NMAC Connection: The Latest News From NMAC

Learn About the USCA Scholarship Process in April 11 Webinar

Interested in a scholarship to attend the US Conference on AIDS this year? Join us for a webinar on April 11 to explain the process, including application deadlines, scholar responsibilities, and important dates. Whether you’re interested in an Option A or B scholarship, an HIV 50+ Strong & Health scholarship, or a Social Media Fellowship, this webinar is for you.
Register now
!

Welcome Marissa Miller to the NMAC Family
NMAC is thrilled to welcome Marissa Miller to our family. As a
Program Coordinator, Marissa works in our Leadership Pipeline program, helping to train new leaders in the fight against HIV.  A native of Indiana, Marissa has been an active voice for the transgender community for years in Indiana and Chicago, where she worked at Howard Brown Health.
Marissa shared some of her thoughts about her work here at NMAC.

Join Us for a Webinar on Multimorbidity and HIV+ Older Adults
Join us for “Why Are Older Adults with HIV at Increased Risk for Multimorbidity?,” a webinar from our Treatment division, on Friday, April 6, at 3:00 PM with national expert on HIV and aging, Dr. Stephen Karpiak. As people living with HIV live longer, healthcare providers are spending less time managing HIV-related issues and more time managing age-associated illnesses. This webinar will explore this topic.
Register now!

We’re Hiring!
NMAC is hiring! If you’d like to come work with us, please check out our latest job opportunities.

NMAC’s Newest Voice – How Marissa Miller Makes Change

After a 10-hour drive and saying farewell to my beloved Midwest, I have found myself in Washington, DC. A year ago, this wasn’t my plan, but I have learned to listen to the universe and she told me to step into a new tomorrow. After all, for nearly 28 years I have spoken out as a voice in the Transgender communities, specifically Communities of Color, in Indianapolis, Chicago, and other spaces .

Being HIV-positive, Transgender, and Black has qualified me to have a voice. I believed, whether I understood it or not, from the very beginning that there was a very distinct need for my voice, and I was ready to use it.  A voice is a source of strength that can move others to make change…A VOICE so powerful…A VOICE so transparent…A VOICE so necessary…A VOICE not belonging to just me, but belonging to my people! As an advocate, I have often been mistakenly branded as angry. Yes, it was ANGER that fueled that initial Voice, but today PASSION and LOVE for my community is what now carries this voice.

I am thankful to the universe that my journey from anger to passion and love have positioned me as the first Transgender person on NMAC’s staff.  And not just a Transgender person, but a Transgender Woman of Color. Like with the first of anything, many eyes in both the HIV and transgender community will be paying attention.

Again, my focus at NMAC is not on me, the Transgender Woman of Color living with HIV. I came to NMAC to be a change agent and to work with other leaders as Program Coordinator in the Division of Leadership Pipeline. I am coming to support trailblazing opportunities for our community. I am coming to create additional collaborative partnerships in the fight to end HIV.

And I am coming to help NMAC fulfill its mission.

NMAC Connection: Invitation to CAPS

Would you consider applying to be part of NMAC’s Community Advisory Panels? This is a way too long recruitment letter to talk about our grand experiment. Applications are due March 23.. This newsletter explains NMAC’s vision and strategy to end the HIV epidemic.

NMAC leads with race to end the HIV epidemic in America.

We do it by urgently fighting for health equity and racial justice via our continued commitment to build leaders of color, our focused role within the HIV community on race, and its impact on HIV care and prevention, and by our survival when so many other agencies have closed their doors. In 1987 we started with a commitment to building leaders of color with the skills, connections, and savvy to fight. Today, NMAC continues to build leaders and ask them to focus on race and its impacts on HIV care, treatment, and prevention. NMAC does not do anti-racism work. There are many organizations with more experience and qualifications. To be effective, anti-racism work has to focus on white people. NMAC builds the skills and tells the stories of people of color.

