“Annoy Them…Survive”

Scary Times

I hesitated to write this week’s Ending the HIV Epidemic e-newsletter. Like too many of us, I am angry, scared, concerned, but mostly I am pissed off.  Pissed off because they made me afraid. Afraid because too many things outside of my control can go wrong. I feel helpless and I hate feeling helpless.

At the same time, too many are dead from COVID, particularly within communities of color. There is a vaccine, but the roll-out is another gift from the administration. I know that many in our diverse communities are afraid to get the shot. I understand. Look around us. The world is going to hell in a handbag (I love that phrase) and you want me to take a vaccine that was developed too quickly. No sir, I am not your canary in the mine. For me, I trust Dr. Fauci. If Dr. Fauci says I should take the vaccine, that’s good enough for me. During these difficult times, we have to believe in something, and I believe in science.

The federal government needs 75% to 80% of Americans to get the shots. They will have to rebuild lots of trust with community to reach those types of numbers. That same trust is needed for federal PrEP and U=U efforts to succeed. Too many initiatives (DEBBI) don’t work because they were not centered in community.  Trust is core to the solution; without it we are just another failed attempt to make a square peg fit into a round hole. When the Biden administration says Black Lives Matter, NMAC says prove it by ending the HIV epidemic.

Paycheck Protection Program Latest Round

When putting together this piece, it seemed wrong not to acknowledge the insane situation called life in America; however, its real purpose was to discuss the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program that opened yesterday on January 11th. While it is very similar to the last PPP, please work with your bank to understand the details. Once again it is first come first serve. Once the money runs out there are no guarantees of more funding.

In some way, that’s how I am coping. I have no control over the Proud Boys, but I can make sure that NMAC survives. As my friend Lark Lands used to say, “Annoy them… Survive.”

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata
NMAC
Paul Kawata

Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit Program Committee Members

Program Committee Members 

Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey 

Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey is a vibrant and visible trans woman of color with a passion for inclusion and equality for all. Carmarion is the Alabama State Director with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) under the Project One America initiative. Carmarion became the first trans person of color to serve in a leadership role with HRC in the organization’s history. Before joining HRC and relocating to Alabama, Carmarion worked in the field of Public Health and Education in Texas, managing both local and national prevention initiatives focusing on HIV/AIDS and other health disparities that impact marginalized communities. Carmarion is the founder and previous Executive Director for Black Transwomen, Inc., which is the first national non-profit organization with a 501 (c)(3) with a programmatic focus to uplift the voices, hearts, and souls of black trans women and in alliance with the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition. Carmarion also brings a wealth of experience in faith spaces, currently serving as the National Co-Minister and South Regional Coordinator for TransSaints ministry of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM). Carmarion was born and reared in Dallas, Texas, with family roots from Natchez, Mississippi. Carmarion is a wife, has one son, four bonus sons, and three adorable grandchildren. 

 

Natalie Sanchez 

Natalie is a third generation Mexican-American born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She is a two time BRUIN with a Master in Public Health degree from UCLA’s Executive MPH Program and holds a Bachelor degree in Sociology. She is well-known for her work as creator, Executive Producer, and writer of the award-winning telenovela web series “Sin Vergüenza” which addresses HIV in Latino communities. Natalie has created and led some of the largest and most successful multicultural HIV campaigns as well as implemented a combination of public health strategies to reduce HIV infections in Southern California. Sin Vergüenza, Ask Me About PrEP, Free to Be campaigns have become prominent HIV educational tools among community health organizations across the country aimed at reducing HIV health disparities. She is not only a leader in HIV but has broken into the film industry where she has used film for public health messages and had created a space showcasing Latinos and LGBTQ persons as main characters in their own lives. Natalie is the Director of UCLA Family AIDS Network where she manages a network of providers serving women, infant, children and youth living with HIV in Los Angeles. 

 

Lucas Rojas 

Lucas Rojas (he/they) is a Latinx transmasculine identified individual who works at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in the Center for Transyouth Health and Development in Health Services, Clinical and Behavioral Research, specifically with transgender/non-binary/gender non-conforming youth and young adults as well as in data analysis and is the Director of Research for the Non-Binary & Intersex Recognition Project. They also serve as the National Director of Operations for FLUX aiming to raise the profile of Trans and Gender Non-Conforming community. They have a background in Mathematics, Statistics, HIV&STI testing and as a former client is an advocate in the transgender community. 

 

Louis Shackelford 

Louis Shackelford is an External Relations Project Manager in the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Leadership and Operations Center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. As External Relations Project Manager, Louis’ primary focus is implementing stakeholder engagement strategies in HIV vaccine clinical trials domestically and globally. These strategies create opportunities for consultation with key stakeholders and communities to inform the design and implementation of HVTN studies. Consultations optimize the inclusion and participation of populations and communities who bear the greatest burden of HIV.  

 

Carlos Rodríguez-Díaz 

Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz is public health scientist with twenty years of experience in HIV research. His work has focused in the areas of community health, sexual health promotion, and health equity through actions on the social determinants of health. He has served as lead in several programs and studies addressing health inequities among populations made socially vulnerable including Hispanic/Latinxs, incarcerated populations, and LGBTQ individuals in Puerto Rico, the United States of America, and the Caribbean Region. Dr. Rodriguez-Diaz is Associate Professor of Prevention and Community Health and Director of the Community-Oriented Primary Care Program at The George Washington University-Milken Institute School of Public Health and Adjunct Professor at the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences Campus. He completed post-doctoral training in HIV and Global Health Research, a PhD in Public Health with a major in Community Health Education, and a MPH in Health Education. He has also completed post-graduate training in health policy, human rights, and health diplomacy. 

 

Brandon A. Harrison 

Brandon Harrison is a Project Manager and Trainer on the Performance Improvement team at the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC). Brandon provides training and technical assistance to health care organizations across the country. He has served in leadership positions implementing sexual health programs across the country in communities most impacted by health disparities. Throughout Brandon’s career, he has been diligent in raising awareness to issues such as stigma, HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ issues, violence, sex work, and other issues affecting vulnerable communities. Brandon remains a leader, supporter, and role model encouraging others to continue their resilience. 

 

José Ramón García Madrid 

Jose Ramón García Madrid was born in San Buenaventura, Chihuahua, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States with his family at two years old. Growing up as a part of the undocumented immigrant community in Phoenix, Arizona is an experience that continues to inspire José’s personal and professional life. He is equally committed to work that empowers Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities who identify within LGB, Trans, Queer and Gender Non-Conforming communities. He is also currently a second-year law student at the University of Colorado in Boulder. 

 

James Krellenstein 

James Krellenstein is a twenty-nine years old infectious disease activist focusing on scaling up effective interventions to dramatically reduce the spread of infectious diseases in the United States. At 18, he designed and built the nation’s directory of HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) providers. In college, following his own experience with antiquated HIV testing technology, he played a pivotal role in successfully pressuring the CDC and FDA to expedite the introduction of the first rapid point of care fourthgeneration HIV test nationwide. In New York, James identified a previously unknown reduction in delivery of critical HIV testing and prevention services and helped lead a successful effort to increase the city’s health budget by tens of millions of dollars to reverse this. In 2017, James discovered a pattern of alleged anticompetitive practices by the nation’s largest manufacturer of HIV medications, which led to a classaction antitrust lawsuit currently being litigated in Federal Court in San Francisco. In 2018, he co-founded the PrEP4All Collaboration, which is pressuring the federal government to end the monopoly on Truvada and Descovy, the only drugs currently approved for PrEP. As part of the PrEP4All, he headed up a team that identified and publicized the existence of taxpayerowned patents protecting PrEP, resulting in a Congressional hearing over the price of PrEP, a Government Accountability Office investigation, and a federal lawsuit by the United States government against the current manufacturer of PrEP. Most recently, he co-founded the COVID-19 Working Group, where he headed up a successful effort to expedite the initiation of social distancing in New York City. He holds degrees in physics as well as natural science and mathematics. 

 

Sean Bland 

Sean Bland is a Senior Associate at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center and works on HIV/AIDS law and policy initiatives. Sean manages diverse projects to assist policymakers and HIV community stakeholders assess policy options for sustaining and adapting the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative. He also leads projects related to the deployment of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among communities of color and adolescents and the impact of laws and policies on the health and safety of people who engage in sex work. Sean holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and German Studies from Yale University. 

