May 19 is National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Brian Ragas, Communications Manager, San Francisco Community Health Center

In 2005, San Francisco Community Health Center (formerly API Wellness) spearheaded the first National Asian Pacific Islander (API) HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come as a community fighting against HIV and for the rights of the LGBTQ community and people of color since then. We’ve made gains I never thought we’d witness, such as the right to marry who you love and new, exciting HIV prevention tools like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post Exposure-Prophylaxis (PEP). Our accomplishments were laudable.

Today is a different day, however, and we are faced with a hostile and aggressive political climate that looks to unravel all that we have worked so hard for. Communities of color continue to bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic and are less likely to use innovative HIV prevention tools like PrEP/PEP. The same holds true for API communities. The environment we find ourselves in is cause for grave concern.

Recent data shows that Asians accounted for two percent (959) of the 40,040 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and six dependent areas in 2015. Gay and bisexual men accounted for 89 percent (729) of all HIV diagnoses among Asian men and among Asian women, 95 percent (125) of HIV diagnoses were attributed to heterosexual contact.

Complementing these figures is the fact that API’s have the lowest HIV testing rates for all races and ethnicities: 66.5 percent of Asian Americans and 43.1 percent of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPIs) have never been tested for HIV. Asian transgender individuals, another high-risk group, have the lowest rates (49 percent) of testing out of all racial and ethnic groups.

As advocates in this community we know that stigma remains one of the biggest barriers preventing APIs from getting tested. Many A&PIs feel significant shame and discomfort around the topics of sex and HIV/AIDS and therefore do not speak of it. It starts now that we must end the silence.

It was our awareness of this stigma that led San Francisco Community Health Center to launch The Banyan Tree Project, a national campaign that reduces the levels of shame APIs have around HIV/AIDS. This year we adopted the slogan “Love & Solidarity: Together PrEP, Testing and Treatment can end HIV” to highlight these prevention tools to help get to zero on new HIV infections.


This year we are encouraging API transgender individuals and young men having sex with men (two high-risk groups that historically have low PrEP adoption rates) to talk about HIV/AIDs, to get tested, and to speak with a provider to see if PrEP is right for them. If you are HIV-positive we encourage you to get on treatment right a way to reduce your viral load to undetectable levels and not pass the virus.

We must continue to have these conversations and not perpetuate stigma around HIV Testing, PrEP, and Treatment. We need to celebrate when have victories when we bring community together to discuss these issues. I’m very happy to report that San Francisco Community Health Center just held its annual National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on May 10 at the University of California, Irvine where this project was 100 percent initiated by students on campus to give life to the epidemic in the community.

We vehemently hope that other community members in the API community and allies who wish to support observe May 19. The Banyan Tree Project put together a toolkit for organizations or individuals to put on their own events either big or small. Under the resource section of the website, the toolkit provides posters, factsheets on HIV in API communities, one on PrEP and another on stigma all available to download. Please contact The Banyan Tree Project for more information: info@banyantreeproject.org

National API HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
University of California, Irvine
May 10, 2018

 

 

 

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: May 11, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

Trump Administration Offers Ideas for Lowering Drug Prices

The United States Capitol building with freshly planted spring flowers in foreground.

On Friday, May 11, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar discussed the Trump Administration’s plans to lower drug prices as President Trump looked on in the White House Rose Garden by:
1. Restructuring the way pharmacy benefit managers deal with drug makers
2. Changing the way Medicare pays for some expensive drugs
3. Making prices more transparent

For more information, READ → https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/05/14/611075950/trump-administrations-3-biggest-ideas-for-lowering-drug-prices?utm_campaign=KHN%3A%20Daily%20Health%20Policy%20Report&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=62919386&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–xrNAfHpubv4c4ItYHVUrf3fNcFiurCSRArVzbi1uRLE3JmYD5HWHIYduO7uYiQ3BksmmKGb-23i_Qp1a8QsyBNnprPQ&_hsmi=62919386

 

