without Sin), produced at that time by MP Producciones, C.A which was also a resounding success, and premiers his latest production “Beba en Cabaret” with Venezuelan international actress Beba Rojas”.

“The Sauna” was presented in Madrid, Spain, and Miami hi enjoys the success of his short plays “Sin Pecado Concebida” (Conceived without Sin) in the Passion of Micro Theater Miami season with wonderful performances by: Maria Cecilia Oduber Indira Leal and Ana Gabriela Barboza. He produced the play “Casting Express” starring Flor Elena González, Josette Vidal Restifo and Indira Leal. Then he continues as writer and director of “Confesiones de Alcoba (Bedroom Confessions)” starring: Andreina Yepez and Moises Gonzalez also presented in Micro Theater Miami, “Gorda y Gordo” written and directed byme. This play was also presented in “Micro Theater Guadalajara” in Mexico, from 12 June to 12 July. In MiamiI presented the short play “Brindaremos por ti,” of my authorship; all presented with great success inthe MicroTheater of the Spanish Cultural Center.
At the same time I work on the dialogue “Live to Love” soap opera, original from Cesar Sierra and that will air in Venezuela and great part of Latin America.

For the opening of the Paseo de las Artes in the city of Doral, I produce Fernando Martinez play “Feroz” and premiere my successful piece “Mujeres Infieles” in the “Hoy Como Ayer” club at Miami 8th Street with international actresses Martha Picanes Martha (Cuban), Denise Sanchez (Puerto Rican) and Venezuelan Andreina Yepez this in May 2015. At the same time I premiere “Relatos Borrachos”  with performances by Elba Escobar (International Actress), Alba Roversi (International Actress) and Daniel Sarcos (Host of Telemundo morning show “Un Nuevo día”), on 19 and 20 June 2015 in the prestigious Trail Theatre 8th Street Miami, with great success, being sold out it is decided to extend the season for another weekend of July, and every Thursday of October, starting the US tour in Houston where a function was held, also sold out, at the newly opened
Queensbury theater.


In parallel, in The Walkk of Arts in the city of Doral, I have directed and produced Monica Montañez “La Ilamadita”, Ignacio lzcaray “La viuda de Gardel” and José Luis Useche “En la quinta paila” and wrote “A mi me llaman la Wendy” and “El amor si existe, cuesta 10000 pesos”; “El Avila” “Religiosas Navigay”, and direction  and production of Elizabeth Fuentes “My Husband is a Cuckhold” starring Venezuelan leading actress Elba Escobar. In 2016, among other projects I presented my plays “La Tóxica” “Gulamia” “Demonios Sueltos” y “Se abrio la Jaula”, a piece that had great success in Venezuelan, and now will be produced with an international cast

Nace en Maracaibo, Edo. Zulia Venezuela 1968. Realiza estudios de primaria y bachillerato e inicia sus estudios academicos de música -teatro en la estudiantina juvenil Zuliana y el grupo teatral Dór.

En 1984 estudia piano y violín en el Conservatorio de Música del Edo. Zulia. Se integra a la Orquesta Juvenil del Estado donde permanece en el grupo de cuerdas por dos años.

Como actor participa en las obras: “El Cubo” y “Requién por el Saladillo” del grupo Dór, opteniendo varios premios en festivales estudiantiles, en el 1987 se trasladarse a la capital de Venezuela para continuar ahí con su preparación en las artes. Se integra a la compañía de Teatro Nacional Juvenil, como actor y asistente de producción en la obra “Hamlet” dirigina por el maestro Horacio Peterson (1989) en el (1992) Debuta como director y autor del monólogo “Mi Mejor Marido” con la actriz venezolana Carolina López en el off festival del Festival Internacional de Teatro Caracas 1992, ese mismo año es contratado como productor de la telenovela “Amor de Papel” y por cuatro años consecutivos forma parte del elenco de actores del programa  “Cheverisimo” trasmitido por Venevisión.

En 1997, se gradúa de Licenciado en Teatro mensión Gerencia de Producción en El Instituto Universitario de Teatro. Desde entonces ha trabajado con las compañías teatraless: Compañia Lili Alvarez Sierra, Centro de Directores para el Nuevo Teatro. I.E. Producciones C.A. donde ha ejecutado cargos de Director en la obra “Mi Marido es un Cornudo” de Elizabeth Fuentes actuada magistralmente por la primera actriz venezolana Elba Escobar y como Dramaturgo estrena su joya teatral de la”Relatos Borrachos” (esta ultima presentada con más de 3000 funciones de gran aceptación en todas las ciudades del interior de Venezuela y en Nueva York, Washington, Houston, Cánada, España y Miami, . En Arte y Parte Producciones fue productor general de los musicales “El mundo de Oz”, “La Bella Durmiente y el Príncipe valiente”, y “Hércules el héroe de las Estrellas” en su propia compañía teatral Trece 13 Producciones C.A se desempeña y proyecta como dramaturgo, director y productor Ejecutivo de las obras: “Se abrió La Jaula”, “Reflexiones con 3 de Ellos”, “Mujeres Infieles”, “Relatos de alcoba” y “Relatos Borrachos” todas estas presentadas a nivel nacional e internacional.

A finales del año 2013 realiza un Diplomado de Dramaturgia en la Universidad Central de Venezuela.

En el 2014, Enrique escribe para Caracuchos Producciones C.A. La comedia “Divorciemonos Cariño” donde participa como protagonista el primer actor venezolano Jean Carlo Simancas y dirigido por Elba Escobar se han presentado en la ciudad de Miami y en las principales ciudades de Venezuela siempre SOLD OUT recibiendo grandes aplausos. Enrique también escribe la obra  breve “El Sauna” siendo la obra con mayor éxito de taquilla en el Primer Festival de Teatro de 1/4 en la ciudad de Caracas Venezuela  donde también participa como dramaturgo de la obra “El Avila” la cual recibió hermosos elogios de la critica nacional. Dos meses después escribe para su segunda edición de Teatro de 1/4 la obra “Sin Pecado Concebida” y estrena su más reciente espectáculo “Beba en Cabaret” con la internacional actriz Venezolana Bebas Rojas del programa Bienvenidos. También estrenan en Venezuela su obra breve “Sudor” que rompe de nuevo récord de taquilla en el Teatro 1/4 realizado por primera vez en el Sambil Caracas.