          

In 2014-15, NMAC’s updated strategic plan changed our name, mission, and vision. During this time, America also saw the rise of the Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and MeToo movements. Like these causes, NMAC fights for a world that is fair and equitable; however, our fight is focused/limited to ending the HIV epidemic in America. We are not here to end racism. We are here to examine how race impacts HIV care, treatment, and prevention. The majority of Americans living with HIV are people of color, yet 74 percent of the people on PrEP are white. This inequity is why NMAC fights for comprehensive biomedical HIV prevention for all communities highly impacted by HIV.

There are many ways to lead with race. NMAC believes that building the skills of leaders of color, standing up within the HIV movement, and surviving the difficult years is how NMAC leads with race. Will you join our grand experiment?  Online applications are due March 23 to be on NMAC’s new Community Advisory Panels (CAP).

This is a real program that needs real commitments. Your input will influence the workshops, plenaries, and scholarship decisions for both USCA and the Summit.

I’m going to stop before I lose you. An extended version of the letter can be found here.  Thank you for your consideration.

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata
(202)  277-2777
Executive Director

NMAC Connection Update

Would you consider applying to be part of NMAC’s Community Advisory Panels? This is a way too long recruitment letter to talk about our grand experiment. Applications are due March 23. This post explains NMAC’s vision and strategy to end the HIV epidemic.

 


NMAC leads with race to end the HIV epidemic in America
.

We do it by urgently fighting for health equity and racial justice via our continued commitment to build leaders of color, our focused role within the HIV community on race, and its impact on HIV care and prevention, and by our survival when so many other agencies have closed their doors. In 1987 we started with a commitment to building leaders of color with the skills, connections, and savvy to fight. Today, NMAC continues to build leaders and ask them to focus on race and its impacts on HIV care, treatment, and prevention. NMAC does not do anti-racism work. There are many organizations with more experience and qualifications. To be effective, anti-racism work has to focus on white people. NMAC builds the skills and tells the stories of people of color.

 

In 2014-15, NMAC’s updated strategic plan changed our name, mission, and vision. During this time, America also saw the rise of the Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and MeToo movements. Like these causes, NMAC fights for a world that is fair and equitable; however, our fight is focused/limited to ending the HIV epidemic in America. We are not here to end racism. We are here to examine how race impacts HIV care, treatment and prevention. The majority of Americans living with HIV are people of color, yet 74 percent of the people on PrEP are white. This inequity is why NMAC fights for comprehensive biomedical HIV prevention for all communities highly impacted by HIV.

To help in your deliberative process, here is how NMAC’s divisions lead with race. We have five programmatic divisions: Leadership Pipeline, Communications, Treatment, Capacity Building, and Conferences. In our work to lead with race, I thought it would be important for you to have all the information. CAPs is a real program that will make real requests of your time. Your input will influence the workshops, plenaries, and scholarship decisions for both USCA and the Summit. Here is more information on the program.

 

Leadership Pipeline

The Leadership Pipeline leads with race through its BLOC (Building Leaders of Color Living with HIV) initiative. This work builds the leadership skills of people of color living with HIV. These trainings focus on how race impacts living with the virus. The goal is to build strong leaders of color living with HIV who can take on expanded roles in our movement. NMAC works with these leaders to examine how racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, and HIV-phobia impacts their lives and their leadership. Partners include the Positive Women’s Network, Thrive SS, Transgender Law Centerand the US PLHIV Caucus

The Pipeline also has a multiyear Youth Initiative. While the program is not exclusively for youth of color, it works to insure the full participation of minority youth. Additionally, the program educates about race and its impact on HIV. The Youth Initiative is supported by ViiV Healthcare, Advocates for Youth, and the Magic Johnson Foundation. There are many ways to lead with race. Our work does not have to be race specific in order to accomplish our mission.

 

Communications

The communication department leads with race via its Community Spotlight webinars and e-newsletters. This new, focused effort tells the stores of NMAC’s African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latinx, and Native American constituents. Using their historic awareness months as a guide, NMAC has set February to focus on African Americans, May on Asian/Pacific Islanders, October on Latinx, and November on Native Americans.