Maryland Announces Agreement on All-Payer Health Model

In 2014, Maryland became the only state that can set its own rates for hospital services and mandate that all payers charge the same rate for services at a given hospital in the state. However, the federal government required Maryland to further develop its health model to include health care that patients receive in the hospital and in the community. Just last week, Maryland announced that the federal government approved the state’s revised all-payer health care model in Maryland. For more information, READ → https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/maryland/articles/2018-05-14/maryland-announces-agreement-on-all-payer-health-model?utm_campaign=KHN%3A%20Daily%20Health%20Policy%20Report&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=62919386&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–xrNAfHpubv4c4ItYHVUrf3fNcFiurCSRArVzbi1uRLE3JmYD5HWHIYduO7uYiQ3BksmmKGb-23i_Qp1a8QsyBNnprPQ&_hsmi=62919386

 

PrEP Access for Minors

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved once-daily oral Truvada® (emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg)—in combination with safer sex practices—to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 in at-risk adolescents. The safety and efficacy profile of Truvada for HIV prevention in uninfected adults, a strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), is well established, and Truvada for PrEP was first approved for use in adults in 2012.

The addition of the adolescent indication is based on a study in HIV-negative individuals 15 to 17 years of age. In the United States, adolescents and young adults 13 to 24 years of age comprised 21 percent of all new infections in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 81 percent of those infections were among young men who have sex with men (YMSM).
READ → https://www.nasdaq.com/article/gilead-sciences-says-fda-approves-oncedaily-oral-truvada-20180515-00982

 

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 of color. The full report can be found by visiting www.nmac.org/blueprint.

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: 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.
Find your U.S. Senators: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Find your U.S. Representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

 

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

Alabama 5/21/2018
South Dakota 5/21/2018
California 5/21/2018
Virginia 5/21/2018
Maine 5/22/2018
Iowa 5/25/2018
Utah 5/27/2018
District of Columbia 5/29/2018

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:

Arkansas 5/22/2018
Georgia 5/22/2018
Kentucky 5/22/2018

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

Update the Plan!

It’s time for a federal plan to end the epidemic! The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) expires in 2020. Health and Human Services (HHS) should update the strategy and set a date for ending the epidemic in America and a plan to make that happen. This is not the time I would have chosen, but Dr. Redfield’s appointment as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an unanticipated opportunity. For those of us who have spent a lifetime fighting this epidemic, words cannot describe what it means to still be alive and at the precipice of creating a federal plan to end the HIV epidemic in America. Given the diversity of our country, this plan should develop strategies and set overarching goals, but it is not a substitution for state and local planning. An updated NHAS should put everyone on the same page working to end the epidemic.

Knowing what we know, what does the plan need to address? My list is not comprehensive, but NMAC believes plans to end the epidemic start by:

  • Leading with Race
  • HIV, STDs, Hepatitis & Opioid Eradication
  • New Testing Paradigm
  • Economics of Ending the Epidemic
  • Real Time Data

Leading with Race
People of color represent both the majority of people living with HIV and the majority of new HIV transmissions. It’s time to create solutions that are centered on our lives. We’re not asking the federal government to end racism, but we are asking them to figure out solutions that work in communities most at risk. The biggest challenge for people of color who live with HIV is retention in health-care, not access. What can we do to overcome this barrier?

First, we need to prioritize patient centered care models for people of color.  Far too often these models are based on white people and don’t speak to the reality of race in America.

Recently NMAC looked at Trauma Informed Care as a potential solution to why people of color are not retained in care. The trauma of racism, HIVphobia, homophobia, transphobia, and sexism all contribute to the trauma of living with HIV in America.  There is also a deep intergenerational mistrust of healthcare providers and medications. Working to address the trauma of living with HIV and the mistrust of providers may be key to retaining people of color in care.

However, our communities cannot wait for more studies. It’s time to listen and work with the people who live in and are a part of the communities we are trying to reach. Far too often our voice gets minimized. Maybe that is why so many of these efforts have failed.

HIV, STD, Hepatitis & Opioid Eradication
Let’s dream big! We cannot end HIV without considering other sexually transmitted infectious diseases. Unfortunately, each is a driver for the other. Let’s use this moment to not only end the HIV epidemic, but to also end Hepatitis, STDs, and Opioids.