En en 2015 se radica en Miami. Su obra “El Sauna” es expuesta  en Madrid España y en Miami disfruta del éxito de sus obras breves “Sin Pecado Concebida”, produce la obra “Casting Express” escribe y dirige “Confesiones de Alcoba” “Gorda y Gordo” y “Brindaremos por Ti” presentadas con gran éxito en el Micro Theater Miami del Centro Cultural Español. Paralelamente dialoga para la telenovela “Vivir para Amar” original de César Sierra y que será trasmitida en Venezuela y gran parte de Latinoamérica.

Enrique Salas produce la obra “Feroz” para la apertura de El Paseo de las Artes en la ciudad del Doral FL y estreno su exitosa pieza “Mujeres Infieles” en el club “Hoy como Ayer” de la calle 8 de Miami con las actrices internacionales Martha Picanes (Cubana), Denise Sánchez (Puerto Riqueña) y la venezolana Andreina Yépez en mayo 2015, al mismo tiempo ensaya la obra “Relatos Borrachos” con las actuaciones de Elba Escobar, Alba Roversi y Daniel Sarcos (Animador de del programa “Un nuevo Día” Telemundo) la cual se estreno en Junio 2015 en el Teatro Trail de la calle 8 con todas las funciones SOLD OUT en Miami y Houston. Este mismo año Salas se hace residente permanente americano para continuar con su actividad artística en los Estados Unidos.

Para el Paseo de las Artes en el Doral FL escribe las obras: “A mi me dicen La Wendy” “El Amor si existe cuesta 10 mil Pesos” “Con mi ex marido no Quiero” “Cena con Mamá”  “Religiosas Navigay” Se me paró el Colibrí, Felices los 4, Sal del closet pa que Goces, Yo si soy Pendeja, Tú lo que quieres es que me coma el tigre, Los Masajistas, La muñeca envidiosa y el Soldadito que Goza. Dirige las obras: “La 5 Paila” “Mi Marido es un Cornudo” “Hollywood Style” “Yo soy La Loca de la Casa” con esta ultima obra es invitado a participar en el festival “Mujeres sobre Escena”  New York (November 2015)

Enrique Salas es galardonado con un Reconocimiento al Mérito por Luigi Boria Mayor of City of Doral in October 2015 y su sueño es seguir trabajando y aportando a la cultura de este gran país USA. Se hace merecedor del premio “Mara de Oro Internacional” en su primera edición en Miami 2016 con “Yo si soy Pendeja” como mejor obra teatral del año. También recibe varias nominaciones con su unipersonal “Me fue infiel pero me dio Papeles” obra que tuvo la temporada más larga continua en taquilla en el Paseo de las Artes Doral 2015 – 2018.

Enrique Salas realiza una gira por varias ciudades de Estados Unidos (Miami, Houston, Dallas, Nueva York, Filadelfia) con su nueva adaptación de “Yo si soy Arrecha” versión de uno de los monólogos de Relatos Borrachos que realiza para la actriz Elba Escobar, la cual también presenta en Pánama, Madrid, Barcelona, La Coruña y Tenerife.

Luego del cierre de Paseo de las Artes Doral (Febrero 2018) Salas inicia las presentaciones de lo que denominó The Latin Bolero Show iniciando con esto sus producciones musicales que han tenido en escena a figuras como: Caridad Canelon, Elba Escobar, Flor Nuñez, Liliana Morillo, Lilibeth Morillo, Diveana, El Pollo Brito, Daniel Sarcos, Mario Cáceres, Yasmil Marrufo, Astrid Celeste, entre otros.

El 19 de abril de 2018 contrae núpcias con el economista Venezolano Tonny Andrés Tover Felce y Luego diseña para Daniel Sarcos el espectáculo “La Travesia” bajo el sello de producción de su creación The Latin Bolero Show en sociedad con el productor Jesús Fuenmayor y han logrado reunir en un mismo escenario a estrellas internacionales como lo son: Ednita Nazario, Oscar de León, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Neguito Borjes, Huascar Barrada y el humorista Nando de la Gente. También se idea el espectáculo Diveana “de cerquita” donde la merenguera internacional interpreta grandes temas de la generación 80, 90 y 2000.

En la actualidad Enrique Salas escribe y dirige los espectáculos: Pecadoras, Los hombres casados quieren… Y los solteros también. Para la apertura de Paseo Wynwood a mediados del 2018 en la ciudad de Miami. Y trabaja para la campaña cultural de “Francis Suarez” alcalde de Miami Dade.




USCA is Next Week!

It’s next week!!! Part of me is excited to see everyone and part of me is worried because it will be the largest United States Conference on AIDS. Interest in the Federal Plan to End the Epidemic has super-sized attendance. This year there are 160 workshops, four plenaries, program book (110 pages long), and lots of information. The best way to stay informed is to download the conference app. Go to Google Play or Apple app stores and search for “2019 USCA .” Thank you for joining us.

2019 USCA Program Book
This year’s USCA program book is 110 pages and will not be printed. You can download it to your computer or smartphone here. The 2019 meeting will focus on the federal plan to end the domestic HIV epidemic. As we work to end the HIV epidemic, NMAC does it in memory of the family,  friends, and lovers we lost. Too many were taken too soon.

USCA Registration Bar Codes E-Mailed on August 30th and September 3rd
Emails go out August 30th and September 3rd with USCA registration bar codes.  Please bring the bar code with your ID to register. Registration will open on Wednesday, September 4th at 4 PM to 7 PM on Meeting Level Four of the Marriott Marquis.Since the meeting is sold out, there will be lines. We ask for your patience and understanding. The USCA Conference Office is located in Marquis Salon 15 on Meeting Level Two.I want to apologize in advance. With this many people, NMAC is bound to make mistakes. Given the diversity of our movement, making one constituency happy sometimes makes another group mad. In this no-win situation, someone will get upset. If there is a problem, please speak to me at Ultimately, I am responsible. Since this is my 30th year at NMAC, I’ve come to understand the importance of listening to constituents. If any group wants to meet, I will make time on my schedule.