 

Milton E. Rodríguez Padilla 

Milton Rodríguez Padilla is an educator in public health from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. He is currently part of the Sex+TEAM, a research group part of the Public Health School focused on sexual health and advocacy for LGBT+ populations. Milton has dedicated recent years to HIV prevention through increasing PrEP awareness, HIV research, and implementing interventions towards the wellbeing of LGBT+ youth’s in Puerto Rico. He also co-authored “Incurrectas”, a book aiming to rescue the stories of prominent women of Puerto Rico and is currently a graduate student of the LGBT Policy and Practice Program from the George Washington University. 

 

Rona Siskind 

Rona Siskind, MHS works at the Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, NIH, focusing on community engagement, training, and communications in HIV vaccine and prevention, and more recently, COVID-19 research.  She is an active member of Community Partners, which facilitates global community representation in NIAID’s HIV/AIDS research, and the Legacy Project, which works to increase awareness of and support for HIV research among historically underrepresented communities. She also convenes the Cross-Network Transgender Working Group to promote transgender awareness and inclusion. Ms. Siskind serves on the ACTIV-2 COVID-19 Community Advisory Board, COVID-19 Prevention Network Community Working Group, and CoVPN Community Engagement Planning Team, working to ensure that COVID-19 research is inclusive of the diverse communities hardest hit by the pandemic. 

 

Sheldon Raymore 

Sheldon Raymore is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and lives in New York City.  Since 2014 their mission has been to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, sexual health education, and accessibility of PrEP services for the TwoSpirit community and beyond.  They are the creator of www.PrEPahHontoz.com which provides an enriching awareness experience, with culturally competent and appropriate methods of increasing PrEP awareness. The PrEPahHontoz Tipi project decreases social and cultural stigma’s associated with HIV/AIDS, and HIV Prevention. It also disseminates correct information about HIV and it’s history in the Native American community, while utilizing “culture as prevention.” They currently volunteer for the American Indian Community House, serve on a Native American “Ending the Epidemic” Advisory Group with the AIDS Institute of New York State and serve on NMAC’s Native Constituent Advisory Panel (CAP). 

 

Megan Canon 

Megan Canon, MPH, is a passionate public health leader with over twelve years of experience championing HIV prevention and PrEP in Colorado, California, and Texas. She currently is the Biomedical Intervention Coordinator at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment where she oversees PrEP, PEP, and syringe access programming for the state. Previously, she worked at the Houston Health Department as their PrEP Program Coordinator and at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation where she founded PrEPfacts.org. Megan holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Colorado of Boulder and a master of public health degree from the University of California Berkeley. 

 

Moctezuma García 

Dr. García is an Assistant Professor at San José State University and specializes in health inequities, intersectionality, social stratification, infectious diseases, sexual and gender minorities of color. Research endeavors have focused on mixed-methods approaches exploring HIV-related risk and protective factors for sexual and gender minorities of color throughout the United States. He was responsible for developing and implementing a culturally informed communitybased program to detect and respond to HIV cluster outbreaks (Molecular HIV Surveillance) among Latino/a/x for the Houston Health Department. Dr. García was also a consultant for UNICEF and international agencies addressing human rights issues for highly vulnerable populations. He is currently part of an interdisciplinary team at the University of Chicago developing a communitybased COVID-19 intervention for highly vulnerable populations throughout the United States. He has a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York and an MS from Columbia University School of Social Work. 

 

Melissa Turner 

Melissa M. Turner, MSW, LICSW, MPA, chair of the HPTN Community Working Group and HPTN Executive Committee member, has been integrally involved in patient care management and HIV clinical trials for more than 20 years. She is a clinical social worker in the Infectious Diseases Section at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Melissa is also the community advisory board liaison at the George Washington University HPTN CRS and community engagement specialist for HIV research trials at the local and international level for U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded clinical trial networks. She recently joined the community working group for the newly formed COVID Prevention Network (CoVPN). Melissa specializes in community education, bridging the divide between science and community, and works to integrate community needs and perspectives in all aspects of clinical trial design from conception, implementation, and results dissemination. 

 

DeMarc A. Hickson 

DeMarc has nearly 20 years of public health experience, having worked with federal, academic, and non-profit agencies. As an alum of Norfolk State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Ph.D.-level Biostatistician, he has completed a variety of certifications and trainings, including the HPTN and MACC Scholars Programs. Dr. Hickson is an avid “urban farmer” and traveler. 

Planning for a New Administration

Last week President-elect Biden officially committed to reinstating the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) at the White House. Now is the time for the HIV community to weigh-in, particularly since this leader will be the President’s representative in our struggle to end the HIV epidemic (EHE) in America. NMAC hopes the Biden administration will consider ending HIV as an integral component of their commitment to racial justice in America.

Here are some of the critical skills that NMAC hopes for the leader of ONAP:

  • Integrate EHE efforts with the Biden administration’s commitment to Black Lives Matter,
  • Passionate leader living with HIV from community,
  • Expand office to focus on the syndemic epidemics of HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis,
  • Work with the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) and Congress to ensure full funding of EHE efforts,
  • Understand the complexities and challenges of HIV Implementation Science,
  • Use the imprimatur of the White House to bring community and federal agencies together to figure out real EHE solutions,
  • Full and active voice on the Domestic Policy Council,
  • Voice in the HIV movement for the President, and
  • Voice of the HIV movement in the White House.

This list is far from comprehensive. What would you add? Let me know because NMAC is writing another letter to the Biden transition team this week. However, our work cannot be limited to ONAP. The President-Elect has already begun announcing his nomination for senior leadership roles and will appoint new leaders immediately after the inauguration. The civil servants will craft the way that we not only do business in Washington, but how America will function both domestically and around the world. We want to encourage each of you to get involved in building our country – from employment to advocacy. Our voices and our bodies are needed to End the HIV Epidemic. Now is our time.

2021 Virtual Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit
The 2021 Virtual Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit is March 30-31, 2021. This year the conference prioritizes implementation of of PrEP and U=U as the core services for ending HIV. While there is a COVID vaccine on the horizon, it is not in time for this year’s meeting. However, NMAC hopes we can have the 2021 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS in person in Washington DC on September 9-12. It will be an important opportunity to introduce members of the Biden administration to the HIV movement. We are closely monitoring the roll-out of the COVID vaccine and hope to make a final determination about meeting “in-person” in February.

The 2021 Summit will give out 1,500 scholarships to the virtual meeting. People living with HIV and people on PrEP will be prioritized. Click here to apply. NMAC understands the central role they play in ending the epidemic. The 2021 Summit goal is to bring leaders from the various target communities together with the staff responsible for EHE program implementation. Hopefully they are the same people, but too often this is not true. NMAC thanks Gilead for being the Presenting Sponsor for the 2021 Summit.

NMAC’s Hill Champions Event
Thank you to everyone who attended NMAC’s Hill Champions fundraiser. If you were unable to join us, please watch the event for free here. NMAC thanks Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Barbara Lee for the leadership our movement needs from them. It will be a very heavy lift to get full funding for our efforts to end the HIV epidemic.

NMAC needs your support as we get set to work with the new Biden administration. Please text NMAC to 50155 to donate. Thanks to a $20,000 matching challenge from NMAC board members Norm Nickens and John Hill, your donation will be doubled. We were able to increase HIV support by hundreds of millions of dollars in the Trump administration. Imagine what we can do during the Biden presidency. Thank you for your support and please be safe during these stressful times.

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata 
NMAC

To President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

NMAC logo

Congratulations on your historic win! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen yet again how much more racial and ethnic minorities are impacted by health emergencies. NMAC looks for your administration to prioritize racial justice and reconciliation. Vice President-elect Harris is uniquely positioned to speak to America’s longstanding and present-day systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. The heightened attention to the Black Lives Matter movement has once again shone a light on the systemic racism that African Americans face daily. Now we call on the Biden administration to offer meaningful change and sustainable solutions.

For NMAC, it’s hard to put into words the historic nature of the election of a woman born to Black and South Asian immigrants to be our Vice President. She represents us. In the United States, Blacks are the most HIV-impacted race of women in the United States. Your administration has committed to ending the HIV epidemic by 2025. NMAC and the entire HIV movement looks forward to making that a reality.

Solutions for ending the HIV epidemic must focus on race and dismantling systemic racism. The Biden era is an opportunity to reset the course of our work to end the HIV epidemic and to build solutions that are community-led and focused. Here are some of NMAC’s near term recommendations:

Transition Period
The HIV movement hopes to work with your administration on key presidential appointments in positions like the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), as well as presidential staff at the CDC, FDA, HRSA, CMS, HUD/HOPWA, IHS and SAMHSA and to identify leaders who believe in science-based and evidenced solutions who will rebuild the community’s trust in government.