NMAC believes biomedical HIV prevention is key to both ending the epidemic and caring for people living with HIV (PLWH). An undetectable viral load should be the standard of care for all people living with HIV (PLWH). The health benefits of a lower viral load cannot be denied, yet according to the CDC, 50 percent of the people living with HIV do not have it under control. It is important to not blame the individual, but to examine the systems of care that support them. The updated NHAS needs to commit to real targets for retaining patients in care and reducing viral load. U=U is essential to these plans and must be incorporated into the update. HRSA might consider tying funding to a grantee’s ability to lower their target community’s viral load.

Not enough people are on PrEP and those that stay on are 75 percent white. CDC needs to prioritize biomedical HIV prevention. It’s time to reevaluate the role of DEBIs/EBIs and the funding and infrastructure used to support them. It’s not enough to say we are committed to PrEP, PEP, TasP, and U=U. The data need to show that programming is making a difference. Unlike other prevention efforts, the success of these initiatives can be measured. We can collect data on the number of people who start and stay on PrEP and by tracking a community’s viral load. There are new ways to measure success and they need to be part of an updated NHAS.

Needle exchange is a true success story in our work to end the epidemic. The reduction of new HIV infections among drug users has been historic and unprecedented. Unfortunately, the emerging opioid epidemic could unravel all this hard work. Look at what happened in Scott County, Indiana. There is a tripling of new hepatitis C infections in the US. Unfortunately, it’s not just the opioid epidemic. NMAC is also concerned about the increase of meth use by gay men. The updated NHAS should be expanded to include a strategy on opioids and other substance use and HIV.

New Testing Paradigm
Everyone tested for HIV should also be tested for STDs and Hepatitis. The goal is to create a new testing paradigm that links people who test positive for any of these sexually transmitted infections into care. This new paradigm will identify people who need our services across diseases and end the artificial separation in diagnoses. We need a rapid test for HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis that is easy to use, economical, and widely available.

HHS needs to support collaboration between CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA, NIH, health departments, CBOs, PLWH, and people on PrEP to retool their testing protocols. The new paradigm should include nurse practitioners housed at testing sites who can immediately prescribe PrEP or other medications. Rapid testing with nurse practitioners should also be available at pharmacies and in other settings.

Economics of Ending an Epidemic
Ending the epidemic requires additional resources. In the long term, getting to zero will save money because we will significantly reduce the number of new cases. However, there are real costs to scale up efforts. A redirection of existing resources is not enough.

At the same time, we don’t want bureaucracies to grow at the expense of transformational solutions. Far too often we feed the beast at the expense of innovation. Getting to zero is going to take lots of innovation. We may have the science to stop the virus, but we don’t fully understand how to implement that science in the communities with the greatest needs. Innovation requires the voices of the people who live, work, and play in the communities we are trying to reach.

Timely Data
We cannot create real solutions without access to timely data for all communities. We need to improve the amount and quality of data collected from the trans community, women, and gay men. Innovation requires access to this information. Communities must be better trained and integral to these systems. At the end of the day, data must be the foundation for what works and what needs improvement.

Community cannot be an after-thought in the process. Dashboards and APIs (application programming interface) must be developed for them. It is particularly important to include PLWH and people on PrEP in these discussions. Their data is not something abstract and its safety must be prioritized. However, how we use data has changed and our movement must catch up. Do systems developed in the 1980s still make sense now?

Even with these efforts, ending the HIV epidemic will still have over one million Americans living with HIV. That’s the difference between ending the epidemic vs. ending AIDS. Ending AIDS requires a cure and a vaccine, something that is beyond community. Ending the epidemic means reducing the number of new cases to below epidemic proportions. Our work will not be over when we end the epidemic. We will continue to be concerned about health and wellbeing of the 1.1 million people living with HIV who will need ongoing healthcare, medications, and supportive services so that they can stay healthy and prevent transmission to others

Obviously, there are many other innovations and priorities. This is just the start of the conversation. Our movement is about to put together its final plan or at least its next to final plan. For those of us who have spent our lives fighting this disease, this is a huge bittersweet moment.

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata

Paul Kawata
Executive Director

NMAC Connection: Leadership Institute Announced

2018 Leadership Institute is Sept. 5

Mark your calendars for the 2018 Leadership Institute on Wednesday, September 5, in Orlando, FL, prior to the United States Conference on AIDS. Registration and the agenda will go online in June, but we want you to save the date now!