From the beginning, NMAC has said that ending the epidemic will be one of the biggest tests of our leadership. Can we see beyond the difficult politics to find common ground? We are trying to accomplish something that has never been done, to end an epidemic without a cure or vaccine. If that wasn’t difficult enough, we are doing it at a time when the country is deeply divided.

Make no mistake about it, the HIV community is angry. Daily, people living with HIV face stigma, discrimination, and even violence. Two hundred and fifty thousand PLWH have fallen out of care. One hundred and fifty thousand are unaware of their HIV status. Most are people of color who live in a world that minimizes their value because of the color of their skin. These disparities must be addressed if we are to reach the communities that have fallen out of care or who could benefit from PrEP.

Over 70% of the jurisdictions do not expect to have their plans done by December 2019.
NMAC is very concerned that some 57 targeted jurisdictions are not ready for the task in front of them. NMAC’s recent needs assessment confirmed our fears.






Gathering of the 57 Jurisdictions
The federal government has targeted 57 jurisdictions to build plans and implement programs to end the domestic epidemic. NMAC invited administrators from these regions to attend USCA and 43 will be joining us. Our goal is to give them an experience of USCA and the communities that are hardest hit by HIV. While many have previously attend USCA, this year is different because the federal government has set a date to end the epidemic and we hope they will come with answers to the many questions about the process.

2019 USCA Exhibit Hall
Below is a map for half of the exhibit hall. Located next to registration, the exhibit hall takes up both the Liberty and Independence Ballrooms. Dessert will be served in the exhibit hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after the plenary sessions.

Flu Shots
Walgreens will give out free flu shots at USCA during exhibit hours. You can find them in the exhibit hall in booths 615 & 616.2019 USCA T-Shirts
NMAC will give away t-shirts again this year. Since everyone does not want or need a t-shirt, we only printed 1,000. T-shirts will be available at the NMAC exhibit booth. Please wear the T-shirt to the Saturday plenary where the conference will celebrate People Living with HIV and U=U.Sessions with Spanish Translation
USCA offers a full track of workshops with Spanish translation. Pages 104-107 of the program book have more information.
Noah’s Arc
You may have heard the rumors about a potential reboot of “Noah’s Arc.”  While we don’t have any inside information, USCA invited Rodney Chester, who played Alex Kirby, to the meeting.Rodney will show the Noah’s Arc movie, “Jump the Broom.”  He will also host a Q&A with audience members. Join him on Saturday in Georgetown room, Meeting Level 1. USCA uses culture to educate our movement about the communities that are hardest hit by HIV. 

Grief Counselors
We are a movement that suffers from discrimination, prejudice, and violence. Many of us are isolated and depressed. Unfortunately, there are things that happen at USCA that can trigger those issues. Listening to plenary talks, watching the documentary 5B, learning of colleagues who passed. The meeting has many potential triggers and we want to help. USCA is working with the local host committee to have counselors on site. We all need help sometimes and there is nothing wrong with asking for support. If you think this might be helpful, please ask conference staff to make the connection. Counselors will be on site and available to talk.

Thank you for joining us for this historic meeting. Hopefully, USCA builds real pathways for collaboration and cooperation. NMAC is ready to work. We know it will only happen when we work together.

Yours in the struggle,
Paul Kawata
30 Years of Service

NMAC Welcomes the 2019 Reclaiming Our Place at the Table Advocates

On behalf of NMAC and our funders –we are pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of the Reclaiming Our Place at the Table program!

Given the President’s announcement during the annual State of the Union address of the Federal Plan to End the HIV Epidemic and the initial investment of an additional $291 Million dollars in his FY20 Budget Request, it is imperative that the voices of people of color living with and affected by HIV are heard. More importantly, people of color living with and affected by HIV must participate in the planning and implementation of local jurisdiction’s plans to end the epidemic. NMAC is proposing that our community influence end the HIV epidemic (EtHE) work in two ways:

NMAC decided to leverage its strength as a convening and training powerhouse to empower and educate individuals who are reflective of the HIV epidemic to actively influence the local end the HIV epidemic planning efforts and secure additional federal resources.

The goals of the “Reclaiming Our Place at the Table” program are to:

  1. Create a cadre of HIV Advocates who influence federal funding allocation and policies to bend the curve of new HIV infections, retain people of color living with HIV in care, as well as increase healthcare access and utilization for people of color who are living with, affected by and at risk for HIV.
  2. Raise the issue of race and elevate the concerns of people of color who are living with, affected by and at risk for HIV.

To accomplish these goals, our “Reclaiming Our Place at the Table” advocates shall participate in:

  • In-Person TOT Training: September 2019 (USCA September 5-8)
  • In-District Congressional Site Visits: October 2019 (House and Senate on Recess between September 30th and October 14th)
  • Follow-up Webinar: November 2019
  • Virtual Advocacy Day: World AIDS Day 2019 (December 1, 2019)

Congratulations to the following advocates for their acceptance into the inaugural cohort of the Reclaiming Our Place at the Table program:

Alexis Powell (Baton Rouge Parrish, Louisiana)

Alexis Powell is a 38-year-old FIERCE transgender woman that is currently not only living with but also thriving with HIV, diagnosed in 2004 and is doing very well. On December 12, 2015, she became the first Trans Woman to get married in the State of Louisiana and is the mother of a truly amazing 7-year-old son, Isayah Augustine. She is employed as a Consumer/Peer Advocate with HAART Baton Rouge as part of the Minority Aids Initiative and has been employed with the agency since 2015. She goes to great lengths to advocate for all clients so they can receive the services they need, making sure that there are no barriers to getting into and staying in care so they can thrive and live a healthy and full life. She loves helping anyone diagnosed with HIV, but of course, the Transgender Community is near and dear to her heart. Because of this, she is a facilitator for VOAGBR’s Transgender Focus Group, a member of the Transgender Law Center, a national board member for Transgender Advocates, and graduate of NMAC’s Building Leaders of Color Program. Her aspirations are to take what she learns and use it to become a better motivational speaker and educator, as well as being able to put herself out into the community more and use the smaller platforms to move to bigger platforms to educate and motivate more people.