NMAC, like many HIV organizations, also recommends the new administration reestablish the Office of National AIDS/HIV Policy as part of the White House Domestic Policy Council. This act will reaffirm your commitment to end the HIV epidemic. The President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS should be housed back in the White House and we urge you to fill the many open slots. When filling the seats, we hope you will prioritize people living with HIV, especially from the diverse communities that are most impacted by the virus.

After Inauguration
On day one, NMAC asks the new administration for executive orders that reverse the Trump Administration’s efforts that directly or indirectly affected the communities highly impacted by HIV. For example, we cannot allow the elimination of trainings to address racial bias and its impact on our constituents. Now is the time to reassert the dignity, rights, and access to healthcare for BIPOC, women, and/or LGBTQ+ communities, particularly the transgender/non gender-conforming communities. For too long we have been minimized and made to feel not part of the American dream.

NMAC understands that every administration wants its own plans and strategies. President George H.W. Bush first signed the Ryan White CARE Act. President George W. Bush had the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. President Clinton appointed the first White House AIDS Czar. Under President Obama, the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy was created. President Trump’s administration expanded to a national effort on Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE). NMAC believes that an amalgam of these plans should be the blueprint for the Biden administration. Your administration must address the systemics in order to End the Epidemics of HIV, STIs, and Hepatitis. It’s time to think big by working to end three (3) epidemics.

The work starts with your FY21 budget. We urge you to fully fund efforts to end the HIV, STIs, and viral hepatitis epidemics. Additionally, we request full funding for the Ryan White program and HOPWA and a renewed commitment to finding an HIV vaccine and cure. HIV, STIs, and viral hepatitis sit at the intersection of many of your administration’s priorities, including healthcare, racial justice for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ communities, drug pricing, expanded access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, and a public health option. The HIV community also looks to work closely with your administration to stop the criminalization of HIV transmission. Health conditions should not make someone more liable to criminal prosecution.

NMAC is closely monitoring the “nature” of your 2021 Inauguration. Will it be virtual or in-person? Either way, as we’ve done in the past, NMAC in coalition with other HIV organizations, will host an inauguration event. We hope you or a member of your senior team can join us to celebrate your inauguration.

Congratulations, we look forward to working together.

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata 
NMAC

2020 HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy Program New Members

HIV 50+ - Strong & HealthyNMAC is pleased to announce the 2020 HIV 50+ new cohort. These 50 individuals were part of a competitive application process. The program started in the summer of 2016, and the 2020 affiliate constitutes the fifth iteration. Since then, we have fostered leadership and built community through the program projects like the mini-grants. The year 2020 will not be different. We will continue to engage, educate, advocate, and mobilize the 250 HIV 50+ scholars recruited through the years.

In 2020, NMAC’s treatment division has reconfigured all program activities into a virtual framework. These include the HIV and aging pathway at USCHA, the peer education and advocacy training, the newly formed “National HIV and Aging Advocacy Network,” a social media campaign, and the series of educational webinars. We are excited about our new projects and the work to be done with the latest and committed HIV 50+ cohort. Click here for bios and photos of the HIV 50+ 2020 scholars.

NMAC takes accountability and transparency seriously. We represent diversity in the HIV movement. That’s why, as we go through a selection process for the HIV 50+ scholars, we make sure that those selected bring forward their best skills. We thrive on a balanced representation of the communities we represent.

The 2020 HIV 50+ new cohort comprises individuals aging with HIV advocating for the collective and cumulative issues affecting persons over 50 and aging with HIV. Being focused on 50 years of age, a majority of the members belong to the age group of 49-65 (90%). Forty -three percent is from the group of 56-60 while 24% belong to the group of 49-55 and 22% to the 61-65. Also, 8% are from the 66-70 age group and 2% from 71-73.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the selected group of 50 advocates, 52% identify as male, while 42% identify as female. Although, to a lesser extent, this cohort also has ta trans female (2%) and non-binary experience (4%).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regarding sexual orientation, the cohort comprises mostly gay (54%) and heterosexual (38%) individuals. Bisexual (4%) and lesbian (4%) individuals are also part of the group but to a lesser degree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The majority of the members belong to the African American racial group, comprising 44% of the cohort’s total. The following group was 26% Latinx individuals and 22% Caucasian/White. Other races/ethnicities are Asian (4%) and Native American (2%). An additional 2% represented others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We congratulate and welcome our members and are excited about the new HIV 50+ cohort and are looking forward to working ahead, engaging, mobilizing, educating, and advocating for the over fifty HIV+ community.

 

Ángel Luis Hernández

Ángel Hernández is 57 years old and was diagnosed with AIDS in 2003. As an HIV Community Educator/Advocate, he has received scholarships to attend various national and international conferences, including USCA, Positive Living, IAS, CROI, and A.I., D.S. Watch. Mr. Hernandez has organized events on HIV-related topics aimed at critical populations and healthcare providers in small rural Puerto Rico communities. He serves as a peer educator in supporting other persons with HIV and AIDS who reach out to him with concerns about a broad range of issues. Using his social networks, Angel provides support to people with HIV and AIDS by offering reliable information and personal experience.

 

Aracelis Quinones

Aracelis Quinones is the Coordinator of Poder Latino, a group for people living with HIV/AIDS and a woman living with HIV for the past 30 years. She came to New York 31 years ago from Puerto Rico to seek better opportunities. Aracelis received an AIDS diagnosis (T-Cell count of 30) and Hepatitis C. When Aracelis realized it was time to do something about her health situation, survive, and help others. She started working in the social services field with the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services in Brooklyn. She began doing community work for the underserved and predominantly Spanish-speaking HIV population. She assisted in facilitating an HIV positive women’s group and advocating for client rights. She continued with her HIV prevention, education, and outreach work and completed her CASAC accreditation to work with substance-using communities.

 

Bonetta Spratley

Bonetta Spratley, 51, is a native of Hopewell, Virginia, born July 19, 1969. Bonetta was diagnosed with HIV Nov. 1990 at the age of 19. After several years she began to get involved in many local, community events with the Health Dept. and other organizations that had HIV/AIDS programs. She began sharing her personal story with HIV in 2003 at schools, women shelters, churches, and HIV functions. Mrs. Spratley also implemented HIV 101 in the local jail monthly for several years. Bonetta moved to South Carolina in 2009 and has since then been involved in the community as a spokesperson for HIV/AIDS, worked for Wateree AIDS Task Force, a local ASO in her community, a Medical case manager for Sandhills Medical Foundation(FQHC) for five years, as well as a peer adherence coach for Tandem Health(FQHC) for two years. She became a part of P.o.s.i.t.i.v.e VOICES (2010), an HIV Positive Women’s Health Advocacy Network, addressing the economic and environmental impact that the HIV/AIDS epidemic poses on individuals, communities, and ultimately society.

 

Bryan Jones

Bryan has been thriving with aids for 37 years and an advocate/ activist for half that time. He is the founder of the Sankofa Initiative, which holds healing weekends for PLWHA’s, conducts workshops and training for providers and PLWHA’s. He is one of the founding steering committee members and an ambassador of the Global U=U Movement. Mr. Jones founded the DIRT Advocacy Movement. He worked in modernizing HIV non-disclosure criminalization laws for ten years as a member of Ohio Health Modernization Movement Founders, a coalition dedicated to updating Ohio’s HIV specific laws.

 

Cecilia Dennis

In her current role, Cecilia assists patients with navigating healthcare systems and locating community resources, thereby removing barriers to staying in care. Acting as a liaison between people living with HIV/AIDS and those seeking PrEP, their medical care providers, pharmacists, and patient assistance programs, Cecilia makes assessing care and services as seamless as possible. Cecilia’s goals relate to leadership development, community engagement, reducing homelessness, and Stigma, focusing on meaningful involvement and intersectionality. To align with these goals, Cecilia has taken on the role of Arizona State Lead for Positive Women’s Network, an organization that inspires, informs, and mobilizes women living with HIV to advocate for changes that improve their lives and uphold the rights of people living with HIV. Cecilia is an NMAC BLOC Leadership TOT, HIV Strong and Health 50+ Fellow, PWN-USA Arizona State Lead. She sits on Vallywise Community Advisory Board, LTS Committee Member, and is a TPA Reunion Project Steering Committee Member.

