Puerto Rico One Year Later

By Moises Agosto, Treatment Director

Today marks one year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Recovery has been painfully slow. NMAC is proud to take part in the “Take Action for Puerto Rico” campaign. As a native Puerto Rican, this tragedy has struck me personally. Here’s how:

On September 20, 2017, Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane María, a category 4 storm for which the island was not prepared. Previous to María another powerful storm, Hurricane Irma, brought to Puerto Rico extreme winds and rainfall, enough to leave one million people without electricity and the island vulnerable to the force of María.

These atmospheric phenomena were not the only reason for such a devastation in the aftermath of the storms. The detrimental financial situation of Puerto Rico, due to decades of fiscal mismanagement and corruption among elected officials, has had an impact on the infrastructure of the island. Therefore, when the hurricanes struck the island, what was left of infrastructure collapsed, including the outdated power grid weakened by Irma. There was no electricity for more than six months on the whole island. Still today there are jurisdictions without electricity

The people of Puerto Rico were already experiencing a sense of loss and disappointment before the storms. First, at their elected officials and second with the imposition of a Federal Fiscal Control Board to take over the finances of the “Shining Star” of the Caribbean. This federal government imposition highlighted the fact that Puerto Rico is only a territory with no political power to influence the US Congress neither the authority to receive help from foreign countries. In other word it is a colony govern by the congress of the United States of America. An at-large collective realization of the territorial status took place demoralizing Puerto Ricans on the island and mainland. Puerto Ricans were reminded that they are second class US citizens.

With all of that chaos for the average Puerto Rican, imagine what life has been like for those living with HIV. For a year now, their medical care has been, at the very best, interrupted and, at worst, nonexistent. That means their health and their lives have been endangered by this fiasco. The impacts of that lost care can’t be regained. And, unfortunately, there is still no real end in sigh for them.

The aftermath of Hurricane María changed the live of all Puerto Ricans. Puerto Ricans were not only reminded of their second class status but treated as such by the president of the United States, the US congress, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the local government of Puerto Rico. The only response worth acknowledging is the community based organizations that without many resources were able help and bring to safety thousands of Puerto Ricans in rural and urban regions.

Hurricane María was a life changing experience for those in the island and those in the US mainland. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans moved to the US mainland, among them my parents. William Agosto, 80 years old, and Carmen Eva Rosario, 78 years old. The day after the storm my nephew, siblings and I agreed that without electricity their lives were in danger. We were lucky to have friends and some resources that allowed us to move them to live with me in Maryland. They both have a number of chronic diseases that require monitoring, constant doctor visits and the 24/7 company of a healthy adult.

The life of my parents and my own changed. The Puerto Rico we know has disappeared and the one to be formed after María will be foreign to us. My parents are not ready to go back and I am not ready to let them leave because after María they are my homeland, my enchanted island.

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: Sept. 14, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

Conference Committees Agrees on FY19 Health and Human Services Spending bill; Proposed HIV Cuts Fail

A bipartisan group of Appropriators have finished work on a package covering Defense and Labor-HHS-Education appropriations, along the way rejecting several policy measures. The Labor-HHS-Education bill (H.R. 6157) would provide nearly $178.1 billion in discretionary funding, a $1 billion increase over fiscal 2018. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would receive $90.5 billion, a $2.3 billion increase over fiscal 2018. Specifically, as it related to domestic HIV programs, Congress’ funding bill rejected all of the cuts proposed by the Trump Administration. The President proposed to cut funding for HIV prevention, viral hepatitis prevention, and STD prevention at the CDC, as well as eliminate the Ryan White AIDS Education and Training Centers, Ryan White Special Projects of National Significance, the HHS Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, and Minority AIDS Initiative funding at SAMHSA. Now, the bill must be considered from the full House. It passed the Senate on Tuesday afternoon in a vote of 93-7. For more information, READ: https://www.axios.com/senate-passes-health-human-services-spending-bill-bba71d58-f5fb-42eb-abdc-51bc36994c76.html

Court Rules Case Challenging Defense Department’s Discriminatory HIV Policies to Proceed