NMAC’s Community Spotlight holds webinars and sends out e-newsletters that tells the stories of people of color leaders who might be forgotten or overlooked. NMAC commits to presenting the diversity of our movement with stories from women, gay men, the transgender community, people living with HIV, people on PrEP, and geographic regions that are highly impacted by HIV. Our goal is to inspire, educate, and memorialize the movement of people of color leaders fighting to end HIV. All of our stories deserve to be told.

In addition to the focus on communities of color, the Community Spotlight also sets aside March to talk about women, April for Youth, and June for the LGBT community.  Storytelling plays an important role in minority communities, it’s how we share our history and pass down our values. NMAC’s Community Spotlight is a modern take on story telling: to educate, inspire, and memorialize the HIV history of people of color using technology. 

 

Treatment

The Treatment division highlights the role that race plays in HIV treatment, care, and prevention. NMAC is very concerned that people of color are under represented on PrEP and over represented in new cases of HIV. This division connects, examines, and discusses linkages between race and HIV services via Strong Communities, PrEP Summit & programming, and our initiative for People over 50 living with HIV.

 

Strong CommunitiesStrong Communities is a deeper dive into six southern cities to document how race impacts access to HIV services. NMAC documents the barriers facing people of color living with HIV to get the HIV services they need. This fall, Treatment will produce a best practice guide for community organizations that examines racial equity in services for PLWH.

 

While the Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit is not specific to communities of color, NMAC ensures that the voices of our constituents are part of the larger biomedical HIV prevention discussion. We lead with race by highlighting the challenges that people of color face to access PrEP and by raising concerns about the low retention rates of people of color living with HIV in healthcare. This year we will expand the discussion to include Trauma Informed Care. NMAC believes the trauma of racism directly impacts people of color’s willingness to access PrEP or stay in healthcare and on meds. This April, NMAC will have a PrEP Learning Collaborative on access and retention on PrEP within communities of color. Information gathered and vetted at the Collaborative will be the foundation of a best practices manual on community implemented PrEP enrollment programs for people of color slated to be released at the Summit. 

 

HIV 50NMAC’s Over 50 Living with HIV is not minority specific, but NMAC insures the voices of people of color are well represented.  Isolation and depression are unfortunately too common for too many. Some minority communities hold on to old fashioned beliefs about depression that leads to this disease being under diagnosed with years of needless pain because treatment was delayed.  People of color make-up the majority of people over 50 living with HIV. Building this community’s leadership will create networks of leaders of color who will be asked to help inform NMAC’s programming and be real examples of how to overcome the challenges of getting older with HIV. Through NMAC’s limited mini grant program, they’ve already putting together retreats, social events, support groups, and other efforts to reach their peers. NMAC believes when these leaders heal their community they heal themselves.

 

PolicyEducation logoHIV Policy

HIV policy work is housed in NMAC’s Treatment division. Most of NMAC’s efforts happen in partnership with AIDS United, NASTAD, NCSD, and The AIDS Institute. In this coalition, NMAC brings the voice of people of color to the table. Our primary focus is the federal domestic HIV portfolio. For NMAC, the partnership is about working collaboratively to address mutual concerns. After the 2016 election, the agency was very concerned about the future. In this political environment, we are stronger together.

NMAC also works closely with Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP). Established in 2002, FAPP is a national coalition of local, regional, and national organizations advocating for progressive federal HIV/AIDS legislation and policy. FAPP members are organizations that devote significant resources in support of federal HIV/AIDS public policy advocacy.

New this year is NMAC’s informal Congressional Briefings. In February we held one that spotlighted the African American community. In March it will be Native Americans. May will spotlight Asian/Pacific Islanders and October the Latinx community.  NMAC leads with race by bringing the stories of our constituents to Congress. Each briefing features the diversity of leaders including people living with HIV, executive directors of minority AIDS organizations, women (cis & trans), and gay men.

 

Capacity Building

NMAC is a Centers for Disease Control capacity building provider for community-based organizations. We provide services to a variety of CBOs, most of whom are not minority, but have a large minority clientele and/or staff. Recently, Capacity Building started to do limited work on how race impacts the work place. This work focuses on non-minority mangers work with people of color staff.