 

Cynthia Washington

Cynthia has been diagnosed with HIV for 20 yrs. She soon began volunteering and working in the field as an Outreach worker, then was hired as a Risk Reduction Specialist conducting HIV testing and implementing programs. That led to training through NAPWA, NMAC, and other leadership programs like BLOC. She has been an avid advocate in her city, combating Stigma among positive persons.

 

David Alexander

David Alexander is currently a Community Advocacy Mobilizer with AID Healthcare Foundation. He has worked in the social worker field for over twenty years to emphasize individuals who have mental illness, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and criminal justice issues. David holds an MSW, and B.A. is in History/Political Science. David has made it his duty to be very hands-on with his involvement by participating and advocating throughout the HIV community in S.C. and the rural areas; such as PALSS (Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services), AHF, SC HIV Planning Committee, SC PAC, Ending the Epidemics SC Streeting Community, the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center, and S.C. Prides. I have worked with the NMAC 50+ Retreat Program here is S.C. David believes in an inherent understanding of people’s needs and how to help them move ahead.

 

Dawn Sherrod

Dawn Sherrod has spent nearly 30 years supporting the mental health and overall wellness of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the St. Louis region. Since 1998, Dawn has led the case management services for adults living with HIV/AIDS and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders at Places for People, the only Certified Community Behavioral Health Organization in St. Louis City or County. Dawn currently serves on the St. Louis’ World AIDS Day Committee and the Missouri HIV Services Planning Council. She previously served on a Special Project of National Significance on HIV/AIDS services. Dawn earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Saint Louis University and held a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

 

Demetra Tennison

Demetra started working at AIDS Service of Austin (ASA) in 2001 under the Women Rising Project (WRP) for women living with HIV/AIDS. She has worked with the project for over 17 years in various support roles and as a CEAR Counselor-working with newly diagnosed or already living with the virus to help navigate the health system. Although she is no longer part of ASA, she now volunteers as a Peer Facilitator for the WRP support group.

 

Denise Drayton

Denise Drayton has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS for over 25 years: first as a peer educator and outreach worker and later as a pre-post test counselor at Cumberland Hospital. Following the Cumberland Hospital, she worked at Exponents Inc., where she has held positions of Coordinator of Outreach, and Assistant Project Director of the PWA Leadership Training Institute, Coordinator of the Educational Services Section, an AIDS Institute Regional Training Center. Ms. Drayton currently works as a Peer Educator/Community Liaison at ACRIA@GMHC, conducting workshops and presentations on Older Adults Sexual Health and HIV Prevention. She is the Servant Leader for Healing Touch HIV/AIDS Ministry at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.

 

Diana Goodie

Diana Goodie is currently a Medical Case Manager/ Ryan White Eligibility Specialist at East Carolina University Adult Specialty Care. Diana is involved in working with PLWH for more than 18 years and has developed a passion for serving the aging population, as evidenced by her advocacy & supportive efforts. She has become a Certified Dementia Practitioner and is currently pursuing certification in Gerontology. Diana works to empower, educate, and reduce barriers that affect PLWH in Eastern North Carolina.

 

Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti

Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti is an asylee from Colombia with a master’s degree in Education in Guidance Counselor. He focuses his work in Public Health as a Certify Community Health Worker, particularly the issues of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care. Aponte was the Chair of Latinx and MSM Advisors Groups of the Broward County HIV Prevention Planning Council until he left the Florida Department of Health in Broward in January of 2019. He is currently the Programs Manager of High Impacto, Inc., where he manages all HIV Prevention programs. Emilio is one of the 51st HIV 50+ Strong & Healthy scholars of NMAC and an artist that uses his art as a tool of community mobilization towards awareness, education, and actions for HIV/AIDS prevention. This art and health activism for more of 13 years is the reason why the Sun-Sentinel in 2017 named him one of the 15 Latinx heroes in South Florida.

 

Eric Martinez

President of Positive Mind & Body Support Group Network, HIV/AIDS Outreach Specialist, Support Group Facilitator, Consumer Advisory Advocate Committee (CAAC), AREA 15 H/ACPN Consortium Chair, and Executive board member, Chair Membership and Public Relations, and other committees within the consortium. FCPN Co-Chair patient care and prevention Representative for area 15 F.L. Bylaws Co-Chair, Member of the ADAP, EOC, Needs Assessments, Medication Committees for the state of Florida. He has worked with PLWHA for 34years. He addresses the client’s needs by reaching out to the community to provide support services. The CAAC and Living longer with HIV/AIDS is an education platform to address the needs of those living with the virus for over 15 years or more.

 

Esther Ross

She is a graduate of the NMAC BLOC and GLOW program and a HIV50+ Strong & Healthy member. She now serves as the Region 10 Ryan White Part B Network Coordinator, leveraging care to the highest quality, preventing and offering housing services in eleven rural counties of Eastern North Carolina. As the Executive Director-Program Coordinator for Circle of Friends Task Force for the past ten years, a peer-led nonprofit organization is initiating the first mentor program for POCLWH 50+. She is confident that advocacy is the pivotal apparatus for ending the HIV epidemic.

 

Janice Shirley

Janice Shirley is a Certified Peer Support Specialist/Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator. I work for the Regional Housing Partnership; we housed the chronically homeless people with HIV/AIDS. As Housing First Peer, she works with the Housing Coordinators to keep them housed, make sure they are taking their medication, keeping all doctor’s appointments, and sharing their lived experiences with them.

 

Jax Kelly

Jax Kelly is president of Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome) Palm Springs (LKAPS.org). LKAPS is an inclusive social, education, and advocacy group. Its members come from different HIV status, race, gender, age, or sexuality. Diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2006, Jax has been an activist, advocate, and organizer since the early 1990s.

 

 

Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor is a long-term survivor who has been living with HIV for 35 years. He has been an active HIV advocate for decades. He is the co-chair of the community advisory board of the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research and the executive director of the HIV+Aging Research Project – Palm Springs. Jeff has served as a community advisor to many research groups, including the UCSD Antiviral Research Center CAB and the Community Scientific Subcommittee of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. He currently supports the NCI’s AIDS Malignancy Consortium as a community representative to their Steering Committee and the HPV Working Group. He is actively involved in several HIV organizations local to Palm Springs as well, where he resides.

 

Jeffery Edwards-Knight

Jeffery Edwards-Knight is the HIV/ STD Community Testing Outreach program at Mecklenburg County Public Health. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Jeffery was selected to attend and graduated from the African American HIV University in Los Angeles, sponsored by the Black AIDS Institute in collaboration with UCLA. Jeffery appears in the POZ 100 Celebration of 100 long-term survivors. He started his work in the HIV/AIDS field with the Metrolina AIDS Project as the MSM Health Educator in 2006. In the past, I served on the boards of the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Community Center, Metrolina AIDS Project, and the North Carolina AIDS Action Network. He has served on the State Community Planning Group with North Carolina Communicable Disease Unit and the Mecklenburg County HIV Council. His current community involvement includes Charlotte BTAN (Black Treatment Advocates Network) chapter. He’s a member of Mecklenburg County Getting to Zero Committee. He enjoys his involvement with Holy Covenant United Church of Christ, where he serves as an elder and spending time with his husband and three dogs.

 

Jeffery Haskins

Jeffrey Haskins has worked in HIV/AIDS Service and Activism for the last 30 years in ACT-UP New York and Philadelphia. Performed at the Minority Task Force on AIDS as Education Director in Harlem. Executive Director of People of Color in Crisis in Brooklyn. Recovery Counselor for Community Mental Health Addiction and Rehabilitation (COMAR) Special HIV/AIDS Unit the Living Room in Philadelphia. Currently, the Deputy Director of Project TEACH (Treatment Activist Combating AIDS) in the Education and Training Department at Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers. Member of Pennsylvania Integrated Prevention and Care Planning Group for three years. Member of Department of Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Spiritual Advisory Board in Philadelphia.

 

John Moses

John Moses is from Lexington, Kentucky. He is the Team Leader of Harm Reduction Services for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. John has over 25 years of experience in public health, HIV prevention, and harm reduction. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for social justice and inclusiveness. He has used his voice to promote awareness about various issues, including the aging LGBTQ population, cultural sensitivity, and harm reduction. John received the 2018 Paul Mason Memorial Award from the Kentucky Department for Public Health to work with underserved communities. John facilitates Harm Reduction Navigator training for the National Harm Reduction Coalition.