Cesar Cadabes (San Francisco County, California)

Cesar Cadabes was born and raised in Hawaii. Living with HIV since 1989, he has worked in HIV/AIDS for over 25 years; In San Francisco as an Associate Director of Intervention Support at the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center, in Los Angeles as the Program Coordinator of HIV Education and Prevention Programs at the City of Pasadena Public Health Department and in Hawaii as the Executive Director of the Kauai AIDS Project. Currently, he is at the University of California-San Francisco. He was also part of the cohort in NMAC’s Building Leadership of Color (BLOC) program. In addition to his HIV work and advocacy, Cesar is also a writer, performance artist and Artistic Director for the GAPA (Gay Asian Pacific Alliance) Theatre collective.


Efrain “Fredy” Roberts-Ramirez (Cook County, Illinois)
Fredy Roberts-Ramirez currently serves as the TGNC Youth HIV Prevention Program Manager BKA VOICES Program Manager. I have been working in the HIV Prevention Field since 2007, where I started off as a Social Networks recruiter because of my popularity in doing drag in Milwaukee, WI. Currently I am the TGNC Youth HIV Prevention Program Manager also known as the VOICES project at the Broadway Youth Center, a program of Howard Brown Health for the last 2 years. At Howard Brown Health, I work every day to create safe spaces, programming and help dismantle systems that cause barriers for Trans and gender Non-Conforming Youth to make sure they are able to lead safe, fruitful and visible lives.  I have been a part of various leadership programs such as the Wisconsin Leadership Fellowship for People of Color, Illinois Getting to Zero Campaign, Howard Brown Leadership Fellowship and now the NMAC Reclaiming Our Place at the Table- A NMAC Policy & Advocacy Program. I dedicate myself to make sure I utilize my platform to speak up on various issues that surround LGBTQIA people and especially Trans and Gender Non-conforming people of color.


Evonne Kaho (Jackson, Mississippi)

Evonné Kaho is a transgendered spiritual activist and educator. As a Black Trans woman and survivor of domestic violence, Evonné struggles everyday against intolerance, pain and injustice with an open heart. She holds a B.A. degree from Alcon State University and a Master’s in Business Administration,Technology and Management, from the University of Phoenix. Evonné is the founder and CEO of the first Black Transgender nonprofit in the state of Mississippi, Love Me Unlimited 4 Life, an interdisciplinary organization that offers resources, education, counseling and support to Mississippi’s LGBTQ community and those living with HIV.

She serves on the National Advisory Board of Positively Trans, a project of the Transgender Law Center, the Jackson MS Medical Mall HIV Planing Committee, Positive Women’s Network, Mississippi State Lead and is a co-founder and active member of SHERO, (Sister’s Helping Every woman Rise and Organize), and mother of a teenage daughter.

Evonné’s latest labor of love is materializing as she is in the process of establishing a shelter for LGBTQ and HIV positive youth and adults affectionately named, Evonné 4EverCaring.


Kim Watson (Bronx, New York)

Kim Watson is the Founder of an up and new establishment called The The Modern Day Woman Foundation LLC which is a foundation headed by renowned Trans Activist, Spokesperson, and Writer Kim Watson. Kim Watson has been present in intercommunity representation and advocacy for Decades, as a Woman of color she has made it her mission to fight for her various identities. Currently and for many years she has worked diligently, professionally, and to great results under the CK Life foundation.

Kim Watson moved to the US from Barbados when she was 23, hoping to escape the abuse and stigma she’d encountered as a young woman of trans experience. Two years later, homeless and engaging in sex work, she was diagnosed with HIV. Now 54, Kim is a proud mother to her nine year-old daughter, living a full active life with HIV and is sharing her story about how she overcame stigma, found her voice and established a community for herself and other people of trans experience.

For Decades her work has earned her many awards and commendations even becoming spokesperson for various trans initiatives in recent years, including the U=U Campaign!

Through the Modern-Day Woman Foundation LLC, Kim looks to continue doing amazing work without limits, using all her connections to advocate and find appropriate and personal care for various communities.


Nasir X Shabazz (Fulton County, Georgia)

NasirShabazz is a 26-year-old transgender man, father, and LGBTQ activist from Atlanta, GA. He is an avid powerlifter and bodybuilder and has recently started to shift his activism toward organizing athletic and health-related opportunities for the trans community.



Nathan Maxey, MPA (Harris County, Texas)

Nathan Maxey is a graduate of Texas Southern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and a Master of Public Administration. He lives the mantra, “Nothing for us without us” because it summarizes his passion and vigor for HIV/AIDS Advocacy as a person openly living with HIV for nineteen years. Currently, he serves as a Program Manager for a nonprofit in his hometown: Houston, Texas. He has presented at national conferences, served as an HIV grants reviewer, and former facilitator for Houston Positive Organizing Project (POP). Nathan is a former NMAC’s Building Leaders of Color with HIV (BLOC) program participant. Most recently, Impulse Group Houston presented Nathan with the Impulse Legacy Award for his work and meaningful involvement with the HIV/AIDS community.


Prizila Vidal (San Diego County, California)

As a local Foster Youth, LGBTQIA, and HIV/AIDS activist, I continue to advocate for foster youth both working with youth during the coming out process, and during the transitional age of 18-24, linking young adults to housing, education and employment resources. My journey with HIV brought me to the Mother, Child and Adolescent Program (MCAP) at UC San Diego, where I continue to volunteer my time and story as a speaker for events and workshops. I also started working within the HIV/AIDS population as well as Targeting Transgender Individuals that are either negative and HIV/AIDS Positive. Before I was even diagnosed I did not know anything about HIV/AIDS, I did not know how risky it can be and easy it is to contract it, although I got the disease by being raped. After knowing how easy it easy to contract it and share it I knew that I had to do something. I decided to bring up the so controversial topic to anyone and everyone that I could. These days besides my activism I am an Educator on HIV/AIDS as well as many other Topics I educate on. Furthermore, I would like to encourage all of you out there that are newly or already diagnosed to find that Support and get your health if not Good then Better!!


Rafael Gonzalez (Riverside/San Bernardino County, California)

OCCUPATION: Community Outreach Coordinator
EMPLOYER:  Inland Empire HIV Planning Council, Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance
PROFESSIONAL/VOLUNTEER: Inland Empire HIV Planning Council Support Staff, Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance Community Outreach Coordinator, California Planning Group At-Large Member with the California State Office of AIDS, Board Member with Casa Ramona, Inc.
MEMBER BIO: Rafael has been involved in HIV prevention/care work for over 15 years. He has held positions in community health education at local AIDS service organizations and spent the last 5 years managing Early Intervention/Linkage to Care, HIV Testing/Education, and PrEP Education/Navigation programs in Riverside County. He is currently working as a Community Outreach Coordinator with the Inland Empire HIV Planning Council and Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance, a local LGBTQ group serving youth in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.