2018 Planning Committee

  • Carmarion D. Anderson, Black Transwomen, Inc.
  • Cynthia Carey-Grant, WORLD
  • Guillermo Chacon, Latino Commission on AIDS
  • Erin C. Faley-Hogue, Christie’s Place
  • David Harvey, NCSD
  • Kathie M. Hiers, AIDS Alabama
  • Joseph Hollendoner, San Francisco AIDS Foundation
  • Paul Kawata, NMAC
  • Naina Khanna, PWN-USA
  • Arianna Lint, Arianna’s Center
  • Kelsey Louis, GMHC
  • Krista Martel, The Well Project
  • Andrea Meirick, The Project of the Quad Cities
  • Jesse Milan, AIDS United
  • Anthony Mills, MD, Men’s Health Foundation
  • John Peller, AIDS Foundation of Chicago
  • Murray Penner, NASTAD
  • Michael Ruppal, The AIDS Institute
  • Bamby Salcedo, TransLatin Coalition
  • Ron Simmons, Ron Simmons Consulting
  • Shannon Stephenson, Cempa Community Care
  • Bill Tiedemann, Hope House of St. Croix Valley
  • Lance Toma, SF Community Health Center
  • Joyce Turner Keller, Aspirations
  • Tim Young, Open Health Care Clinic
  • Stacie Walls-Beegle, LBGT Life Center
  • Dana Williams, The Community Wellness Project
  • Phill Wilson, Black AIDS Institute
  • Andrea Winston, New Horizons Behavioral Health
  • Gary Paul Wright, AAOGC
  • Richard Zaldivar, The Wall Las Memorias Project

The primary goal of the Leadership Institute is to build a community of HIV leaders who can support each other and our collective efforts to end the epidemic.

USCA Early Bird Rate Ends June 8

USCA 2018 LogoUSCA’s Early Bird rates for conference registration and booth reservation end on June 8 – fewer than 30 days from now!

Don’t wait to reserve your place at USCA. Register and reserve your booth space now.

12 Days to Our Next Community Spotlight Webinar on May 22

Join us for our next Community Spotlight webinar on Tuesday, May 22, as we explore the HIV epidemic among Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. We will be joined by: Jacob Smith Yang, Senior Capacity Building Director, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Brian Ragas, Communications Manager, San Francisco Community Health Center; Keiva-Lei Candena, Communications Manager, Life Foundation; Keleka Kaneiakala, POP Leader; Jimmy Sianipar, Senior Testing Coordinator, SSG APAIT;  and Henry Ocampo, Senior Program Analyst, Office of Minority Health Resource Center. Register now.

NMAC (Still) Wants Your Opinion 

As we mentioned in last week’s Connection, we want your opinion on options for the 2018 USCA theme.
In honor of our special speaker Larry Kramer and all HIV activists, we wanted to make this year’s USCA theme more activist in nature. In today’s political environment, we need everyone to be an activist, including calling or e-mailing your representatives, registering to vote and voting, and getting others to vote.
What do you think? Let us know by 5:00 pm EST Monday, May 14 which option you like in an online survey.
Results will be presented immediately following your response; however, any respondent who wants to see the results, must click the “Done” button at the end of the page and wait a few seconds.

The Latest HIV News from DC

Advocating on HIV issues and protecting our hard-fought gains in Washington is a never-ending job. And it gets harder when those in power areoften skeptical at best on our issues. 

NMAC’s policy and advocacy team, in partnership with other HIV and STD advocacy organizations, is working hard each day to protect our community. Read the latest update from them here.