 

Josef Pons

Joey Pons is a Project Manager (P.M.P.) in public policy, strategic planning, and community engagement. He currently serves as the Community Liaison for the Puerto Rico Health Department’s Ryan White/ADAP Programs. Joey has a B.A. in Business Administration, and a master’s in political science from universities in New York City and Boston. He is a “Certified Practitioner of Oversight” (C.P.O.), a professional supervisory certification for Law and Order agencies. He began his activism in New York City in 1987 with ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power). He was diagnosed with HIV a year later in 1988. He was a co-founder of the organization Queer Nation, a group that duplicated itself in many cities in the United States to fight for the LGBT community’s rights. As a political strategist, he worked in political campaigns in Massachusetts, Texas, California, Illinois, and New Jersey. Along with his professional commitments, Joey worked with organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, the National Victory Fund, and the National Minority AIDS Council.

 

Judith Shaw

Judith Shaw is a seasoned woman of 64. The mother of one beautiful daughter and a sister to a tribe of many. She is am a woman of great faith and considers herself God’s warrior woman, and a person thriving with HIV for 27 years, she is grateful and grounded. She has made up her mind that she will live to tell of the goodness of The Lord. When uncertainty is all around us during these tumultuous times, she knows it does not take God by surprise. COVID 19 has opened her eyes to the treatment of the deprived in this country. For those who are aging and have aged living with HIV/AIDS, she believes they are responsible for showing the generations that come behind us what it takes and what it looks like to stay in the space of wellness.

 

Kneeshe Parkinson

Kneeshe Parkinson is a motivational speaker, Certified Life Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Activist, and Founder of KneesheSpeaksSTL. She is an active member of the Positive Women’s Network USA-Missouri State Lead. As an active member, Kneeshe participated in HRSA’s “Catalyzing Success: Advancing Innovation, Leverage Data, Ending the HIV Epidemic” for people fighting against the disease of HIV. Also, she attended a luncheon hosted by the Mind, Body, and Spirit with Saint Louis County Health Department for National HIV/AIDS Aging & Awareness Day. Kneeshe was selected to receive the HIV 50 + Scholarship to attend the United States Conference on AIDS 2018 in Orlando, Florida, and the Host Committee’s bet. She graduated with her bachelor’s in liberal studies, emphasizing psychology and gender studies es May 2019. She is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

 

Lilibeth González

Lilibeth González is a 65-year-old Latinx mother raised in the Lower East Side. Lilibeth works at GMHC as a Community Health Educator for the past 14 years. She is the Creator of the Creator “Thriving at 50 and Beyond” for people living with HIV and Aging. She is an affiliate of NMAC, PWN-USA- NYC, U=U, Sister Love Inc. 2020, ACRIA. She received an award from Mayor Bill de Blasio for her work in the Spanish Positive Living Workshop. Lilibeth develops and executes community forums to help inform people living with HIV make wise choices regarding their sexual health, partner discussions/disclosure, HIV/AIDS, HIV and Aging, U=U, PrEP, PEP, STI’s, Domestic Violence. HIV has given her a purpose to LIVE and inspire others to self-care and longevity.

 

Lorenzo Robertson

Lorenzo is a black same gender loving man living with HIV who is an advocate for his peers. He has worked in HIV for about 20 years and continuously battles for proper health care for all people living with HIV/AIDS.

 

Mark S. King

Mark S. King has been writing and speaking up as a person living with HIV since testing positive in 1985. His blog, My Fabulous Disease, won the 2020 GLAAD Award.

 

 

 

Martha Zuniga

Martha Zuniga is Two spirits/Latinx working and advocating for the Latinx LGBTQ community for more than 33 years, working at Entre Hermanos, a nonprofit organization based in Seattle, Washington, focused on prevention care of STI/HIV.

 

 

Michael Smith

Since 1997, Michael has worked on two different programs concurrently: a cutting-edge program assisting People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAs) addressing a variety of work, school, financial topics, and concerns called The Phoenix Rising HIV/AIDS Re-entry Project (www.phoenixrisingreentry.org) and is a consultant at The Santa Fe Community Housing Trust’s HOPWA Homebuyer project, a unique program assisting PLWAs to stabilize their finances and obtain homeownership.

 

Michael Buitron

Michael Buitron has worked in HIV behavioral research; studies of HIV, Aging, and cognitive decline; back-to-work programs for people with HIV on disability; and the past ten years in direct client services. He has had the opportunity to present findings at four International AIDS Conferences and the USCA. At St. Mary Medical Center, he’s worked in benefits, case management under the Minority AIDS Initiative, and started an opt-out HIV testing program in the hospital’s emergency room. Currently, he is the program coordinator of Long Beach, CA, expanding APLA’s HIVE (HIV Elders) program. Outside of work, he is a Community Co-Chair of the Long Beach HIV Planning Group, and for the past nine years, he has co-facilitated a newly diagnosed support group that now continues online.

 

Michelle Jackson Rollins

Michelle Jackson Rollins, MSW, is Founder/CEO of We Think 4 A Change. She completed her Master of Social Work in May of 2016 at Cleveland State University. Jackson Rollins specializes in leading the organization through her keen expertise in community outreach, education facilitation, and increased awareness/reduce the Stigma surrounding HIV. She works tirelessly to develop effective partnerships and strategic alliances with agencies, foundations, corporations, and other service partners, both locally and globally, committed to HIV Awareness. Works to expand access to health services and increase benefits for the population living with HIV. The organizer of Sankofa 2-day HIV+ healing retreat and Sankofa at Rid-all wellness Day Works to expand access to health services and increase benefits for the population living with HIV.

 

Michelle Lopez

Michelle Lopez is the Healthy Aging Specialist at GMHC. Michelle has worked for the last eight years with consumers Aging with HIV, and her present focus for the previous two years is addressing the Mental Health needs and Substance use issues facing the Aging LGBTQ consumers. This initiative allows Michelle to use her CASAC degree to fill in the gaps in Aging LGBTQ identified consumers.

 

Miguel A. Delgado Ramos

Miguel A. Delgado has been living with HIV for 31 years and currently lives in Cidra, a rural town in Puerto Rico. He is the co-chair of Puerto Rico’s HIV Prevention Planning Group and a Board Member of COSSMA, Inc., a Community Health Center that offers healthcare to around 39k patients in the central east area of the Island.

 

 

Nancy Duncan

Nancy Duncan is an advocate from Long Island, New York, living with HIV for 35 years. She began her HIV advocacy journey in 1999 when she got involved with Ryan White’s Care Network and joined the Consumer Involvement Committee. In 2007 Nancy became a member of the Nassau/Suffolk HIV Health Services Planning Council and completed my third term. She was a mentor for people living with HIV through the Leadership Training Institute for eight years. Since 2004 Nancy has worked as an HIV test counselor for Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. She also does peer work at the Center For AIDS Research and Treatment at North Shore University Hospital, where she co-facilitates a treatment adherence group. She was the recipient of the New York State Department of Health Commissioner’s Special Recognition Award in 2016 for her volunteer work in the HIV field.

 

Nancy Shearer

Nancy Shearer is a Filipina woman living with HIV since 1997. She became involved in community work to learn more about HIV and currently works with the Commission on HIV Health Services representing API’s, HIV State Planning Group. She also volunteers and advocates at APAI and has participated in AidsWatch. Nancy has received a mini-grant from NMAC for the past three years, doing a social event for Heterosexual HIV+ men and women.

 

Nicky Calma

Nicky Calma is an immigrant from the Philippines, who decided to move to the U.S. in 1989. She has worked for HIV nonprofit organizations that served A&PI LGBT communities and coordinated, designed, and implemented HIV prevention programs for A&PIs. Nicky was one of the Trans March organizers and active in community organizing and mobilization efforts for the trans community. Lastly, the most recent activity that she worked with was to join two critical entities, Positively Trans, where she serves as a board member, and NMAC’s 50+ Strong & Healthy.

Pat Kelly

Patricia “PAT” Kelly is a native New Yorker who currently resides in Orangeburg, SC. She is aging gracefully and gratefully. She is the mother of three, grandmother of eight, and great grandmother of eight. She was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1985/1998. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. She received a B.A. in English at Claflin University. Pat is the founder of A Family Affair Living Our Best Life in Orangeburg, SC, and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She serves as the Chair of the Women’s Work Group of SC HIV Planning Council, is a founding member of the Positive Women’s Network -USA, and serves on the U.S’ steering committee. People Living with HIV Caucus. In September 2014, Pat received honors from Positive Living Conference as the first black woman to accept the Martin Delaney Power of One HIV/AIDS Advocacy Award. She is currently HIV 50+ National Advocates Network of NMAC and works with Aging Positively of APNH. Her passion and dedication to women living with HIV drive her community involvement, working tirelessly. She has many affiliations local, regional, national, and international to keep her engaged with HIV advocacy, education, research, and awareness.