Renae M. Taylor (Shelby County, Tennessee)

Pronouns: They, Them, Their
Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. – Maya Angelou

Renae Taylor is a 43-year-old Non-Binary Trans Organizer located in Memphis, Tennessee. They are part of the Local HIV Care and Prevention Planning Group, they are the Southwest Tennessee delegate for TAPWA (Tennessee Association of People With Aids), and they chair the Local Priorities and Integrated Group. Renae’s area of Interest is Social Justice and Liberation.


Roxanne Glapion (Dallas County, Texas)

Chair PWN-USA Texas Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter

PWN-USA Policy Fellowship Graduate 2018-2019

Administrative Coordinator for TOT 2018

Administrative Coordinator for 86 Legislation 2019


Silvia Valerio (Los Angeles County, California)

Silvia Valerio has been an HIV positive activist since 1991. She has been working in the HIV field since 1997. Silvia has experience working with the Latinx Community offering prevention and education services for the LGBT and HIV positive community. For more than 22 years Silvia has offered different programs and services at Bienestar, including peer navigation and support, prevention and counseling for positives, and linkage to care for newly diagnosed individuals. In 2001 Silvia was a spokesperson for the national Social Marketing campaign “HIV STOPS WITH ME” aimed at preventing new infections and to reduce the HIV/AIDS stigma related to it.

From 2008 to 2010 Silvia lead the Client Services Department at BIENESTAR and she was part of adherence research for HIV positive MSM in antiretroviral therapy as a research interviewer in collaboration with Charles Drew University and Children’s Hospital of Boston. From 2012-2017 Silvia was part of the TransActivate project, part of a HRSA special project for the Latina transgender community in LA County.

In addition to that, Silvia has experience as a community organizer in various leadership roles. She has conducted a skill building program for the Latinx Community recently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. This program is called Caminando Juntos -. This Program focuses on self-steem, spirituality and personal development as ways to live healthy with HIV. Silvia also is part of the Los Angeles Women’s Task Force. Currently Silvia is a BIENESTAR Center Lead and linkage to care coordinator which includes ADAP enrollment and HIV tester.




Stacy Jennings (Richland County, South Carolina)

Stacy Jennings is a 23-year survivor of HIV. In other words: HEAVEN is IN her VIEW. She states that, “God is truly able”. The day Stacy received her diagnosis in the year of 1995 she thought her life would be over but little did she know that what started out being a devastating diagnosis ended up being a blessing. She is able to speak up and speak out about her diagnosis and is no longer ashamed. She has a 25-year-old son whom is HIV negative and gave birth to a healthy baby boy after 20 years in March of 2014. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it because of the tremendous amount of stigma that still exists within our community and in our world. In spite of it all and because of it all Stacy has chosen to live on and be all that she can be for the next person. Stacy holds a various amount of degrees ranging from Human Services to a Criminal Justice degree. She loves writing poetry and is inspired to write about all facets of life. She dreams of sharing her story to all that are inclined to hear because telling her story will allow her to continue to bring down this disease, allowing her to become a stronger woman because of it.


Warren O’Meara-Dates (Etowah County, Alabama)

Warren Alexander Dates was born in Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Miles College, a United Negro College Fund member institution. He obtained his license to preach the Gospel in 2004.

In 2010 following his November 2009 HIV/AIDS diagnosis, Minister Dates founded The 6:52 Project Foundation, Inc. (6:52 Project). The 6:52 Project Foundation, Inc. (6:52 Project) began leading the way of exploring the complexity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as it partners with local, state and national individuals, organizations and corporations on January 16, 2010. Its resources targets individuals and organizations whose audience includes those affected and/or infected between the ages of 15-35 years.

Warren is currently a member of the Alabama Department of Public Health’s HIV Prevention & Care Group (HPCG); He serves as Special Projects Coordinator Consultant for the AL Dept. of Public Health, HIV/AIDS Division; He is the Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors for NEAL (Northeast Alabama) Together (an LGBTQ Community Support Group).

USCA is Sold Out!

The 2019 United States Conference on AIDS is sold out! The good news is that more people than ever want to learn about the federal plan to end the domestic HIV epidemic. Thank you for the overwhelming response. We understand this is an important year. I also know this is disappointing for some and I apologize for any inconvenience it causes. The online registration portal will stay open until August 23rd, then it will close. We will not accept any onsite registrations.

Our primary concern has to be for the safety of attendees. You can only fit so many people into the hotel before it becomes dangerous. For those attending, there will be lines. We will do our best to make them move quickly and we appreciate your understanding.

Consider attending the Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit. The meeting is December 3-4 in Houston, Texas.  The deadline to apply for scholarships is September 16th.

Child Care @ USCA
So many people living with HIV now have children. That is amazing and such a blessing. USCA offers child care for attendees from Playtime Sitters. This company is owed by Khadijah, who is part of the USCA Faith Coalition. Make your reservation in advance with Alison McKeithen. I remember a time when we focused solely on the medical needs of people living with HIV, so to have child care makes me so happy. I don’t think we could have imagined this reality in the early days of the epidemic.

Don’t Call Us “Other”
To plenary and workshop leaders, thank you for volunteering your time, talent and expertise. USCA is first and foremost a training opportunity. This year there will be 160 workshop, four plenaries, and long lines. When giving your presentation, please do not use “other” when speaking about American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians, or Pacific Islanders/Native Hawaiians. While I understand our sample size may be too small to have good data, it’s better to note that fact than to label us as “other” in order to balance your percentages.

Please do not combine the transgender community with gay men. Once again, I understand if you don’t have that information because the data was not collected that way. It is better to note that fact in your presentation. This is not about being politically correct; it is about having real data to supports jurisdictional plans. How can we tell if we are ending HIV in the transgender community if we don’t have good data?

USCA Conference Planning Team
The Conference Operations Office is located in Marquis Salon 15 on Meeting Level 2.