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings in
HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: May 4, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

Senate Hearing on FY19 HHS Funding This Week

On Thursday, May 10, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar will testify on HHS’s fiscal year 2019 (FY19) budget request beforethe Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations subcommittee. This appropriations bill provides funding for the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which spearheads HIV and STD prevention efforts, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), which administers the Ryan White Program, the National Institute of Health, which coordinates various HIV-related research, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which provides services the around substance use and mental health. To watch the hearing live:
CLICK → https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/hearings/hearing-to-review-the-fy2019-budget-request-for-us-dept-of-health-and-human-services

Check Out the Kaiser Health Network’s ‘What the Health?’ Podcast on State Medicaid Changes, and Former HHS Secretary’s Tom Price’s Recent Comments

“Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, and Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo discuss the latest on states’ efforts to reshape their Medicaid programs, the kerfuffle over President Donald Trump’s medical records, and comments by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about Congress’ repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s ‘individual mandate’ penalty. Rovner also interviews Harvard professor Robert Blendon about the complex politics of health in the coming midterm elections.” For more information:
LISTEN → https://khn.org/news/podcast-khns-what-the-health-medicaid-privacy-and-tom-prices-return/?utm_campaign=KHN%20-%20Weekly%20Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=62690688&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8Oued6IqrEOUgPVNRdtwi-GPFmBxbBLk4xRi-uc81Sca_teJtdsWhprUOZPyNK1c_egBXFUXERRtizTyEVKtChQOtP9Q&_hsmi=62690688

 

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.

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: 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:

South Carolina 5/14/2018
New Jersey 5/15/2018
Nevada 5/15/2018
Alabama 5/21/2018
South Dakota 5/21/2018
California 5/21/2018
Virginia 5/21/2018
Maine 5/22/2018
Iowa 5/25/2018
Utah 5/27/2018

District of Columbia

5/29/2018

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:

Pennsylvania 5/15/2018
Idaho 5/15/2018
Oregon 5/15/2018
Nebraska 5/15/2018
Arkansas 5/22/2018
Georgia 5/22/2018
Kentucky 5/22/2018

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

 

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings in
HIV/Health Policy

Week Ending: April 27, 2018
By: Matthew Rose & Sable K. Nelson

Potentially Changes to SNAP

SNAP is the country’s most effective anti-hunger program, helping one in eight Americans afford a basic diet. The 2018 Farm Bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee would increase hunger and hardship by taking away or cutting food assistance for many struggling Americans, including parents raising kids, people with disabilities, older workers, low-wage workers, and people temporarily in between jobs. Coming just four months after a tax-cut bill that will cost $1.9 trillion over 10 years and lavish tax cuts on wealthy individuals and large, profitable corporations, the SNAP proposals would further widen the nation’s economic divide.

READ →https://www.vox.com/2018/4/25/17262764/farm-bill-food-stamp-snap-house-republican

 

Mixed News for Sexual Education

The Good News: Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that HHS’s decision to terminate the City of Baltimore’s and the Healthy Teen Network’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program grants was unlawful and ordered HHS to process their continuing award applications. For more information,
READ →https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/26/health/teen-pregnancy-prevention-abstinence/index.html

 

The Bad News: The Trump Administration introduced of an updated funding guidance for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs (TPPP). The new guidelines require grantees to focus on “sexual risk avoidance” and “sexual risk reduction” programs. “Sexual Risk Avoidance” is code for abstinence only programs. The latest TPPP FOA is filled with these veiled terms to prevent effective, evidence-based sex ed programs. Abstinence-only programs are ineffective and ideologically motivated. The Trump administration wants to fund medically inaccurate, anti-LGBTQ, non-evidence based, abstinence only sex ed programs. LGBTQ youth need accurate, affirming, age-appropriate, and comprehensive education to make informed decisions about their health and relationships. Trump admin’s funding guidelines for Teen Pregnancy Prevention ignore this reality. For more information,
READ →


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.
  • NMAC will participate in a TPPP and FOA tweet-out on Thursday, May 3 between 2pm-3pm ET. Follow hashtags #TPPP #Evidenceoverideology #LGBTQ on Twitter.