 

Prof Harold Brown

Professor Harold Brown has raised funds to pay registration fees for 21 first time Hoosiers to attend The International Conference on AIDS 2020 VIRTUAL conference. Professor Howard has an M.A. from New York University and participated at the 2018 International Aids Conference AMSTERDAM. Lastly, he was a participant of NMAC’s BLOC.

 

Raul Robles

Raul Robles is a long-term survivor, diagnosed HIV + in 1985. He is a member of the San Diego HIV Planning Group and the chairman of the consumer’s committee at the San Diego HIV Planning Group. Raul proudly is the founder and facilitator of the only long-term survivors’ group in Spanish for Latino services at the LGBT community center called THE CENTER. Lastly, Raul is the Steering committee Founder member of the campaign Undetectable equals Untransmittable from the prevention access campaign.

 

Rick Guasco

Rick Guasco, 56, is the creative director of Positively Aware, the leading HIV/AIDS treatment magazine published by a nonprofit AIDS service organization, TPAN, in Chicago. A native Chicagoan, he studied Journalism at Columbia College, graduating in 1985. After developing Kaposi sarcoma (classified an “end-stage AIDS-defining illness” by the CDC), he learned in 1992 that he was living with HIV. He served as art director of Positively Aware in the mid-1990s, and then returned to the magazine in 2010. He is also the Creator of Creator HIV, the magazine’s anti-stigma campaign. Rick is also a recent survivor of anal cancer. His primary interests are co-existing conditions for people aging with HIV, developing intergenerational opportunities for older and younger people living with HIV, and addressing the digital divide. The COVID-19 pandemic has made broadband internet access a basic human need to receive such services as telehealth.

 

Robert Riester

Robert Riester is a 59-year-old long-term survivor, officially since 1987, unofficially since 1981. Reister has been active with his local Part A Planning Council and an HIV Advocate/Activist since 1994. Riester is Involved with the 50+ Strong & Healthy Program since its beginning. In doing so, he had the opportunity to present at the USCA 2019 Conference plenary with HRSA. On top of this, Robert participated in the Facebook Live at the Ryan White Conference and HRSA’s first HIV & Aging Webinar. Through these experiences, Robert has been instrumental in establishing a good working relationship with HRSA and HAB. Lastly, Robert is a nominee to the CDC/HIV Advisor Committee by Antigone Dempsey – HRSA HAB Dir. of Policy and Data.

 

Robert Cornelius

Robert Cornelius is the Financial Coordinator with Cempa Community Care, an AIDS Service Organization located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was born. He graduated from Meigs County High School and began his professional career. An HIV survivor for over 26 years, Robert has been advocating for 20 years for those affected by HIV. As with many long-term survivors, he spent the first six years of his diagnosis planning for the end of his life. Robert sees his calling as helping others in the Long-Term Survivors community combat Survivor’s Guilt, PTSD, and social isolation. Additionally, he assists the LTS community in planning for retirement—a milestone, many in this community, though they might never reach. As well as being an advocate for long-term survivors, Robert also mentors newly diagnosed HIV-positive clients, addressing concerns and fears in a way that only one who shares the diagnosis can.

 

Robert Cooke

Rob Cooke is a resident of Northeast Washington, D.C.  He is a single gay male living with HIV since 1997 and is undetectable. He has been actively involved with NMAC for five years and spent his time serving on the CAB for Unity Health Clinic, promoting HIV 50+ essentials. Since his diagnosis, he has served on the Community Engagement and Education Committee with Washington DC’s Regional Planning Commission on Health & HIV, formerly known as the Ryan White Planning Council, a part of HAHSTA.  Rob is actively involved with Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Develop advocacy and planning for our “housing for all” campaign for ALL communities, stressing to stay healthy.

 

Robin Webb

Robin’s HIV and AIDS diagnoses came simultaneously, 35+ years ago, in Harlem. He has traveled to 133 countries even, seven continents, performing music, extreme sports, ting, and exploring all corners of the globe. Robin is a career New Yorker and native of the Mississippi Delta, where he is now living. A child of the turbulent 60s, Robin’s passion is human rights activism and antiracism, especially as it applies to survive in the Deep South.

 

Rodney McCoy Jr

Rodney “Rod” McCoy, Jr. has been in the HIV Prevention Field for over 30 years. Rod brings his expertise in HIV prevention and education and his real-life experience as an African American gay man living with HIV. An Oberlin College graduate with his Bachelors in Sociology and Black Studies, Rod has worked in a variety of capacities in the field of HIV Prevention, from Health Educator and HIV Counselor to Program Director for several organizations including the Minority Task Force on AIDS; New York City Department of Health; Whitman Walker Health; National Association of People with AIDS, NovaSalud, Inc., and HealthHIV. In his time as Adjunct Professor at George Mason University, Rod established the “HIV, Culture and Sexuality” course for the school’s Global and Community Health Department (where he still presents as a guest lecturer). Rod is currently a Health Impact Specialist with the D.C. Department of Health, where he has worked with the D.C. Office of Health Equity and Voices for a Second Chance. Rod is also currently pursuing his master’s degree in education (with a concentration in Human Sexuality) at Widener University.

 

Teresa Sullivan

Teresa Sullivan’s area of expertise is the intersection of HIV and incarceration; Mrs. Sullivan is the Deputy Director of Ancillary TEACH Programs. Teresa has worked for Philadelphia FIGHT since 2009. Teresa has 15 years of experience in Health education. Teresa received the highest prestigious Red Ribbon award in 2018 for her work in community activism. As a community organizer for the Support Center, Prison Advocacy, Teresa spearheads outreach into communities most impacted by the crisis of mass imprisonment. She helps organize neighborhood-level steering committees to address their area-specific reentry needs. Despite her busy life and being a Great Grandmother of two, Teresa works on her self-care. “I believe in holistic wellness, mind, body, and spirit. When it comes to my self-care, I practice mediation and have a healing temple to help with my healing process in life.”

 

Thomas Villa

Thomas J. Villa is a longtime advocate for the LGBT community, an accomplished leader, and a successful business executive. He has thirty years of success building and leading new teams and new businesses, primarily in healthcare and community engagement, most recently as co-founder of Impacto LGBT to serve the LGBT Latinx community of Northern Virginia. Tom holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, is currently working towards a master’s degree, and is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army. As a longtime survivor of HIV, Tom serves on HIV Prevention Trials Network community advisory boards for both George Washington University/Milken School of Public Health and Whitman-Walker Health in the District of Columbia; serves as a Community Engagement Ambassador for the BELIEVE Martin Delaney Collaboratory for HIV Cure Research; was a member of the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative pilot group, and participates in various clinical trials focused on ending the HIV epidemic. Tom engages in NMAC’s HIV 50+ Scholars group and is a founding member of the HIV 50+ National Advocacy Network Steering Committee. He continues his lifelong participation in community service, focusing on promoting health equity and civil rights. Tom believes in the healing power of the arts, especially that of storytelling. He is a practicing writer and member of The Writer’s Center of Bethesda, MD. Tom is a longtime resident of the Washington metropolitan area, where he enjoys spending time with friends and family, including his four grown children.

 

Timothy Lunceford-Stevens

Timothy came to NYC, 1981, right as the HIV epidemic hit. Timothy was very close to GMHC founder, Paul Popham. Paul was one of the drivers of and founders of AIDS Action Council and helped write the 1983’s Denver Principles that changed the phrase of AIDS victims to People with AIDS. Paul died in May 1987. He mourned Paul’s death in a candlelight vigil on June 22, 1987, and et a man named David and joined Act-up NY the next Monday, where he was able to channel his anger. He now spends his life advocating for Long Term Survivors!

 

Wanda Brendle-Moss

Wanda is a 66-year-old retired R.N. (20yrs service) and was diagnosed with HIV+ in July 2002 and AIDS May in May 2008. Following this, she went into a deep depression and did not start becoming outspoken and advocate in her area until 2010. Wanda sought every opportunity to attend national conferences (if awarded scholarships) to share the knowledge she received with others back home. Wanda serves on Executive Committee at ADAP Advocacy Association. She has been a part of HIV is Not a Crime since the beginning. William serves on the “task force” in N.C. that successfully got our State Health Department to modernize our HIV disclosure, etc. regulations. Wanda is also part of POZ magazine POZ 100 in 2018, the same year she became part of NMAC’s HIV 50+ Strong and Health.