Director of Conferences

Tara is your contact for all conference-related information and has overall responsibility for USCA. Email: Phone: 202.870.0460

Conferences Manager

Alison is your contact for all conference related information, particularly questions about sessions, faculty, and special events. She is also your contact for all things workshop, poster, institutes, master series, and affinity sessions related. Email: Phone: 202.930.2567

Conferences and Registration Coordinator

Shanta‘ is your contact for conference registration and scholarship concerns. Shanta‘ will be stationed at the “On-Site Solutions” booth at conference registration. Email: Phone: 202.302.9720

Conferences Program Associate

Gabriella is your contact for the Conferences Operations Office. She is able to receive and disseminate communications and assist in troubleshooting issues onsite. Email: Phone 202.738.0935

Associate Program Manager

Terrell is your contact for CAPs, programmatic questions, and overall troubleshooting. Email: Phone: 202.977.5598

Exhibits Coordinator is your contact for the conference exhibit hall. She can be reached through the Exhibitor Registration booth in the booth on the Meeting Level 4 of the Marriott Marquis. Email: Phone: Phone: 202.492.8278

Thank You 2019 Sponsors

















Workshops & Pathways
This year’s conference will offer 160 workshops via Pathways and Tracks. The difference between a track and a pathway are the number of workshops.  Pathways are limited to four, while tracks are significantly larger. Tracks also come from abstracts, while a pathway is curated by the host agency. USCA works hard to bring state of the art learning from agencies and presenters who are leaders in their field. Our workshops differ from scientific conferences because we ask the presentations use community learning styles and be interactive and open to questions. Attendees come to USCA with very different levels of understand.

2019 Pathways











2019 Tracks













Morning Worship Service
The Balm in Gilead will host morning worship services starting on Thursday at 7:00. AM. The location is the Scarlet Oak Room on the lobby mezzanine.

For NMAC, ending the domestic HIV epidemic is our mission slayer, our raison d’etre. We will lead with race to ensure that plans to end the epidemic work in all the communities highly impacted by HIV. This only works when government and community collaborate. There is much that divides us and sometimes I’m surprised we’ve made it this far. Biomedical HIV prevention has given us real pathways, but we need to reach communities that are stigmatized, marginalized, and disenfranchised. People living with HIV are core to the solution and must be prioritized, particularly the 400,000 PLWH who have fallen out of care or are unaware of their HIV status.

Yours in the struggle






Paul Kawata*
*POZ Magazine was gracious to print a special run of the magazine for USCA. I am not on the cover, but they are doing this wrap for the meeting. 30 years is a long time and I am proud to stand with NMAC in our fight to end the HIV epidemic.



Understanding The United States Conference on AIDS

Are you excited for this year’s United States Conference on AIDS? To help you navigate the meeting, here is some of the back story. This year’s meeting will focus on the federal plan to end the domestic HIV epidemic. On October 1,, 2019, 57 jurisdictions will start to build plans to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. The promise of biomedical HIV prevention gives real pathways to significantly reduce the number of new cases. The goal is to have fewer than 3,000 cases per year by 2030.

For the newbies to USCA, here’s some of the back story. The meeting is the largest community-based HIV conference in America. Around 3,000 folks will join us this year. Thirty-five percent of the attendees are people living with HIV. Sixty-five percent are people of color. USCA works hard to reflect the HIV epidemic in all of its diversity.

For some people, their first time at USCA can be a little scary and overwhelming. This year there are 160 workshops, four plenaries, and long lines at registration. To help you navigate, join us for the USCA Orientation Webinar on Wednesday, August 14th at 3 PM (Eastern).  Register now.

Attendees are both providers and the people jurisdictional plans need to reach. In the larger world, many of our attendees are stigmatized, marginalized, and made to feel less than. At USCA they are prioritized, heard, and made to feel like the color of their skin does not matter. There will be protests. Protests are in the DNA of our movement and something that NMAC supports. Learning to speak truth to power without violence is an important lesson for people who live on the margins. From the civil rights movement to the women’s movement to the LGBTQ movement to ACT-UP, this is how we are heard.

The Opening Plenary will feature interviews with the federal leaders who wrote the plan. It will be NMAC’s version of the Sunday Morning talk shows with Dr. Redfield (CDC), Dr. Fauci (NIAID), Rear Admiral Weahkee (IHS) and Dr. Cheever (HRSA). Saturday’s plenary is a celebration of People Living with HIV & U=U. Sunday’s closing plenary will be about PrEP and how to reach the communities that have not seen the promise of this science.

Training Opportunity
First and foremost, USCA is a training opportunity with 160 workshops. The conference uses a smartphone app to keep everyone informed. Go to  Google Play or Apple app stores to download the app. CDC and HRSA have pathways of workshops:

  • Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPrEP and SSP Strategies to End HIV: Successes and Challenges
  • Supporting Linkages, Retention and Rapid Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)
  • How do we DIAGNOSE HIV Infections as soon as possible?
  • Partnering for Public Health Response to End the HIV Epidemic
  • Building on HRSA Programs’ Infrastructure Supporting Ending the HIV Epidemic
  • Community Engagement and Involvement of People with HIV
  • Innovation through Implementation Science
  • HRSA Ending the HIV Epidemic Listening SessionI.R.S.A. Resources and Services Administration
  • Sesion para escuchar: Como acabar con la epidemia de VIH

Other pathways include: Faith, Fast Track cities, Health Care Providers, Hepatitis, Health Care Access, the South, STDs, Structural Interventions, Treatment/CFAR, and U=U. The 2019 Tracks include: Biomedical HIV Prevention, Ending the Epidemic, Gay Men, Leadership, Opioid Epidemic, PrEP for CBOs, People Living with HIV, Public Policy, Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming, Trauma-Informed Care, Women and Youth.

There is NO printed program book. Past evaluations said printed program books were not environmentally responsible and usually get thrown away. The best way to stay informed about USCA is to download the conference app. Go to Google Play or Apple app stores to download it. A PDF of the program book that you can download will also be available on the USCA website.

Building A Movement
Ending the epidemic in America requires a movement of people working collaboratively towards a common goal. USCA builds that movement by bringing together the diverse communities highly impacted by HIV to talk, train, and argue. What makes the meeting both dynamic and challenging is our diversity as marginalized people in America.