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied the government’s motion to dismiss. Moreover, the plaintiffs’ motion to halt implementation of a new Department of Defense policy that likely would have resulted in the discharge of service members living with HIV was also denied because the Pentagon modified the policy after the plaintiffs filed the motion. Earlier this year, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed two cases in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against the Defense Department. The cases are entitled Harrison v. Mattis and Voe v. Mattis. The Harrison case was filed on behalf of Sgt. Nick Harrison, a veteran of two overseas combat zones who was denied a position in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps because current Pentagon policy considers service members living with HIV non-deployable and will not allow them to enlist or to be appointed as officers. The Voe case, filed on behalf of a sergeant in the D.C. Army National Guard who was denied the opportunity to serve as an officer and faces possible discharge from the United States armed services because he is living with HIV. These cases challenge the military’s discriminatory policies governing the enlistment, deployment, and promotion of service members living with HIV. For more information, READ: http://www.thebody.com/content/81327/court-rules-case-challenging-defense-departments-d.html

NASTAD Releases Medicaid 1115 Waivers Fact Sheets and 
Updated Interactive Map

NASTAD released two new fact sheets: Medicaid 1115 Waivers: Considerations for HIV and Hepatitis Programs and Medicaid 1115 Waivers: Exemptions for People Living with HIV and Hepatitis, as well as an updated version of its Medicaid Waiver Map. These new NASTAD resources are designed to help HIV and hepatitis stakeholders understand the shifting Medicaid landscape, help clients navigate these changes, and engage state-level decision makers to inform policies that protect people living with HIV and hepatitis from changes that can jeopardize access to affordable coverage and care. Several states are seeking “waivers” that roll back Medicaid protections and impose burdensome eligibility requirements such as work requirements and monthly premiums. Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government. The federal agency that administers the Medicaid Program is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Some Medicaid waivers have already been approved by CMS. It is likely that more approvals will occur in the future.

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care.  Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the general mid-term election happening this year:

General Election Voter
Registration Deadline

Utah

10/7/2018

Alaska

10/7/2018

Rhode Island

10/7/2018

Washington

10/8/2018

Texas

10/9/2018

Illinois

10/9/2018

Indiana

10/9/2018

Ohio

10/9/2018

Pennsylvania

10/9/2018

Arkansas

10/9/2018

Georgia

10/9/2018

Kentucky

10/9/2018

Mississippi

10/9/2018

New Mexico

10/9/2018

South Carolina

10/9/2018

Nevada

10/9/2018

Tennessee

10/9/2018

Michigan

10/9/2018

Hawaii

10/9/2018

Arizona

10/9/2018

Florida

10/9/2018

Missouri

10/10/2018

North Carolina

10/12/2018

Idaho

10/12/2018

New York

10/12/2018

Oklahoma

10/12/2018

Delaware

10/13/2018

Virginia

10/15/2018

West Virginia

10/16/2018

Oregon

10/16/2018

New Jersey

10/16/2018

Maine

10/16/2018

District of Columbia

10/16/2018

Maryland

10/16/2018

Kansas

10/16/2018

Minnesota

10/16/2018

Wisconsin

10/17/2018

Massachusetts

10/17/2018

Nebraska

10/19/2018

Montana

10/19/2018

Alabama

10/22/2018

South Dakota

10/22/2018

California

10/22/2018

Wyoming

10/22/2018

New Hampshire

10/23/2018

Iowa

10/27/2018

Colorado

10/29/2018

Connecticut

10/30/2018

Vermont

11/6/2018

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION(S) in your state: 11/6/18

For more information, VISIT→ http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC is working in coalition with Outserve-SLDN, Lambda Legal, The SERO Project, and HRC to push back on the congressional level to protect HIV positive Service Members.
  • NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY19 government funding and the existence of the social safety net.
  • NMAC released a Biomedical HIV Prevention “Blueprint” entitled Expanding Access to Biomedical HIV Prevention: Tailoring Approaches for Effectively Serving Communities of Color, a new report that establishes strategies to effectively use techniques such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP) to end the HIV epidemic in communities x`of color. The full report can be found by visiting www.nmac.org/blueprint

 Have a policy question? E-mail us! We would like to help if we can. Mrose@nmac.org or SNelson@nmac.org

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: August 17, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

NOTE: The Senate returned from its scheduled recess on Wednesday, August 15.The House remains in recess until September 4.

ViiV Healthcare reports positive 48-week results for first pivotal, phase III study for novel, long-acting, injectable HIV-treatment regimen

The Antiretroviral Therapy as Long-Acting Suppression (ATLAS) study meets primary endpoint, showing similar efficacy of a once-a-month, investigational, injectable two-drug regimen of cabotegravir and rilpivirine compared to a standard of care, daily, oral three-drug regimen. The study showed long-acting cabotegravir and rilpivirine, injected once a month, had similar efficacy to a standard of care, daily, oral three-drug regimen at Week 48. Full results from the study will be presented at an upcoming scientific meeting. For more information, READ: www.natap.org

Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ See You In Court!