 

William Hall

William started this journey by being accepted to the NMAC BLOC Training Program; since then, he has done several talks on HIV/AIDS, Equity in Research, Aging, and a video on Stigma within the Native American Community on HIV/AIDS. William served several years on the Seattle Planning Council and became the Community Co-chair during her last term. William planned and implemented four community events at the Seattle Indian Health Board for the March 20 National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year, Williams’s video was part of the International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV/AIDS. He also spoke before its showing. He was a speaker at the National Ryan White Conference on HIV/AIDS Aging. He believes that the Native American Communities are the most underserved community because no one was speaking up. It is his goal to change that and be the voice of his community. Every endeavor that William commits to gives him a stronger voice.

 

Zeke García

Zeke’s perspective of purpose is to end the HIV epidemic and he has earned his place at the table. He is 25 years HIV+ and grateful to this day. As a Health Educator Risk Reduction Specialist, Patient Navigator, and Certified Community Health Worker with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Zeke provides HIV Expertise. Zeke works with at Risk Youth and collaborates with SAPD Law Enforcement and a local nonprofit by facilitating Explicit Versions of Health Education sessions for “alleged” sex offenders, transactional steelworkers, and victims of sex- crimes, utilizing his skills regarding HIV Criminalization laws. Zeke spearheaded the San Antonio Peer Mentor Group Collaborative for HIV+ Peer Health Educators in 2014 with the sponsorship of Gilead Sciences as a Certified HIV/AIDS Care Coach, which continues to reach PLWH in our community.

USCHA- The Home Stretch

Seven thousand people have registered to attend this year’s United States Conference on HIV/AIDS. Obviously, making the meeting free was a big contributor to this year’s attendance. These are tough times and everyone is hurting, so NMAC didn’t have another option. Thank you to our 2020 USCHA sponsors for standing with us and community.

This year’s virtual conference will be unlike any USCHA. While it will never replace in-person meetings, we hope it will remind everyone that they are part of the HIV family. The Opening Plenary sets the tone for the meeting by examining how racism stops our work from being successful and blocks our efforts to end HIV. It is a tough plenary, particularly for White people with privilege. It’s not enough to say you stand with Black lives; you also have to do the work. You have to hear and understand the stories of Black and Brown people and how racism impacts our daily existence. Part of the plenary will be in Spanish (with English translation) because NMAC wants attendees to understand the challenges facing non-English speaking or English as a second language clients and staff.

The meeting starts on Monday, October 19th at Noon (Eastern) or 9 AM (Pacific). An e-newsletter will go out that day at 10 AM (eastern)/7 AM (Pacific) with the conference URL and how to log onto the conference platform. You only need the email address that you used at registration. The conference platform will open at 11 AM (Eastern) with the Opening Plenary at Noon (Eastern)/9 AM (Pacific). The time zones can get a little tricky; however, sessions will be online for the next 12 months. NMAC will also host a webinar on Thursday, October 15th at 1 PM (Eastern) to familiarize attendees on the conference platform. Register here.

Get there early on Monday to explore the conference platform and to get a good seat at the Opening. The conference lobby sits at the intersection of Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC and the John Lewis mural in Atlanta. The exhibit hall is in front of the fence at Lafayette Square where protesters have sent messages to the White House. The information desk is in front of the Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin murals. NMAC’s goal is to show the HIV movement that we are part of the greater struggle for racial justice and health equity. Our work to end the epidemic must stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

While this all sounds amazing, my real concern is “will the platform crash with close to 7,000 people online.” In other words, we also need your patience and understanding. Staff is working hard, but it will be a photo finish. Like everyone, we’ve had to pivot into the unknown. We don’t know what we don’t know so we may be asking the wrong questions. Taking risks is the fuel that runs our movement. When HIV was discovered, we had no idea what to do. We only had each other and the hope that our friends would not die alone.

The 2020 Conference Program Book will go online this week. Please download it in advance of the meeting to figure out which sessions you want to attend live. If you miss a session, it will be online for the next 12 months. This year there are four plenaries. NMAC is hosting the Opening and Closing Plenaries. Gilead will put on a second plenary on Monday,  October 19th. ViiV put together the Tuesday, October 20th plenary. NMAC thanks our sponsors for their support. It allows us to make the meeting free. It is important to understand that sponsors had no input into NMAC’s sessions and we had no input into theirs. It is a difficult tightrope to walk between the need for resources to put on the meeting and keeping our voices independent of outside influence. It is particularly challenging for people of color who do not have the same access to money as our white counterparts.

Workshops will be prerecorded and live. The challenge will be the “live” question and answer portion with the workshop presenters. During this section, participants will hopefully be able to ask questions via the “chat” box. While most of us have been on zoom calls with 30 or 40 people, what happens when you have hundreds of attendees? There are 94 workshops and institutes. This photo was taken from the PACHA (President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS) workshop. NMAC wants to thank all of the presenters who donated their time.

Millions of people are losing their jobs because of COVID-19. At the same time, the HIV movement is getting its first influx of new money to end the HIV epidemic. With all this need, it was easy to envision a Jobs Fair, but much more difficult to make an integral part of this virtual meeting. Thankfully, we received announcements from more than 30 organizations to post during the conference. If you are looking for employment, please bring your resume and schedule information interviews with organizations who are hiring. NMAC’s goal is for our movement to hire people from the communities hardest hit by HIV.

Lounges are NMAC’s version of online affinity sessions. This year we invited community to put together lounges for likeminded groups to support people in the field and check-in with each other. COVID-19 has isolated too many people. As we know, this isolation can lead to depression. Look for lounges for People Over 50 Living with HIV, Transgender Lounge, PWH Lounge, Youth Lounge, and others. Lounges will be huge zoom check-in calls to see the faces and hear the voices of your colleagues. They might be a little messy, but that’s what makes them community.

The Closing Plenary on Wednesday, October 21st is our Federal Plenary. Rather than having the same old talking heads with their PowerPoints, this year’s plenary has NMAC staff asking questions to our federal leaders. We are very thankful that our old friend Dr. Anthony Fauci has recorded a special plenary talk. With all his work on COVID-19, we were honored that he found time to address USCHA.

It’s going to be a very different United States Conference on HIV/AIDS. We are thankful that so many of you will be joining us from your computer screens around the country. I miss everyone, we will be together again…

Yours in the struggle,

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020 USCHA Sits at the Intersection Between HIV, COVID-19, and Black Lives Matter

Please watch this clip created for the opening of the 2020 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS. NMAC believes that racism is a public health challenge and we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter to end the HIV epidemic in America. This year’s meeting looks at the intersection between HIV, COVID-19, and Black Lives Matter. The Opening Plenary is at Noon (eastern) on Monday, October 19th. You will need to register in advance. Registration closes Friday, Oct. 9. Access codes will be emailed just prior to the start of the meeting. The conference runs from October 19-21. If you are unable to participate during those times, the sessions will be online for the next 12 months.

Over 5,400 people have registered. To train attendees on the conference platform, NMAC will host a webinar on Thursday, 15th at 1 PM (eastern). Register here to attend. Most of the 2020 meeting will be recorded in advance because “going completely live” was beyond our current capacity. Workshops and institutes will have a “live” Q&A after the recorded presentations. We will also have networking opportunities with other participants via the exhibit hall, jobs fair, and lounges for many target communities.

The 2020 USCHA will include a Virtual Jobs Fair on Tuesday, October 20 at 2:00-3:00pm Eastern in the conference platform. Over 40 million people are unemployed. USCHA hopes to bring people needing jobs together with the HIV organizations who are hiring.

We encourage all organizations with open positions to participate in the event. It’s especially important to have the representation of the 57 jurisdictions targeted to receive this money so that they can share openings and take advantage of USCHA’s talent pool. This is the perfect opportunity to hire people from the communities your efforts hope to reach, particularly people in senior leadership positions.

Organizations will have a mini booth that will allow them to list job announcements and directly engage and chat with potential applicants. If you have open positions, please register here. This is a free opportunity.

Thanks to Gilead, NMAC was able to give away 120 iPads and access to the internet to help select constituents attend the 2020 meeting. As always, we had many more requests than we could fund. In advance of the letters going out, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the demographics of who received these awards.