This division also has a PrEP program that focuses on youth. In the near future, the agency will need to address how communities and services get shared and divided between programs. Right now, I’m following the “throw a thousand seeds and see what sprouts” theory. Rather than be concerned about overlap, I want to see what programs survive in this challenging funding environment. While NMAC does support new initiatives with its limited unrestricted funds, long term support is needed to make any effort viable


Conferences

The United States Conference on AIDS is NMAC’s most visible program. While not specific for people of color, most attendees understand and expect NMAC to put race front and center when producing workshops and plenaries. These meetings are produced by people of color who lead with race. We are not an afterthought at USCA and the Summit.

In 2018 USCA will bring back the Race Institutes that will be developed by our new Constituent Advisory Panels (CAPs). CAPs are also NMAC’s newest programming to lead with race. By reading abstracts, reviewing plenary concepts, and making scholarship decisions, NMAC extends its commitment to building leaders while also learning from these individuals.

There are many ways to lead with race. NMAC believes that building the skills of leaders of color, standing up within the HIV movement, and surviving the difficult years is how NMAC leads with race to end the HIV epidemic in America. Will you join our grand experiment?  Online applications are due March 23 to be on NMAC’s new Community Advisory Panels (CAP). Hopefully, this long message will help you better understand our vision and mission to end HIV in America.

NMAC Connection: Recognizing Native HIV Awareness Day

National Native HIV Awareness Day is March 20
From time to time, we will feature voices from outside NMAC to talk about their communities and their work. This week, in honor of National Native HIV Awareness Day, we’re proud to spotlight Shana Christensen, a member of the Kiowa tribe in Oklahoma and a long-term HIV survivor and advocate.

There is a saying in Lakota that I really love: “Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ.” It means “All my Relations.” I’m not Lakota. We don’t have that saying in Kiowa, which is the tribe I hail from. Nevertheless, It’s always struck a chord with me. When I think about all the other Natives who are living with HIV, they feel like my family, even if I haven’t met them yet. Native Americans represent some two percent of the US population, yet in many areas of the country, our HIV rates as a race are super high, above whites and in some places, second highest.
> Read more from Shana                                                                                  Photo by Jeremy Charles                                                                                                                                                    

Want to Submit an Abstract for USCA? Join our Re-Scheduled Webinar March 20
As some of you know, we had some technical difficulties with our March 7 webinar on submitting an abstract for USCA. We’ve worked to iron those problems out and have re-scheduled the webinar for Tuesday, March 20, at 3:00 PM EST. Join us and find out more about this process. And, once again, our apologies for the difficulties to all of those who joined us on March 7.
Register now!


Join Us for “Women and HIV in the South” Webinar March 21

Register now for the latest webinar in our Community Spotlight Series on March 21 at 3:00 PM EST. Gina Brown, Community Organizer for the Southern AIDS Coalition, will join us to talk about Women and HIV in the South.
Register now!


One Week Left to Join NMAC’s Constituent Advisory Panels

Next Friday, March 23, is the deadline to apply to join NMAC’s Constituent Advisory Panels (CAPs). CAPs will advise NMAC on workshops, institutes, plenaries, and scholarship decisions for the 2018 USCA and Summit.
For more information and to apply for CAP membership, visit our website.

NMAC Connection: NMAC Honors National Native American HIV Awareness Day

National Native HIV Awareness Day is March 20
From time to time, we will feature voices from outside NMAC to talk about their communities and their work. This week, in honor of National Native HIV Awareness Day, we’re proud to spotlight Shana Christensen, a member of the Kiowa tribe in Oklahoma and a long-term HIV survivor and advocate.

There is a saying in Lakota that I really love: “Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ.” It means “All my Relations.” I’m not Lakota. We don’t have that saying in Kiowa, which is the tribe I hail from. Nevertheless, It’s always struck a chord with me. When I think about all the other Natives who are living with HIV, they feel like my family, even if I haven’t met them yet. Native Americans represent some two percent of the US population, yet in many areas of the country, our HIV rates as a race are super high, above whites and in some places, second highest.