In this episode of Kaiser Health Network’s (KHN) “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner talk about a spate of lawsuits involving the Affordable Care Act, as well as the latest in state and federal efforts regarding the Medicaid program for the poor. For more information, LISTEN  https://khn.org/news/podcast-khns-what-the-health-see-you-in-court/?utm_campaign=KHN%20-%20Weekly%20Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=65278495&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_OxJYvxVjxXbZgn1vzU1V-nZIak7GEc1wgtvYj0o2IWhDQ2-CoSu_mpxxLL7ljKH3O5Y4JPrsy-nEJ7W-XpwSQW2ORcA&_hsmi=65278495

Azar Meets With Specialty and Patient Groups about Drug Pricing

On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar met with representatives of specialty-physician and patient groups to discuss the Trump Administration’s efforts to offer new tools for Medicare Advantage plans to negotiate lower drug prices for patients. The groups included the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, the American College of Rheumatology, the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, and Patients for Affordable Drugs. Both Secretary Azar and the organizational representatives expressed appreciation for the opportunity to share their views with each other on the announcement that Medicare Advantage plans will be able to use step therapy or prior authorization to negotiate lower drug prices for patients.
https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/458876035/hhs-secretary-azar-meets-with-specialty-and-patient-groups-regarding-drug-pricing

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care.  Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the primary and general elections happening this year:

New Hampshire 8/29/2018

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION(S) in your state:

Arizona 8/28/2018
Florida 8/28/2018

For more information, VISIT→ http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

 

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY19 government funding and the existence of the social safety net.
  • NMAC released a Biomedical HIV Prevention “Blueprint” entitled Expanding Access to Biomedical HIV Prevention: Tailoring Approaches for Effectively Serving Communities of Color, a new report that establishes strategies to effectively use techniques such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP) to end the HIV epidemic in communities x`of color. The full report can be found by visiting www.nmac.org/blueprint

 

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings
in HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: August 10, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

NOTE: The House is now in recess until September 4. The Senate is on its scheduled recess until Wednesday, August 15.

 

INPUT REQUESTED: A National Community-Led Plan to End HIV/AIDS as an Epidemic

Since 2014, several U.S. cities, counties, and states have announced Ending the Epidemic (EtE) plans. What makes these initiatives unique– in addition to their ambition– is that they are driven by community leaders, including people living with HIV. In the spirit of the Denver Principles, these plans should be by and for those communities directly impacted by the epidemic. Recently, the Trump administration has announced that it will draft its own national EtE plan by mid-2019. This obviously raises many concerns. First and foremost, can the drafting of such a plan possibly truly be led by the communities disproportionately impacted by the epidemic, when these very communities are facing direct attacks by the current administration? In order to preserve the community-led spirit of EtE work, Act Now End AIDS (ANEA) – a national coalition of EtE leaders – intends to draft a community-led national plan. We will engage in a broad, multi-tiered process to collect as much information from impacted communities around the country as possible in order to accurately reflect what we need to end the HIV epidemic for all of us.
To add your comments, CLICK http://www.nmac.org/input-requested-a-national-community-led-plan-to-end-hiv-aids-as-an-epidemic/

 

WATCH: AIDS 2018: What Happened and What’s Next?

The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a briefing to assess the major outcomes of the 2018 International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018), held from July 23-27 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The discussion touched on the latest scientific developments; the current funding climate for the AIDS response; and other major developments to the field emerging from the conference. The panel included:

  • Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator;
  • Chris Beyrer, professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and past president of the International AIDS Society;
  • Jen Kates, KFF vice president and director of Global Health and HIV Policy;
  • Greg Millett, Vice President and Director, Public Policy, at amfAR; and
  • Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS.

For more information, WATCH  https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/event/august-10-event-aids-2018-what-happened-and-whats-next/?utm_campaign=KFF-2018-August-HIV-Event-International-AIDS-Conference&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=65160034&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9gHHBVSS5wS2kNwVWE3GXjX82BGYJ7_z5cGNfHwfuGED9fYE0Y03haRuxh06y0HA8SE4wdPZakxNKHRIPN-aCBI1a8PQ&_hsmi=65160034

 

Protect Medicaid a Key Part of the Social Safety Net

The purpose of Medicaid is to provide health care to low-income people. But in Kentucky, the state estimated 95,000 people would lose Medicaid. A federal judge ruled that Kentucky’s waiver could not be approved, because HHS hadn’t taken into account the likelihood that their policies would run counter to Medicaid’s purpose. So HHS has reopened the comment period on Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirement waiver plan through August 18 (this Saturday at 11:00 p.m. ET). They are looking to get more comments favoring work requirements.  HHS Secretary Alex Azar wants to approve them, despite the court’s ruling. But the judge was persuaded by the previous comments that the KY policy would deny medical assistance, not provide it. And Mississippi has its own waiver request for work requirements.  Parents in Mississippi can only qualify for Medicaid if their income is less than 27 percent of the poverty line ($84 a week for a mom and child). It’s a classic Catch-22: if very poor parents enrolled in Mississippi Medicaid don’t work, they will lose their health care. If they do work enough to comply, they will earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and will lose their health care.