Geographic Distribution of Recipients
Of those who were awarded iPads, 55% made less than $15,000 per year, and 36% made between $15,000 to $29,999. Seventy-three percent (73%) of the recipients also identified being unemployed.
Almost three-quarters (74%) of the recipients are people living with HIV while 20% were HIV negative and 6% were on PrEP. In terms of age, 40% were over the age of 50, 28% between 31-40 years old, and 19% were 30 or under.
Regarding gender identity, 43% were cisgender male, 33% were cisgender female, 8% were MTF/transgender women, 4% were two-spirit, 4% were genderqueer, 3% were non-binary and 2% were FTM/transgender men. Most of the recipients identify as heterosexual (36%) while  31% identify as gay. Also, 8% identified as bisexual, 7% as queer, 6% as pansexual, 4% as same-gender loving, 2% as lesbian and 1% as asexual.

A plurality of the recipients (49%) were African American while 23% were Latinx, 13% were White, 3% were American Indian/Alaska Native, 2% were Asian, 1% were Afro-Caribbean and 6% identified their race/ethnicity as “other.”

NMAC’s level of transparency is a mandate from community. It is also an example for health departments and federal agencies to follow when building plans to end the HIV epidemic. Community and transparency are core to successful plans. Letters of acceptance or rejection should be received by Monday, October 12th. Please do not contact the office about your request until after USCHA. Staff is crazy busy putting together the meeting.

USCHA is in less than two weeks. Honestly, we are running a little crazy. Since this is our first virtual meeting and there are over 5,400 registrations, I need your patience and understanding. Staff is doing an amazing job, but we don’t know what we don’t know. Like too many in our movement, we’ve had to pivot to new approaches without fully understanding all of the consequences. I’m not trying to make excuses for NMAC, I am trying to build understanding and compassion for all of us. It is not just NMAC who has to pivot, the world is pivoting and we’re all going a little crazy. Just saying…

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata 
NMAC

Fighting For Our Lives

Over 5,000 people have registered for this year’s United States Conference on HIV/AIDS that will be virtual on October 19-21. Over the next three weeks, staff are busy working with volunteer presenters to record 85 workshops and institutes on Zoom. The exhibit hall is sold out. Yet it all feels a little unreal. While this is our 23rd year hosting the meeting, it is our first virtual conference. It is important for us to say that we don’t have any experience putting on virtual meetings. Like so many nonprofits, we’ve had to pivot into uncharted territory. Thank you for going on this journey with us. We appreciate your understanding and patience.

Like too many of you, we are doing our best to figure out new ways to educate and inspire during COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, economic downturn, massive unemployment, wild fires, hurricanes, Supreme Court, taxes, and a Presidential election. There are so many things that are outside of our control. It is easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed. That’s why this year’s meeting is so important. It is an opportunity to check-in with our HIV family virtually. While it won’t be the same as an in-person meeting, it is the best we can offer while keeping everyone safe.

This year’s meeting will focus on the intersection of HIV, Black Lives Matter, massive unemployment, COVID, and how HIV nonprofits can survive in a world that is out of control. I will never fully understand what it means to be Black in America. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t stand in support of Black Lives Matter and commit my life to fighting for racial justice and health equity. NMAC believes these fights are the pathways to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States.

CDC Funding
Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTo help HIV nonprofits work to end the epidemic and survive these difficult times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released the new RFA (PS21-2102) for directly funded CBOs. CDC will award $210 million to support 90 awards. Applications are due Nov 20th, 2020. NMAC is very excited and committed to this initiative’s success. We are hopeful that CDC will fund organizations from and for the communities hardest hit by HIV. Sixty (60) CDC staff have registered to attend this year’s USCHA, so hopefully this will be a good opportunity to network with your CDC colleagues.

HRSA Training

Thursday, October 1, at 1:00 PM is NMAC’s webinar on how to get a federal job. This webinar will be led by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Register here. NMAC is pushing jobs because so many people are hurting right now. Not only do we want to get people from the communities hardest hit by HIV hired at health departments and CBOs, we also want to have them to get jobs at federal agencies working to end the HIV epidemic.NMAC believes that hiring community is the best way to reach community. Previous efforts have missed too many people in need. We are very thankful to Dr. Laura Cheever and her staff for putting together this important webinar. We encourage everyone looking for a job to attend this webinar.

 

iPads
We received over 250 applications for our iPad program to help address the digital divide. Our goal is to have the iPads in the mail by Oct 9th. NMAC will go public with the decisions on October 13th. So many of the applicants talked about how they were unemployed as a result of COVID-19. Unfortunately, there is much more need than money. In full transparency, NMAC will share the demographics of who got selected and tell the stories of some of the recipients in my October 13th e-newsletter.

The Denver Principles were all about the empowerment of People Living with AIDS. Thirty-seven years later these principles still ring true, only now we have COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, climate change, ICE, massive unemployment, and economic devastation. Now more than ever, we are fighting for our lives and the lives of the people we love. We will see you online.

Yours in the struggle,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Are You Doing?

Last Friday was tough, another in a long list of difficult days in 2020. How are you doing? There are times when all of it feels overwhelming and I worry about our future. I never met Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but I know my life is better because she was here. She fought for everyone to be full and equal citizens, regardless of our gender, gender identity, race, HIV status, or who we loved. Remember her legacy and continue the fight for equality.

Over 5,000 people have registered for the 2020 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS. This year’s meeting will have four plenaries, 85 workshops & institutes, an exhibit hall, and a jobs fair. NMAC made it free because we understand that too many are hurting right now. Here are some upcoming deadlines:

Webinar with Congresswomen Barbara Lee
Thursday, September 24th at 1:00 PM (Eastern)
Register Here
NMAC is pleased to have Congresswomen Barbara Lee as our webinar guest on Sep 24th. She will be interviewed by Joe Huang-Racalto, NMAC’s Director of Government Relations. Join us and ask a question.

 

Bridging the Digital Divide
Deadline this Friday, September 25th
Submit Here
Thanks to our sponsors at Gilead, NMAC will give iPads and internet access to 100 constituents. We need your help to identify people living with HIV, staff working on the front lines, and people on PrEP who could most benefit from this equipment. People awarded iPads are expected to participate in all three days of USCHA. One hundred percent of the funding from Gilead will be used on purchasing and shipping equipment.

Photo or Video for USCHA
Deadline Friday, September 25th
Upload Photo Here
Upload Video Here
Be a part of our USCHA Family Reunion 2 by submitting photos and/or videos that will be featured in our “Unity Quilt.” This tapestry will feature the faces of our family across the country. As NMAC leads with race, we are asking that you to hold high one fist in the air in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. You can find the specs for photos and video on our blog.

How to Get A Federal Job
Thursday, October 1st at 1:00 PM (Eastern)
Register Here
Dr. Laura Cheever and staff from HRSA/HAB will discuss the process to get a federal job. NMAC is working to educate the communities hardest hit by HIV on how to apply for HIV positions at various federal agencies. The federal HIV workforce should reflect the communities that the Ending the HIV Epidemic efforts hope to reach.

Introduction to the USCHA Conference Platform
Thursday, Oct 15th at 1:00 PM (Eastern)
Register Here
NMAC staff will demonstrate the conference platform in advance of the 2020 meeting. To help attendees get the most out of this year’s meeting, we wanted to train about the technology in advance of the meeting.

2020 Virtual USCHA
Oct 19-21
Register Here
While USCHA is free, you must register in advance. Please be sure to attend the webinar on the conference platform. Virtual meetings are new for most of us and it helps to be trained on the technology prior to using it.

Everything can feel overwhelming and confusing. It’s hard to know what matters. During these difficult times, remember your HIV family is here to support and help. There is no shame is asking for help.

 

Yours in the struggle,


Paul Kawata  with Salt ‘N Pepa circa 1994

NMAC Statement on the Passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Sept. 18, 2020 – NMAC has released the following statement on the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“NMAC mourns the loss of a champion for minority health equality, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata. “Justice Ginsburg was a consistent voice for fairness, for women, for LGBTQ Americans, for people living with HIV, and for correcting racial injustices. While we deeply mourn her passing, we must remain vigilant and determined to ensure her legacy of profound fairness and equality is memorialized through our actions, laws, and policies.”

NMAC leads with race to urgently fight for health equity and racial justice to end the HIV epidemic in America. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced our mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous electronic and print materials, and a website: www.nmac.org. NMAC also serves as an association of AIDS service organizations, providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics, and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the HIV epidemic.

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