> Read more from Shana                                                                                                                       Photo by Jeremy Charles

Want to Submit an Abstract for USCA? Join our         Re-Scheduled Webinar March 20
As some of you know, we had some technical difficulties with our March 7 webinar on submitting an abstract for USCA. We’ve worked to iron those problems out and have re-scheduled the webinar for Tuesday, March 20, at 3:00 PM EST. Join us and find out more about this process. And, once again, our apologies for the difficulties to all of those who joined us on March 7.
 > Register now!

Join Us for “Women and HIV in the South” Webinar March 21
Register now for the latest webinar in our Community Spotlight Series on March 21 at 3:00 PM EST. Gina Brown, Community Organizer for the Southern AIDS Coalition, will join us to talk about Women and HIV in the South.
Register now!

One Week Left to Join NMAC’s Constituent Advisory Panels
Next Friday, March 23, is the deadline to apply to join NMAC’s Constituent Advisory Panels (CAPs). CAPs will advise NMAC on workshops, institutes, plenaries, and scholarship decisions for the 2018 USCA and Summit.
For more information and to apply for CAP membership, visit our website.

National Native HIV Awareness Day is March 20

By Shana Christensen

There is a saying in Lakota that I really love: “Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ.” It means “All my Relations.” I’m not Lakota. We don’t have that saying in Kiowa, which is the tribe I hail from. Nevertheless, It’s always struck a chord with me. When I think about all the other Natives who are living with HIV, they feel like my family, even if I haven’t met them yet. Native Americans represent some two percent of the US population, yet in many areas of the country, our HIV rates as a race are super high, above whites and in some places, second highest. Scary is an understatement.

Photo by Jeremy Charles

Our people have a milieu of reasons as to why we are at risk. Some tribes do an excellent job addressing prevention education. Other tribes have incredible access to care and treatment. I’ve been lucky to have visited lots of reservations over the years to look at their efforts first hand. I’m an urban Native, so I have quality access to care and excellent insurance through my husband and I’ve always been proactive in seeking out the best doctors and care. (If I did not have my husbands’ insurance, I live in an area that luckily works very hard to ensure my access to care with other funds, like the Ryan White Program, a life saver for many.) On the other end of the spectrum, there are tribes that have little to no HIV prevention, no money for HIV care, and no resources to help those in their communities who are HIV-positive. Numbers always affect funding, so smaller tribes are sometimes left by the wayside.

More of my life has been spent living with HIV as opposed to without it. As an adult, it is nearly all I know. I can’t imagine what an HIV free life would look like. Yet alas, this is my path and my journey, so I have buckled down to embrace it and make the best of it. It hasn’t been easy. It’s been incredibly humbling. There are no days off with this illness, much like the relief people feel when a Flu finally goes away. It requires daily attention and diligence. In the early years I was angry and felt betrayed by the whole world, sure that I had been accidentally wronged somehow and undeserved of this punishment. I had also been taught all the common ignorant stigmas about this disease, like many, about what this disease was and who “should” be most at risk for contracting it and thus never saw how I fit the pattern. So I learned the hard way, as they say. Again, humbling to my core. That was a sure fire way to deterioration and loss of energy and life. In those early years, I could feel it, literally.

Then things changed. I can without a doubt say that my traditional ceremonies are what have kept me alive and well. I’ll also agree that both Native American medicine and western medicines are an excellent mix, and are both what have contributed to keeping me alive and well. I have been privileged to have been able to participate in certain traditional ceremonies. Not all of us have access to our tribal ways. Especially for those of us who are Urban Indians, it is often difficult or very complicated to get home. For me, they were utterly life changing. They were the beauty I needed. They were the lessons in acceptance, patience, and gratitude I also needed. Yes, gratitude. It’s funny to think of being grateful to a disease that has the potential to kill you. Yet what I learned was a perspective so unusual and far removed from the traditional western outlook on a disease. It was the opposite in many ways. Most people would hate their disease, or resent it at the minimum. Diseases are annoying and time consuming and expensive and a literal pain, right? I was taught the antithesis. I learned to listen to my virus. I learned to communicate with it, to it. I learned to respect it as a life form. I also said things like I will need it to leave my body one day. But I learned how to not hate it, not resent it and not hate having it stream through my body. I also had to learn to listen to my body. And I learned that my body listens and responds to what I am saying, thinking and feeling about it. If you say you hate your body, your body hears it. If you say your body deserves to be well and healthy, it hears that too. We are not disconnected from our bodies.