Our friends at the Coalition on Human Need have created a template to submit your comments on the issue.

Click here for the link to have your voice heard on this issue 

The dangerous public charge conversation is back

Trump Administration is again looking at the issue of public charge. This policy would again tear apart families. If it moves forward, it would target legal immigrants who make less than $63,000 a year and their children. Trump is punishing people who wait years for a visa to come to America, work hard, and build a better life for themselves and their family. As many as 100 million people in the U.S. would fail themselves. Trump’s anti-immigrant attacks put families in danger.

For more information, VISIT → https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/reports/2018/07/19/453174/trumps-immigration-plan-imposes-radical-new-income-health-tests/ 

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care.  Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the primary and general elections happening this year:

Wyoming 8/21/2018
New Hampshire 8/29/2018

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION(S) in your state:

Alaska 8/21/2018
Wyoming 8/21/2018
Arizona 8/28/2018
Florida 8/28/2018

For more information, VISIT→ http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

 

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY19 government funding and the existence of the social safety net.

NMAC released a Biomedical HIV Prevention “Blueprint” entitled Expanding Access to Biomedical HIV Prevention: Tailoring Approaches for Effectively Serving Communities of Color, a new report that establishes strategies to effectively use techniques such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP) to end the HIV epidemic in communities x`of color. The full report can be found by visiting www.nmac.org/blueprint

Social Media Fellows Chosen for USCA

USCA 2018 LogoOur USCA Social Media Fellowship program has chosen 17 participants out of more than 150 applicants for this year’s conference. The Fellows will work together to tell stories from USCA on their social media platforms that will be shared and distributed by USCA partner FHI 360.

Aaron Anderson Allen Park, MI
Alex Moz Washington, DC
Alexis Powell Baton Rouge, LA
Arnoldo Galindo Las Vegas, NV
Brandaun Dean Washington, DC
Chinedu Nwokeafor Baltimore, MD
Claire Gasamagera Allen Park, MI
Derek Baugh Lithia Springs, GA
Eddie Gonzalez Houston, TX
George Johnson Brooklyn, NY
Jarred Clemons Memphis, TN
Jennifer Vaughan Watsonville, CA
Kavon Jones El Cerrito, CA
Krupa Mehta Baltimore, MD
Lazaro Solorzano Jr Capitol Heights, MD
Sam Graper Orlando, FL
Tiffany Marrero Deerfield, FL
Xiomara Mora-Lopez West New York, NJ

Congratulations to all of the 2018 USCA Social Media Fellows! We are very excited to see what you can do.

My Perspective: The 2018 International Conference on AIDS

By Linda H. Scruggs, Acting Director, NMAC’s Leadership Pipeline Program

A few weeks ago, I had the great opportunity to travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands to attend the 22nd International AIDS Conference (IAC), which I learned while in Amsterdam, “is the largest conference on any global health issue in the world.” The 2018 conference theme was “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges.” The theme implores the HIV community to continue to maintain and expand its commitment to addressing social determinants of health using social justice and human rights frameworks to reach key populations. I was particularly interested in hearing about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and services, progress towards the 90-90-90 target, increasing capacity for test and treat via differentiated service delivery approaches, client outreach and retention methods, and responding to the criminalization of HIV transmission.

The importance of redoubling our efforts to remove harmful HIV criminalization laws

I must say I was also very excited to see that global HIV advocates and allies are working together to bring attention and to change policies that unfairly criminalize HIV. In addition to presentations in the Global Village and the main conference, HIV Justice Worldwide organized a pre-conference symposium, “Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV Criminalization,” which focused on identifying ways in which punitive laws and their enforcement can be rigorously challenged.