 

What You Can Do

TAKE ACTION: 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

Mississippi 5/7/2018
Montana 5/7/2018
New Mexico 5/8/2018
South Carolina 5/14/2018
New Jersey 5/15/2018
Nevada 5/15/2018
Alabama 5/21/2018
South Dakota 5/21/2018
California 5/21/2018
Virginia 5/21/2018
Maine 5/22/2018
Iowa 5/25/2018
Utah 5/27/2018
District of Columbia 5/29/2018

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:

Indiana 5/8/2018
Ohio 5/8/2018
North Carolina 5/8/2018
West Virginia 5/8/2018
Pennsylvania 5/15/2018
Idaho 5/15/2018
Oregon 5/15/2018
Nebraska 5/15/2018
Arkansas 5/22/2018
Georgia 5/22/2018
Kentucky 5/22/2018

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

Important Happenings in HIV/Health Policy

Important Happenings in 

HIV/Health Policy

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

 

Senate Hearing FY19 HHS Funding Postponed
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar was scheduled to testify on HHS’s FY19 budget request at a Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations hearing on Thursday, April 26. However, due to Secretary Azar’s recent hospitalization related to continued complications with a digestive infection, the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations hearing will be postponed. It is still unclear when Azar will return to Washington. For more information,

READ → https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/hhs-secretary-alex-azar-heads-back-to-hospital

HHS Drug Strategy Under Review

On April 17, The Office of Management and Budget began its review of a strategy developed by HHS to lower prescription drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs for consumers. On April 26, President Trump plans to announce the steps his Administration will take to fight high drugs costs. According to the Trump Administration’s 2019 Budget Fact Sheet on lowering the price of drugs, pricing policies include changes to Medicare, Medicaid, the 340B drug pricing program that allows safety-net hospitals to get drug discounts, and speeding the development of more affordable generic medications.
For more information,
READ → https://khn.org/morning-breakout/trump-to-give-speech-on-drug-prices-but-no-new-policies-are-expected-to-be-unveiled/

Kaiser Health Network (KHN) ‘What The Health?’ Podcast:
Nothing In Health Care Ever Goes Away
“In this episode of KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Sarah Jane Tribble of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, and Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post examine how even after Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the health care debate continues to roil politics. They discuss how Republicans in Congress have shifted their ACA messaging and how the Democrats are looking to Medicare expansion. They also discuss state efforts to expand Medicaid and drug pricing. And they spend a moment talking about Congress’ push to do something about the opioid crisis.”

For more information, READ →  https://khn.org/news/podcast-khns-what-the-health-nothing-in-health-care-ever-goes-away/?utm_campaign=KHN%20-%20Weekly%20Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=62270566&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_LRHkm4pjBS364Kv9GoI5eX2OuBR4QwrHz0aNCNHpnW0zXKKP_WC5O445IKULhM_fCq4i5fQNYorkM-pEFDUukBPAxow&_hsmi=62270566

 

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 will continue to meet with congressional staff about the importance of HIV funding.
  • NMAC will continue to discuss how to implement the recommendations from our Biomedical Blueprint.
  • NMAC is planning a face-to-face meeting with the CDC Director and a site visit with colleagues with the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP) in May 2018.

 

What You Can Do

FOLLOW CARDI B’S LEAD: In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Cardi B remarked “I love government. I’m obsessed with presidents. I’m obsessed to know how the system works.” Cardi B went on to say that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to “make America great again for real” by helping old people to receive social security. Even Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cosigned this component of Cardi B’s interview via Twitter:

Components of the social safety net: the Ryan White Program, Food Assistance, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are facing possible program changes and funding cuts in FY19. As various proposals are being discussed, we each have the responsibility to educate ourselves about the issues, systems, and decision-makers that impact our daily lives.

 

TAKE ACTION: 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 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:

Nebraska

4/30/2018
Mississippi 5/7/2018
Montana 5/7/2018
New Mexico 5/8/2018
South Carolina 5/14/2018
New Jersey 5/15/2018
Nevada 5/15/2018
Alabama 5/21/2018
South Dakota 5/21/2018
California 5/21/2018
Virginia 5/21/2018
Maine 5/22/2018
Iowa 5/25/2018
Utah 5/27/2018
District of Columbia 5/29/2018

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:

Indiana 5/8/2018
Ohio 5/8/2018
North Carolina 5/8/2018
West Virginia 5/8/2018
Pennsylvania 5/15/2018
Idaho 5/15/2018
Oregon 5/15/2018
Nebraska 5/15/2018
Arkansas 5/22/2018
Georgia 5/22/2018
Kentucky 5/22/2018

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

USCA Special Announcement: Larry Kramer to Speak to USCA

 

In our fight, Larry Kramer is mythic. As a young queen who was overwhelmed by the loss of so many friends, I found inspiration and courage from Larry’s iconic piece in the New York Native. NMAC is pleased to announce that Larry Kramer will present the opening keynote at this year’s United States Conference on AIDS on Thursday, September 6th in Orlando.