In my tribe, they said that diseases come as a speaker on behalf of our Earth mother. This time, they said, she was poignantly saying that she was rapidly losing her immune system. She said her defenses have been harmed and her ability to heal has been impeded. The Elders said we humans have done this to her. They said we humans need to feel what she has felt in order to understand. And so the disease was gifted to the human race. It’s a far from average viewpoint. But it evoked in me a compassion and connection to this earth mother from where we all come from and must live. We cannot escape the need for oxygen from her air, or the need for food that grows from her soils or water that comes from her reservoirs. We need our homely earth planet and she does not need us. And so in the ceremonies I was taught to be humble, understand my connectedness to the mother earth and this living thing inside me.

The shift to healing is a deeply emotional and conscious one. It also takes daily work to remember that. Healing is different from a cure. It requires love. It requires a release of resentments and expectations. We humans have come far in this technological age and we have advances and achievements still to come. Yet we must not skip the fact that our waste cannot be greater than our consumption and ability to give back. We must return back to center, find a balance and give back in a positive way. All of these factors helped me. All of these helped me embrace my little retrovirus and carry it as a life form in my body. “Sleep and stop making copies,” the western medications say. “Do not invade the t-cells I need.” It remains burrowed in my RNA, now not replicating and not doing much of anything. Yet I am always aware it is there and listening. I swallow $3,500 worth of western antiviral meds each month. And I mediate daily on keeping the peace with it. Back to the Lakota expression, “Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ,” all my relations indeed, even the small viral ones.

So while I cannot speak for all natives across the country living with HIV, I can clearly state that our traditional ceremonial ways have an empowering piece to play if we allow it. Now, some native friends of mine have experienced the complete opposite of me, shunned from their communities, viewed as a sinned Leper of sorts, unworthy and outcast. It pains me deeply. I see them as my brothers and sisters, bound by our disease, our struggles, and our triumphs. And without trying to sound hippie dippy cliché, we are all truly related anyway. There is after all only one human race. It is my hope and outward encouragement to all of you that we can and will work towards and HIV FREE future. It is my hope that we, the collective, will all work towards a healthier life, a healthier planet, a healthier system for us all to live together and amongst. Because wouldn’t that be wonderful? And in the meantime, all the smaller bits and pieces; such as how you treat someone living with HIV, how you look upon the disabled or the weak, the poor, the disenfranchised, the elderly and the mentally compromised, plays into the compassion and love that’s required in healing. The cure is being worked on. But healing is what is attainable right now. I hope you, and all those you know, can play your part. I am.

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ

(Special thanks to my Lakota brothers and sisters for having the bestest expression in the world!)

Shana Christensen is an enrolled member of the Kiowa tribe of Oklahoma. She has been an outspoken HIV activist and prevention educator since 1994. Shana has won numerous awards and recognition for her selfless commitment to educate at-risk communities and stop the spread of HIV, especially and including, Native American communities, people of color and women. She is a board member of A Grateful Day, a nonprofit dedicated to the de stigmatization and socialization of the Oklahoma HIV community. Shana is married and lives with her two children and adopted grandchild in a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings in

HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: March 9, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

 

CROI 2018 Updates
The 25th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections 2018 (CROI 2018) was held from March 4 to 7, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts. Several noteworthy announcements were made:

A new CDC analysis suggests HIV prevention pill is not reaching most Americans who could benefit – especially people of color.
READ →https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2018/croi-2018.html

Utilization of HIV Testing and Prevention Services Among Persons Who Inject Drugs – Indiana, 2016
READ →http://www.croiconference.org/sites/default/files/posters-2018/1430_Tanner_962.pdf