I have been following HIV criminalization domestically through the work of the SERO Project and the Positive Women’s Network-USA and how these bad laws have altered our right to disclosure, an often lifesaving decision for people living with HIV, particularly women. The advocacy community has been successful at changing the hearts and minds of members of the HIV community and even changing laws at the state level. As is also noted by these advocates, much remains to be done to ensure that people living with HIV as well as our brothers and sisters sitting in prison or awaiting processing through the criminal justice system are free from the draconian nature of these laws.

The diversity of people living with HIV who chose to lift their voices on this issue at AIDS 2018 profoundly moved me. It gave me an opportunity to hear the impact of HIV criminalization through a different set of lenses to hone in on how these bad laws are a significant deterrent to global and domestic efforts to end the epidemic. Fueled with a new sense of urgency, I have decided to make this one of the cornerstone issues for upcoming women initiatives NMAC will support this year.

The invisibility of women of African descent from developed countries at AIDS 2018

As I shift to another thought of AIDS 2018, I want to express my gratitude to the organizers of another event I attended specifically for and by women of African descent impacted by HIV. Women Now! under the leadership of SisterLove, in partnership with the Global Network of People with AIDS (GNP+), and HIV women networks from Africa and across the globe have taken up the leadership mantle to organize women of the African diaspora living with and affected by HIV. Over 125 women primarily of African descent from around the globe were in attendance at Women Now! 2018, a three-day Summit preceding AIDS 2018. At Women Now! 2018, I experienced powerful speakers, group discussions, and actions. One action, in particular, led to a representative from a global health organization committing to bring women, particularly women of African descent, to the forefront of the global HIV movement and ensure gender and cultural responses to ending the epidemic.

During this discourse, two concerns became clear to me during the course of this three-day summit. The first concern is the untold story of Black or women of African descent living with HIV who live in so-called developed countries (a.k.a., high-income countries). The second concern is the tension between Black women living with HIV from low-income countries and high-income countries resulting from how each group experiences HIV.

A. A story within a story. 
In principle and practice, it is crucial for the global community to hold high-income countries accountable for addressing the needs of countries in need of resources to fight the HIV epidemic. I support these efforts. The gains we have witnessed would not be possible without this support and the advocacy of many global HIV advocates and activist who made this happen. On the other hand, it is essential for the worldwide community also to acknowledge that many of the Black communities across the U.S. are experiencing not only disproportionate rates in their home countries but HIV rates of infection and mortality rates comparable to HIV rates in South Africa and other parts of Africa. We need our global brothers and sisters to advocate for a PEPFAR to address the health disparities of black and brown people in developed countries. Despite the scientific and service delivery innovations, Black people in the U.S., as around the globe, still have higher rates of HIV and higher rates of mortality. We need your support in our fight as well.

B. Same story but different perspective.
In the HIV discourse over the last five years, I have witnessed the disappearance of women living with HIV, explicitly black women living with HIV. Astonishingly, coming to Amsterdam revealed that black women living with HIV from high-income countries are also held to a different standard than our African sisters living with HIV. Some of this misperception could be how the HIV epidemic is characterized by high income vs. low-income countries with little to no flexibility allowed for consideration of impoverished communities and communities of color in these high-income countries. Racism and sexism work are structural factors, which affect the everyday lives of people of color and women across the globe.

I hope that as we continue to develop new programs and opportunities, that we be mindfully diligent to create meaningful platforms where we can learn about each other across the globe and devise plans for how we can meaningfully support one another. Over the next few months, NMAC’s Leadership Pipeline will look to develop new partnerships with women-focused organizations and networks to help and provide engagement to ensure that women of color are strengthened and provided the tools to create a new dialogue that moves us closer to ending this epidemic.

NMAC Welcomes 2018 HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy Scholars!

HIV 50
NMAC Welcomes 2018
HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy Scholars!

USCA 2018 LogoNMAC is pleased to announce the 2018 HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy Scholars! Our goal is to educate and build leadership among people over 50 living with HIV. Through this year-long program, the selected scholars find/affirm their purpose, expand their scope, and offers the chance to reinvent themselves to become active individuals in their respective communities.

The HIV 50+ Scholars will attend the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA), held September 6-9 in Orlando, FL. During the conference, they will participate in sessions meant to advance their leadership skills, build community, and enhance their advocacy skills.