Unfortunately, HIV disproportionately impacts people who live outside of the mainstream. To end the epidemic, we must reach communities that don’t trust the government or the systems that are put in place to help. Can you blame them? Daily we hear that we are less than, not valued, or disposable. The people who make it to USCA are empowered, but they work with, support, and speak on behalf of too many who are disenfranchised.

That is the great paradox. To end the epidemic, we need people living with HIV to stay in healthcare and be adherent to their meds. PLWH daily face discrimination, stigmatization, and criminalization from the systems that now needs them to end the epidemic. If we do not celebrate people living with HIV and their capacity to be undetectable, how will our efforts succeed? It is difficult to celebrate people you do not know.

Some believe we just need to link people into healthcare and get them on meds. If only it were that easy. While that might work in the mainstream, it definitely does not speak to people who suffer from the trauma of racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, and addiction. When NMAC says this will be one of the biggest tests of our leadership, we mean it. Not only do we have to work across systems, but we also have to work with people who have different values, beliefs, and ideals.

Family Reunion
At its foundation, USCA is a family reunion. We celebrated that fact two years ago and it is still true today. The world can be a lonely and harsh place for people who are different. USCA is a place that celebrates what society shuns.

We celebrate the diversity of our family. If you cannot stand with that commitment, then please don’t attend the meeting. Like all family reunions, there are disagreements. NMAC believes our disagreements makes us stronger, but sometimes it moves beyond disagreements to bullying. That’s where we draw the line. Bullying, harassment, and violence are never OK. As marginalized people, we live in that reality every day. USCA is a safe space where differences are honored and privilege is minimized.

In other words, USCA is not your typical HIV meeting, but HIV is not your typical disease. On October 1st our nation will start planning to end the HIV epidemic in America. Plans are due by the end of the year. Who sits at the table and the agencies that implement the plans will make the difference between success or failure. It’s up to us to fight for our communities. Thank you for joining us this very important year.

Yours in the struggle,






Paul Kawata 
30 Years of Service


Welcome to USCA 50+ Scholars for 2019 (Pt. 2)

HIV 50+ - Strong & HealthyThe HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy Program offers support and engagement opportunities for those HIV-positive and over the age of 50 who struggle with isolation and the need to overcome depression. The HIV 50+ program allows them to reinvent themselves and become active and productive individuals in the community. The program is composed of 51 individuals who either work with or are HIV positive and over the age of 50 years old. The program consists of educational webinars, mini-grant and internship opportunities, sponsorships to conferences and involvement at the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA).

Congratulations to this year’s scholars! Since we have 51 Scholars, we will recognize them in two parts.

Nancy Duncan is 61 years old and has been living and aging with HIV for 34 years now. She is very grateful to have made it through the difficult years before the anti-viral medications that came out in the mid-nineties because at that time, she didn’t think she was going to make it!  She has been blessed to be able to see her son grow to up to become an amazing adult. She currently has some health issues but is thriving pretty well now and has been doing HIV testing and counseling and peer work for many years. Living with HIV has given her the chance to meet so many wonderful and inspiring people over the years and she looks forward to many more years of good health and happiness to come!

Nancy Shearer is a Filipina woman diagnosed with HIV in March 1997. Ever since she was diagnosed, she has dedicated herself to advocating for the rights of HIV+ individuals. She was also a grantee of a mini grant where she hosted a  Social event for heterosexual men and women focusing on connecting with their peers facing the same challenges.



Nikki Calma aka Tita Aida, is a familiar name to the Bay Area communities for the past twenty years. She is a tireless and proud transgender community leader in the Asian & Pacific islander LGBTQI community and the transgender community. She is currently the Director of HIV Services and Community Programs at San Francisco Community Health Center (formerly API Wellness).



Patricia (Pat) Kelly is a native New Yorker who currently resides in Orangeburg, SC. She is aging gracefully and gratefully soon to be 65 years young and surviving and thriving 34 yrs. She was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and AIDS in 1998. She is the mother of three, grandmother of eight and great grandmother of seven. Pat is also the founder of A Family Affair HIV and AIDS Ministry of Victory Tabernacle Deliverance Temple. She serves on several boards and is actively involved in the HIV arena locally and nationally.

Porchia Dees is from San Bernardino, CA. She currently serves in the Los Angeles area as a Prevention Specialist for an organization called AIDS Project Los Angeles. She was born HIV positive in 1986 and has been thriving with this condition for 32 years strong now. Helping others and giving back to her community is her passion. Public speaking and advocating for HIV/AIDS has become her calling, and has been working on trying to become better at speaking out, educating, and articulating her experience with the world.

Randal Lucero has held the position of Board Member with several well-known national HIV organizations, where he has worked for over 12 years advocating for individuals and communities affected by HIV. Volunteerism has always been in the forefront of his professional experiences.  As the founder of the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services HIV Advocacy Network and the State Consumer Representative to the NMDOH HIV Services Clinical Quality Management Committee he has made an extensive impact within the rural Southwest HIV community. Randal describes himself as a person living with HIV who strives to learn as much as possible and translate the knowledge into lay terms for others to understand the complexities of living with HIV.

Reggie Dunbar II is the Founder and CEO of Poz Military Veterans USA Intl.
He served in the US Army Vietnam Era Veteran where he served in the JAG (legal) Core. He serves as the second vice chair of the Metropolitan Atlanta HIV Health Planning Services, a community advisory board member of Emory Clinical Trials and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.



Rob Ingwerson lives in Beaverton, Oregon with his partner of 24 years. He currently is working at Cascade AIDS Project as an HIV Peer Support Specialist. Rob also does HIV testing for all at the main offices as well as testing in different community events. He is involved with AIDS Walk every year. Rob is very excited to attend this year’s USCA as a representative for the Aging HIV community.


Rob Cooke has been living in Washington, D.C. for 20 years, from the Norfolk VA area. He is thankful and blessed that he has been healthy undetectable for 21 years. He is presently apart of the Washington DC Regional Planning Commission on Health and HIV, working with the Community Engagement and Education Committee and the Community Advisory Board with Unity Health Clinics in the District. He is also actively involved with CNHED, Communities for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development with “Housing For All” Campaign, LEDC, Latino Economic Development Center for Tenant Rights, and Manna Inc.(nonprofit housing assistance) board of directors.