The vaginal ring: more HOPE to the DREAM? Higher adherence and better effectiveness seen in open-label ring studies
READ →http://www.aidsmap.com/The-vaginal-ring-more-HOPE-to-the-DREAM-Higher-adherence-and-better-effectiveness-seen-in-open-label-ring-studies/page/3244527/

For more on these and other highlights from CROI 2018,
READ → http://www.aidsmap.com/croi-2018

 

Black AIDS Institute Launched its Black Women and PrEP Campaign
On March 7th, the Black AIDS Institute launched a PrEP and Black Women’s compendium containing: fact sheets, brochures, posters, presentations, etc. that were created for and by Black women. For more information,
VISIT→
https://blackaids.org/news-and-events/black-women-prep/

 

Greater Than AIDS Releases New #AsktheHIVDoc

Ahead of National Women and Girl HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Greater Than AIDS campaign released a series of short videos featuring Dr. Charlene Flash, an HIV specialist and primary care doctor based in Houston, TX. Focusing on women, Dr. Flash provides the latest about HIV risk, prevention, testing, and treatment. For more information,
WATCH → https://www.greaterthan.org/askthehivdoc-women-hiv/?utm_campaign=KFF-2018-Mar-HCMP-AsktheHIVDoc&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=61143014&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-97ETfCqO-oaMfe01YNdENy7LVhS1q3VbPI75JbYSMUc8fyfokVE1Di2nbGDsPIAw1UX9eLUPNlQNyOQh2C-K6PW4_iLw&_hsmi=61143014

 

What NMAC is Doing About It

  • NMAC remains vigilant in its advocacy to protect FY18 & FY19 government funding.
  • NMAC was in several meetings on the Hill talking to offices about the importance of funding HIV
  • NMAC work to get congressional offices to support the funding letters around the Minority AIDS Initiative

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: The President’s budget has cut or eliminated many important HIV/AIDS programs, it’s going to be a fight and our movement cannot afford to stand on the sidelines.  If we don’t support and advocate for HIV funding and programs, who will?  Funding decisions for FY18 will occur in the next few weeks, so 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/

  • There are no voter registration deadlines in March.

 

Finally, PARTICIPATE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION(S) in the month of March:

Continuing to Celebrate Women’s History Month

National Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day is March 10

By Sable Nelson, NMAC Policy Analyst. I am my sister’s keeper. This upcoming Saturday, March 10, marks the 13th year for National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), when “national and community organizations come together to show support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS.” The lives and stories of women reflected in recent statistics underscores the continued need for the observance of NWGHAAD.

> Read more about NWGHAAD

 

“Women and HIV in the South” Webinar March 21

 NMAC’s Community Spotlight Series continues March 21 at 3:00 PM EST with a webinar on Women and HIV in the South, featuring Gina Brown, Community Organizer for the Southern AIDS Coalition.

 > Register now!

 

 

Time’s Running Out to Join NMAC’s Constituent Advisory Panels

There are only 15 days left to apply to join NMAC’s Constituent Advisory Panels (CAPs). CAPs will advise NMAC on workshops, institutes, plenaries, and scholarship decisions for the 2018 USCA and Summit.

For more information and to apply for CAP membership, visit our website.

 

NMAC’s Youth Initiative Launches for 2018

NMAC has opened the eighth cycle of the Youth Initiative program to train future leaders in the fight against the HIV epidemic. The seven-month program is open to applicants ages 18-25. Youth living with HIV or on PrEP, LGBTQ, youth of color, and young cis & trans women are particularly encouraged to apply. For more information or to apply, visit the NMAC website. Applications are due by April 10.

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ON SSDI But Want to Work? Join Our March 9 Webinar!

On Social Security Disability? Want to work but worried about losing your healthcare or benefits? Join us for our webinar “A Message of Hope for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries” on Friday, March 9, 3:00 PM EST and learn from the National Disability Institute about incentives and supports that can get you back in action.