Congratulations to the following scholars for their acceptance into the 2018 HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy Program:

FIRST NAME LAST NAME CITY STATE
Sylvester Askins Portsmouth Virginia
Wanda Brendle-Moss Winston-Salem North Carolina
Reginald Brown Brooklyn New York
Robert Cooke Washington District of Columbia
Ms Billie Cooper San Francisco California
Robert Cornelius Chattanooga Tennessee
Miguel A. Delgado-Ramos Cidra Puerto Rico
Sonya Edwards Houston Texas
Regis Fontenot Arlington Texas
Zeke Garcia San Antonio Texas
Paul Grace-Neal Oxon Hill Maryland
Christine Kapiioho Wailuku Hawaii
Kenneth Lamb Bellingham Washington
Steven Manning San Antonio Texas
Rodney McCoy Silver Spring Maryland
Terry Munn Durham North Carolina
Raphiatou Noumbissi Havertown Pennsylvania
Kneeshe Parkinson Arnold Missouri
Debra Parmer Richmond Heights Ohio
Venice Price Chula Vista California
Michele Princeton Cleveland Ohio
Rosa Rivera Aviles San Juan Puerto Rico
Raul Robles Chula Vista California
Ricardo Rodney East Orange New Jersey
Alexa Rodriguez Washington District Of Columbia
Juan M Rodriguez Lopez Washington District Of Columbia
Thomas Sampson CHICAGO Illinois
Brenda Vanneza Scalant Pembroke pines Florida
Janice Shirley CHARLOTTE North Carolina
Jonathan Spain Virginia Beach Virginia
John Tenorio Canon City Colorado
Robin Webb Cleveland Mississippi
Martha Zuniga Seattle Washington
 

Returning Scholars from Previous Cohorts (2016 & 2017)

FIRST NAME LAST NAME CITY STATE
Nicholas Alvarado San Francisco California
Nikki Calma San Francisco California
Randall Furrow Phoenix Arizona
Lillibeth Gonzalez NYC New York
Rick Guasco Chicago Illinois
Jared Hafen Salt Lake City Utah
Michele Jackson Rollins Cleveland Ohio
Eric Jannke Palm Springs California
Bryan Jones Cleveland Ohio
Patricia(Pat) Kelly Orangeburg South Carolina
Randal Lucero Albuquerque New Mexico
Russelle Miller-Hill New York New York
Robert Pompa Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania
Joey Pons San Juan Puerto Rico
Rob Quinn Boston Massachusetts
Robert Riester Denver Colorado
Esther Ross Greenville North Carolina
Nancy Shearer Santa Monica California
Michael G. Smith Santa Fe New Mexico
Valerie Spencer Pomona California

Special Note: Standard Registration for USCA ends on Friday, August 10, 2018. For more information about this and all of the conference’s registration rates visit the USCA registration page: here

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings in
HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: August 3, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

Opportunities for Input: Let Your Voice be Heard

Leading up to the US Conference on AIDS (USCA) in September, Act Now: End AIDS is soliciting community input to inform the creation of a federal plan to end the epidemic. It is vital that we hear from affected communities from around the country. There are four primary ways to make your voice heard:

  1. An online recommendation form at https://survey.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eWde8Hsj4p0L4UJ. SUBMISSIONS DUE BY AUGUST 10.
  2. Online webinars covering key recommendation topics ( prevention and testing, care and treatment, structural interventions, research, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, opioids and the overdose epidemic, data and metrics.
  3. Web-based meetings and conference calls led by and soliciting input from specific affected communities
  4. An in person pre-USCA meeting to discuss an early draft of the plan to be held on September 5 in Orlando, FL.

We invite you to use any and all of these options to provide recommendations for the plan. The online form may be used for as many recommendations as you want to submit. While individuals are absolutely invited to submit online recommendation forms, we also encourage submissions from groups.

 

Research Confirms Targeted HIV Interventions Needed for Older Adults and LatinX Communities

A recent study published by the University of California – Riverside argues that interventions are urgently needed to reach older adults and Hispanics to address HIV testing and beliefs. The study entitled “How age and ethnicity impact HIV testing” looks into the many barriers that prevent people from getting tested for HIV, including lack of knowledge, competing priorities during medical visits, and stigma associated with the test on the part of both the patient and provider.
For more information, READ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180803160245.htm

 

Hospital Cost Transparency
On August 2, 2018, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) released its annual Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule. The mandate, which takes effect on January 1, is aimed at boosting price transparency and accessibility. Starting in 2019, hospitals will be required to “make public a list of their standard charges via the Internet in a machine readable format, and to update this information at least annually.” Hospitals previously had to make their prices available only upon request. Patient advocate organizations may find this transparency effort somewhat toothless, as CMS had already required hospitals to make their standard charges public. CMS had originally floated the prospect of imposing additional transparency provisions but opted against any immediate action in the final rule.