There is a whole generation of activists who have never heard Larry speak. The conference is pleased to give him this platform as we talk about what it means to be over 50 and living with HIV. There was a time when the idea of aging with HIV seemed impossible. Now it’s a reality for most – but not all – PLWH.  As our movement ages, far too many people are living in isolation and depression. Given the trauma associated with HIV, this shouldn’t be a surprise. A better understanding of this trauma may be how we fight for health equity for all communities highly impacted by HIV.

Our incentive to insure access to healthcare, medications, and wrap-around services has never been greater. Not only is there great benefit to the individuals, but there is also a prevention factor. Ending this epidemic requires leaders from communities living with HIV and people who are sexually active or use needles to work together. We have the science to create real pathways to end HIV. What would Larry say if we wasted this opportunity?

If you’ve never heard Larry speak, then buckle your seatbelts. Larry speaks his truth. In 1993 NMAC hosted a dinner at the Library of Congress for the new Secretary of HHS, Donna Shalala. Larry took over the dinner and proceeded to explain to the new Secretary that not enough was being done to fight AIDS. When I say I’ve been protested by the best, I mean it. It took Donna three years to forgive me for that dinner.

Our movement owes a huge debt to all the leaders who spoke truth to power. It may seem unbelievable now, but there truly was a time… I’m going to leave that story for Larry to share. Join us as we sit at the feet of one of our movement’s elders. Space will be limited and NMAC may need to adjust seating arrangements so that everyone will fit.
Paul Kawata
Executive Director

April is Minority Health Month

by NMAC Policy Analyst, Sable K. Nelson

April is National Minority Health Month.
Per Matthew Y.C. Lin, MD, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health, the theme for 2018 is Partnering for Health Equity which highlights partnerships at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels that help reduce disparities in health and health care. 

In observance of National Minority Health Month, NMAC, along with several national, state and local organizations converged on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, April 17,2018 to educate staffers and members about the soon-to-be introduced Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA). HEAA is the only legislation that holistically addresses health inequalities, their intersections with immigration status, age, disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, language, and socio-economic status, along with obstacles associated with historical and contemporary injustices. HEAA is comprehensive, bipartisan legislation that provides policy solutions to address a wide spectrum of health equity concerns:

  • Title I: Data Collection and Reporting—Seeks to increase the precision, accuracy, and number of resources for the collection and reporting of health data.
  • Title II: Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Health Care—Ensures patient access to high quality care by enhancing language access services and culturally competent care in the health care delivery system.
  • Title III: Health Workforce Diversity—Aims to create a pipeline and training opportunities for professional and allied health care workers that will allow them to more effectively serve communities of color.
  • Title IV: Improvement of Health Care Services—Removes harmful barriers to health insurance coverage while maximizing the positive impact of federal health care investments in communities of color.
  • Title V: Improving Health Outcomes for Women, Children, and Families—Addresses certain health disparities faced by women and children, and promotes programs supporting healthy family formation.
  • Title VI: Mental Health—Incorporates strategies to address mental and behavioral health issues affecting communities of color.
  • Title VII: Addressing High Impact Minority Diseases—Proposes focused approaches to combat diseases and conditions that have a disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities, such as cancer, diabetes, and HIV/ AIDS.
  • Title VIII: Health Information Technology—Ensures that underserved communities and communities of color benefit from rapid advances in health information technology (HIT) and new investments in HIT infrastructure that serve as the foundation for improving quality, efficiency, and outcomes as our health care system advances.
  • Title IX: Accountability and Evaluation—Strengthens HHS oversight to ensure programs continue to reduce health disparities.
  • Title X: Addressing Social Determinants and Improving Environmental Justice—Builds upon the ACA’s historic investments in prevention to bolster primary and secondary prevention efforts and dedicates resources to communities striving to overcome negative social determinants.