National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day (NWGHAAD)

I am my sister’s keeper. This upcoming Saturday, March 10, 2018 marks the 13th year for National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), when “national and community organizations come together to show support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS.”[i]  The lives and stories of women reflected in recent statistics underscores the continued need for the observance of NWGHAAD. According to the Office of Women’s Health, “about one in four people living with HIV in the United States is female. Only about half of women living with HIV are getting care, and only four in 10 of them have the virus under control.”[ii] According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “of women living with HIV, around 11% do not know they are infected.”[iii]

 

For me personally, NWGHAAD is an opportunity to thoughtfully remember the women with whom I have served alongside since I began my work in the HIV movement in the early 2000s who have passed on (but, their names live on in my heart). On NWGHAAD, and as often as we are led, may each of us take a moment to speak the names of every grandmother, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, and female friend we’ve lost to HIV. May we honor the memory of these amazing, beautiful, courageous, and strong women with a renewed commitment to end the HIV epidemic in our lifetime. We currently have the biomedical, behavioral, social, and systemic tools to successfully prevent and treat HIV. So, let’s make ending the epidemic a reality.

 

While there is much for us to celebrate on NWGHAAD (such as the decrease in annual HIV diagnoses amongst women), we must not forget the disproportionate impact experienced by cis and transgender women of color.  According to the CDC, “among all women with HIV diagnosed in 2015, 61% (4,524) were African American, 19% (1,431) were white, and 15% (1,131) were Hispanic/Latina.”[iv] Moreover, of the 2,351 transgender people who were diagnosed with HIV from 2009 to 2014, 84% (1,974) were transgender women.[v] Amongst transgender women, in that same time period, 51% (1,002) were African American and 29% (578) were Latina.[vi]

 

Addressing issues specifically faced by cis and trans women of color remains critical to end the epidemic. Since joining the NMAC team last year, I have had the honor of discussing HIV prevention and treatment with several cis and trans women of color who are living with and affected by HIV. The adverse impacts of Internalized and externalized stigma are real, pervasive and crippling our ability to prevent and treat HIV in women, especially cis and trans women of color. Many cis and trans women of color are not engaging in meaningful conversations about their sexual health. Women of color as well as their providers often do not perceive women of color as being at risk for HIV. Women of color are being talked out of HIV tests and PrEP prescriptions by their providers. Some of these women are seroconverting despite their knowledge, willingness, and the availability of PrEP. Moreover, women are being diagnosed at more advanced stages of HIV with a higher viral load and lower CD4 count due to not being aware of their status earlier. Furthermore, women are less likely to achieve viral suppression than men. All of this is unacceptable.

 

It is within our power to change this unacceptable narrative. The conversations I’ve had with cis and trans women of color from across the country, but mostly with those from the South, have challenged and inspired me to continue collaborating in order to address the unique challenges women face that hinder their ability to access and/or utilize HIV prevention or treatment services. Several opportunities can and must be pursued to end the epidemic:

  • Address unique challenges trans women of color face related to prioritizing their health care needs in a world wrought with interpersonal violence, threats of death, lack of healthcare access, housing insecurity and employment discrimination
  • Address unique issues all women of color face related to prioritizing their health care needs while juggling family, work and other responsibilities
  • Collect high-quality trans-specific data that accurately reflects the epidemic
  • Develop/Scale-up culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate prevention and treatment interventions for cis and trans Latinas
  • Educate providers about the importance of PrEP for cis and trans women of color
  • Normalize (and de-stigmatize) conversations about sexual health and behavior.
  • Recruit, hire, and equitably compensate cis and trans women of color to work in the HIV movement
  • Rethink PrEP marketing for cis and trans women of color

 

Together, as a community, we can end the HIV epidemic in women. Our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, and female friends are counting on each of us to do our part! You in?

 

Yours in the Struggle,

Sable K. Nelson

[i] https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/about-national-women-and-girls-hivaids-awareness-day

[ii] https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/about-national-women-and-girls-hivaids-awareness-day

[iii] https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/women/index.html

[iv] https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/women/index.html

[v] https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/transgender/index.html

[vi] https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/transgender/index.html