For more information, READ  http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/400279-new-trump-admin-rule-requires-hospitals-post-prices-online; https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/cms-final-inpatient-payment-rule-for-2019-9-things-to-know.html

 

Watch: What You Should Know about the New Rule on Short-Term Health Plans
The Trump administration moved to finalize a rule that allows people to purchase health care plans that do not comply with all of the regulations set by the Affordable Care Act. While these plans are typically less expensive than plans sold in the individual market exchanges, they provide less coverage and fewer benefits. Under the Trump administration’s new rule, these plans can now last as long as 12 months — instead of the Obama-era 90-day limit — and be renewed for two additional years. Critics say these changes are part of another swipe at the Affordable Care Act. 

For more information, WATCH → https://khn.org/news/watch-what-you-should-know-about-the-new-rule-on-short-term-health-plans/?utm_campaign=KHN%20-%20Weekly%20Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=64960239&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–FZPiSKDT38eqKEcfKVA_JcsKxxpjDbDPFAq3MFZDzMNmmZjgJuVOPrQnZIxsrcX3sGrxwB5n6nWCKyEyeZ3ggAtbWPQ&_hsmi=64960239 

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care. Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the primary and general elections happening this year:

Delaware 8/11/2018
Rhode Island 8/12/2018
Vermont 8/14/2018
Massachusetts 8/15/2018
Wyoming 8/21/2018
New Hampshire 8/29/2018

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION(S) in your state:

Hawaii 8/11/2018
Minnesota 8/14/2018
Wisconsin 8/14/2018
Connecticut 8/14/2018
Vermont 8/14/2018
Alaska 8/21/2018
Wyoming 8/21/2018
Arizona 8/28/2018
Florida 8/28/2018

For more information, VISIT→ http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

 

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY19 government funding and the existence of the social safety net.
  • NMAC releaseda Biomedical HIV Prevention “Blueprint” entitled Expanding Access to Biomedical HIV Prevention: Tailoring Approaches for Effectively Serving Communities of Color, a new report that establishes strategies to effectively use techniques such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP) to end the HIV epidemic in communities of color. The full report can be found by visiting nmac.org/blueprint.

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings in
HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: July 24, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

Opportunities for Input: Let Your Voice be Heard

Leading up to the US Conference on AIDS (USCA) in September, Act Now: End AIDS will solicit community input to inform the creation of a federal plan to end the epidemic. However it is important that we hear from affected communities from around the country in four primary ways:

  1. An online recommendation form at

https://survey.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eWde8Hsj4p0L4UJ . SUBMISSIONS DUE BY AUGUST 10.

  1. Online webinars covering key recommendation topics ( prevention and testing, care and treatment, structural interventions, research, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, opioids and the overdose epidemic, data and metrics)
  2. Web-based meetings and conference calls led by and soliciting input from specific affected communities
  1. An in person pre-USCA meeting to discuss an early draft of the plan to be held on September 5 in Orlando, FL

We invite you to use any and all of these options to provide recommendations for the plan. The online form may be used for as many recommendations as you want to submit. While individuals are absolutely invited to submit online recommendation forms, we also encourage submissions from groups.

Pharmacy Gag Rule

Last Wednesday, the Senate passed the pharmacy gag rule. What is the pharmacy gag rule? It prevent pharmacists from telling patients that they could save money on their prescriptions. The bill, S. 2554, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), would outlaw pharmacy benefit management (PBM) contracts that restrict pharmacists from telling consumers if they could save money by buying a drug directly or using assistance programs rather than using their insurance co-pay. Next steps are for the bill to be put on the calendar for a vote before the full U.S. Senate. For more information, READ → https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jul/25/susan-collins-writes-bill-to-ban-gag-clauses-at-ph/

Check Out the Kaiser Health News’ Podcast: ‘What The Health?’
In the most recent episode of Kaiser Health News’ “What the Health?”, Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo, and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner talk about the new push on health legislation by Republicans in the House, as well as developments on Medicaid work requirements, drug prices, and the fate of children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexican border. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists offer their favorite health stories of the week. For more information, LISTEN → https://khn.org/news/podcast-khns-what-the-health-congress-and-health-care-again/?utm_campaign=KHN%20-%20Weekly%20Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=64787216&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9X6ycxHo_weKq7UQE4wOfsTu65loYZIBnZtVtoaJtBYVhwt5SSnSpUH-fmCmB9g5MuriDBLsZrNQTndEizDfeUZmWYkA&_hsmi=64787216

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care. Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet with your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the primary and general elections happening this year:

Connecticut 8/9/2018
Delaware 8/11/2018
Rhode Island 8/12/2018
Vermont 8/14/2018
Massachusetts 8/15/2018
Wyoming 8/21/2018
New Hampshire 8/29/2018

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION(S) in your state:

Tennessee 8/2/2018
Michigan 8/7/2018
Washington 8/7/2018
Missouri 8/7/2018
Kansas 8/7/2018
Hawaii 8/11/2018
Minnesota 8/14/2018
Wisconsin 8/14/2018
Connecticut 8/14/2018
Vermont 8/14/2018
Alaska 8/21/2018
Wyoming 8/21/2018
Arizona 8/28/2018
Florida 8/28/2018

For more information, VISIT→ http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

What NMAC is Doing About It

NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY19 government funding and the existence of the social safety net.

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings in
HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: July 20, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

NOTE: The 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) is occurring in Amsterdam, Netherlands from July 23-27, 2018. For more information, visit: https://www.aids2018.org/

 

The Kaiser Family Foundation Updates its Global HIV/AIDS Timeline

Now updated through 2018, the Global HIV/AIDS Timeline is designed to serve as an ongoing reference tool for the many political, scientific, cultural, and community developments that have occurred over the history of the epidemic. For more information, READ https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/timeline/global-hivaids-timeline/?utm_campaign=KFF-2018-The-Latest&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=64613778&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8vtTYa61sQsqAwZFRO3ynj2PwwVdgfMhp9Os0eIlijTmRdj21Fzt67oniq9XkjTv7kAao1hX_zUpkLfkA0qBY3xHLVNw&_hsmi=64613778. You can also take the updated HIV/AIDS quiz to test your knowledge of the global epidemic.

 

amfAR Releases New Reports on Long-Acting HIV Treatment and Prevention 

Last week, amfAR and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law hosted a briefing at Georgetown Law in connection with the release of four new amfAR reports, “Long-Acting HIV Treatment and Prevention Are Coming: Preparing for Potential Game Changers.” The purpose of these documents is to highlight the education and policy dialogues needed to prepare for innovative long-acting products under development to treat and prevent HIV infection.  For more information about the briefing, please read the following blog post on the O’Neill Institute blog: http://oneill.law.georgetown.edu/amfar-and-the-oneill-institute-host-briefing-on-long-acting-hiv-treatment-and-prevention/. The reports may be accessed at http://www.amfar.org/Long-Acting-ARV/.

 

Provisions of Affordable Care Act Under Attack

It is likely that the U.S. House of Representatives will consider three bills related to health care next week. One bill will permanently repeal the Obamacare tax on medical devices. This bill passed the House on Tuesday, July 24.For more information, READ https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-votes-to-repeal-tax-on-medical-devices-1532467519. According to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the House will also vote on bills to expand health savings accounts (HSAs) and put a two-year delay on an Affordable Care Act’s insurance tax.

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: It is very important that our elected officials hear from us to protect federal HIV funding for HIV prevention and care. Speak truth to power by sharing your personal stories with your elected officials. It is vitally important to meet to your federal elected officials when they are at home. If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will? Our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines. Your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from you.

Also, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE in time for the primary and general elections happening this year!

For more information, VISIT→ https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION(S) in your state!!!

For more information, VISIT→ http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx

Opportunities for Input: Let Your Voice be Heard

Leading up to the US Conference on AIDS (USCA) in September, Act Now: End AIDS will solicit input to inform the creation of a federal plan to end the epidemic. It is vital that we hear from affected communities from around the country in four primary ways:

  1. An online recommendation form at

https://survey.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eWde8Hsj4p0L4UJ . SUBMISSIONS DUE BY AUGUST 10.

  1. Online webinars covering key recommendation topics ( prevention and testing, care and treatment, structural interventions, research, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, opioids and the overdose epidemic, data and metrics)
  2. Web-based meetings and conference calls led by and soliciting input from specific

affected communities

  1. An in person pre-USCA meeting to discuss an early draft of the plan to be held on September 5 in Orlando, FL

We invite you to use any and all of these options to provide recommendations for the plan. The online form may be used for as many recommendations as you want to submit. While individuals are absolutely invited to submit online recommendation forms, we also encourage submissions from groups.

 

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY19 government funding and the existence of the social safety net.
  • NMAC releaseda Biomedical HIV Prevention “Blueprint” entitled Expanding Access to Biomedical HIV Prevention: Tailoring Approaches for Effectively Serving Communities of Color, a new report that establishes strategies to effectively use techniques such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP) to end the HIV epidemic in communities of color. The full report can be found by visiting nmac.org/blueprint.