NMAC was involved in the development of the content for Title VII (Addressing High Impact Minority Diseases; specifically, the subtitle on HIV/AIDS) and Title IV (Accountability and Evaluation). Personally, I must say that it was been an honor and a privilege to represent NMAC on the HEAA Community Working group. It was humbling and awe-inspiring to work collaboratively with countless advocates from across the country who are passionate and determined to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. Collaboratively, we uplifted the voices, challenges and solutions gathered from the lived experiences of our various constituencies.

Since 2007, HEAA has been introduced by the Congressional Tri-Caucus, comprised of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). In total, 158 different members of Congress have cosponsored HEAA in a bipartisan way throughout previous years. In the 115th Congress, Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Barbara Lee are the lead sponsors of HEAA. NMAC applauds the Congressional Tri-Caucus for its leadership and hard work. NMAC will keep you posted about the introduction of HEAA in the upcoming weeks and actions the HIV can take to support this piece of legislation going forward.

Addressing the racial and ethnic disparities that exist in HIV prevention and treatment contributes to the realization of health equity. As people living with and affected by HIV, we MUST keep raising our voices and telling our stories about the importance of racial justice and health equity in HIV prevention and treatment. Population-specific disparities exist in HIV prevention and treatment which disproportionately and adversely impact women, people of color, people living with disabilities, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer individuals.

You will have the opportunity to share your story about the importance of racial justice and health equity in HIV prevention and treatment during the Partnering for Health Equity Twitter Chat hosted by the Office of Minority Health on April 25, 2018 at 2p ET For more details visit: https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/nmhm18/#events

NMAC Connection Special: Why I Wrote an Open Letter to the Director of the CDC

Why I Wrote an Open Letter to the Director of the CDC

For the first time in the epidemic’s history, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes we can end the HIV epidemic in America.  At Dr. Redfield’s first address to CDC staff, not only did he articulate this vision, but also the possibility that it can be done within three to seven years. NMAC does not agree with the new director on all the issues, but we are committed to working with CDC to make this dream real.

Last week NMAC released Blueprint II: Policies to bring biomedical HIV prevention to all the communities highly impacted by HIV. This document can be downloaded for free here. Like Dr. Redfield, NMAC is a big believer in PrEP, PEP, U=U, and TasP. This is the science needed to bend the curve of new infections, support the health of People Living with HIV (PLWH), and end the epidemic. However, it can only happen with leadership, planning, and money. NMAC strategy is to ask for all three. We plan to use Dr. Redfield’s vision as the justification to ask Congress for more HIV funding, for HHS to put together a federal biomedical HIV prevention plan to end the epidemic, and everyone’s leadership to make that a reality.

In a world that is so divided, it will be interesting to see if we can put aside differences to end an epidemic. I have my doubts, but this is the best opportunity we have to move forward. If we don’t make an effort to grab this moment, our movement will be stuck with level funding, 38,000 new cases a year, and no clear federal pathway for ending the epidemic.

NMAC gave an olive branch to the new Director when we invited him to the National Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit. We chose the Summit over the United States Conference on AIDS because we believe it is the place where we have the most agreement. NMAC spoke to Dr. Redfield prior to his appointment and heard directly about his belief in biomedical HIV prevention. We are going to use part of USCA to put together a strategy for the Summit, to listen and talk with constituents about the right messages, practices, funding, and collaboration to end the epidemic.  ore communication will follow.

We can’t do this alone. It’s going to take a movement to make this work. This is the first bridge we’ve had to an administration that has many of us concerned. Deciding to cross the bridge is a test of our leadership. For some it will be impossible. For others it will be impossible not to. There is no clear right answer, but NMAC has always been committed to working with the federal government regardless of the administration. This is also our test.

NMAC will cross the bridge leading with race. We believe in biomedical HIV prevention; however, we are very concerned that it is not equivalently reaching all the communities highly impacted by HIV. The majority of people living with HIV are people of color and the majority of new infections happen to people of color, yet the vast majority of people on PrEP are white, we have a problem.

This is a real test of our movement’s leadership. Where is the line? What are we willing to do to ensure healthcare, medications, and wrap around services for all people living with HIV? What are we willing to do to end an epidemic?  That’s why I wrote the letter to Dr. Redfield. I will keep you informed when/if I hear back from him.

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata
Executive Director