Will Highlight ACA Open Enrollment and Profile of Southern Epidemic
Washington, DC – The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) will bring its annual United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) to New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, September 8. The largest annual AIDS conference in the country, USCA expects to attract more than 2,000 activists, service providers and workers from all fronts of the domestic epidemic to the Crescent City. The theme of the conference, In It Till The End, is meant to reflect the momentous changes that have taken place in our movement that – for the first time in more than 30 years – have made it possible to realistically envision an end to this epidemic.
“For the first time since HIV emerged in 1981, we have a clear blueprint forward to end this epidemic,” said NMAC Director of Legislative and Public Affairs Kali Lindsey. “Less than a month after USCA, open enrollment will begin in the insurance marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Hundreds of thousands of individuals living with HIV will be newly eligible for insurance coverage – many for the first time in their lives. Meanwhile, biomedical advances like treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) have demonstrated incredible efficacy in slowing HIV transmission and hold great promise in our efforts to reduce new infections.”
“As the most widely attended and highly respected domestic AIDS conference, USCA is a critical opportunity to educate those working in our field about these important developments,” continued Lindsey. “We are at an incredibly exciting time in our movement, but serious questions remain. How can we effectively scale up utilization of treatment to optimize health outcomes for people living with HIV, while reducing new infections? How do we effectively and efficiently transition previously and yet to be diagnosed individuals into expanded ACA insurance programs? NMAC and its program partners have worked hard to provide an environment to tackle these issues.”
Given that USCA 2013 will take place in New Orleans, the conference will also highlight the unique and persistent challenges facing America’s South in tackling HIV. Despite making up just about one-third of the U.S. population, the South accounts for almost half of all new HIV infections. For its part, New Orleans is third in the nation in new HIV diagnoses, while Baton Rouge ranks second. Louisiana is ranked sixth in the nation for residents who are uninsured. At the same time, Louisiana – and every other state in the South – has refused to set up insurance marketplaces or take part in the ACA Medicaid expansion.
“USCA is a critical opportunity to shed light on these issues and urge immediate action to address this pressing public health crisis,” concluded Lindsey.
For more information on USCA, visit www.2013usca.org. Media can register on site at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, media room (Strand 2, level 2).
Contact: Kyle Murphy, email@example.com