Robert Cornelius is the financial coordinator at Cempa Community Care, which provides primary and infectious disease care, mental health counseling, health maintenance, peer navigation and more for people living with and affected by HIV located in Chattanooga Tn. When not crunching numbers for the organization, he spends his time spreading awareness about the virus. Robert is currently working on programs for long-term survivors who are 50 and older, including planning for retirement—a milestone many in his community thought they might never reach. Over the past 20 years, his advocacy work has impacted the lives of people living with HIV from all walks of life and of all ages.

Rob Pompa, LCSW currently serves as Behavioral Health Specialist in a hospital based HIV clinic and is an advocate and activist for PLHIV.   Rob currently serves on the Pennsylvania Special Pharmaceutical Benefits Program Advisory Council, the State of Pennsylvania HIV Divisions’ HIV Planning Group and as co-chair for assessment committee, the AIDSNET Coalition Regional MSM Prevention Planning Group, as well as a member of the Consumer Advisory Board for CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention Behavioral and Clinical Surveillance Branch Medical Monitoring Project.  Rob is thrilled and grateful to be a member of the NMAC HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy cohort.

Robert Riester is a Denver native and 30+ year HIV long-term survivor, and HIV/AIDS Activist and Advocate, both locally and nationally, and pleased to be part of the NMAC 50+ Strong & Healthy program family. He is currently a Program Coordinator for the Denver Element at Mile High Behavioral Health Care, including the Positive Impact program with a focus on HIV and Aging and Ryan White services administration, and works collaboratively with other HIV/AIDS organizations. Robert is currently serving on his third term with the Denver HIV Resources Planning Council and first appointed term to the Denver Commission on Aging, bringing the voice of HIV & Aging to the table.

Shirl Kirskey was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. She is an Administrative Assistant by trade. She moved to Jacksonville, Florida over 30 years ago working at a local hospital for 14 years when she was diagnosed. She is 56 years old and has been positive for 25 years. She is a mother of three daughters.



Stephen Addona is a long-term AIDS survivor, certified peer specialist and founder of RE-START, Central Florida’s largest HIV support group. The focal point of Stephen’s work is HIV and Aging. His primary goal is to set the standard in how to mature well while living with the virus. “It’s an art,” he says, “I sculpt both my body and mind daily, through use of my personal wellness plan.  Exercise, nutrition, abstinence from tobacco and substance use, and continuously challenging the mind are critical in maintaining quality of life.”

Steven Vargas, Program Coordinator with AAMA (Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans) began helping people living with HIV in 1989, has been living with HIV since 1995, and was recognized as one of Poz Magazine’s “100 Long Term Survivors” in its annual “Top 100” December 2015 issue. Steven is a board member of Houston’s OH Project which preserves the experiences of Houstonians impacted by HIV, and is serving a four year term as a Community Member representative to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents.  He has been the recipient of the 2016 L. Joel Martinez Memorial Award from Legacy Community Health and last year received the 2018 HIV Community Activist Award from Houston’s African American State of Emergency Task Force.

Sylvester Askins was diagnosed in June 1990 in Washington, DC. He currently lives in Portsmouth, VA and works as a Consultant. In this role he assists other persons living with HIV to re-enter the workforce and begin their journey to “Endependence.”



Thomas J. Villa is a member of and longtime advocate for the LGBT community, an accomplished leader and successful business executive. He has thirty years of success building and leading new teams and new businesses, primarily in healthcare and community engagement, most recently as co-founder of Impacto LGBT to serve the LGBT Latinx community of Northern Virginia. As a long-time survivor of HIV, Tom is a member of the Community Advisory Board to the BELIEVE HIV Cure Initiative, the NIH Precision Medicine InitiativeTM pilot group, and participates in various clinical trials focused on ending the HIV epidemic. Tom continues his lifelong participation in community service with a special focus on promoting health equity and civil rights.

Timothy Lunceford-Stevens has worked at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) in the Education Department in 1983 working on Prevention. He joined ACTUPNY in the founding year 1987. He is currently on a citywide LTS AIDS Service Planning Council, working to make sure LTS are not left alone in New York. With his SAGE membership, he worked last year to make sure the LTS nationwide were able to stay connected with Equality Bill.


Todd Dickey is the HIV Services Manager at The Gay & Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada, a.k.a. The Center. He has been in the Las Vegas Valley since 1976 and has been HIV positive for 28 years. Living with HIV can be a challenge for most, adding in stigma and fear can often times add in a layer of complexity that can be overwhelming for some. He has the honor of connecting with people living with HIV on a daily basis and sharing with them his experience with HIV and letting them know that they are not alone.

Mr. Trevor D. Bradley is 50 plus and has been in passionately involved in HIV prevention and education since 1998. He helped co-found Brothers United, an HIV prevention, education and advocacy agency in Indianapolis. Trevor became the first person to hold the position of HIV Prevention Program Manager for Communities of Color at the Indiana State Department of Health. He has been an MSM Advisory member for the CDC, lecturer, trainer and advocate for Communities of Color for over 20 years. Trevor is involved with several civic and non profit organizations, but has a fondness and place in his heart for real HIV prevention.

William H. Chastang has been a HIV Consumer Advocate since Feb. 2005. He believes his quest will not end until there is a cure.  He encourages all who have an HIV diagnosis to “Live in the moment” because we are not victims but survivors.



William Hall is a Tlingit Indian from Southeast Alaska and has been living with HIV/AIDS for 33 years. He is a community advocate for the Native American Community in Seattle. He is also co-chair of the Seattle Planning Council and has volunteered with defeatHIV, a CAB to Fred Hutch Cure Research for AIDS for five years now.



Zeke Garcia is a community health worker and health educator risk reduction specialist. He regards himself as conduit of hope; a custodian of culture living the HIV + dream for the past 20 years. He is devoted to a life of healing, empowering and connecting.



Nadine Ruff, MSW, is an LGBT activist and the founder of Divinely You, a support group for transgender people based in New Haven, CT. She works for APNH, a non-profit organization in New Haven, as the Program Coordinator of Aging Positively, an evidence-based intervention for people living with HIV who are age 50 and older. As a social worker, Nadine uses her clinical and community organizing to strengthen vulnerable communities.