The following is a statement from National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Executive Director Paul Kawata:
Washington, DC – “Twenty five years ago, NMAC first opened its doors. Our mission was to develop leadership in communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS. We came from especially humble roots, having emerged out of a meeting that took place in a trailer park behind the Circus Circus hotel in Las Vegas, NV. That year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) held its first ever plenary on AIDS at its annual meeting. Unfortunately, there were no people of color included on its panel. In response, leaders from communities of color across the U.S. came together to highlight the unique challenges the epidemic posed for minority communities. Out of this gathering, NMAC was born. Today, we are the only national organization focused on building leadership in communities of color to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“From the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, minority communities have borne the brunt of this disease. Unfortunately, efforts to combat its spread have often failed to adequately address the issues driving the epidemic within these communities. What’s more, representatives from these communities are regularly left out of high-level discussions around the development of effective interventions. For the last twenty five years, NMAC has worked to address this deficiency by empowering minority leaders to develop community based responses and giving them a voice in the halls of government.
“As we mark twenty five years in the struggle against this disease, policy and science have aligned like never before to provide a clear path forward to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Biomedical interventions like treatment as prevention, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and microbicides have expanded the tools at our disposal to reduce new HIV infections. The Affordable Care Act — in particular its Medicaid expansion — will go far in expanding access to health care for those living with HIV. Federal initiatives like the National HIV/AIDS Strategy have outlined clear benchmarks and approaches for reducing new infections and mitigating health disparities. Meanwhile, exciting new developments in vaccine and cure research continue to provide hope that AIDS will soon be nothing more than a memory.
“As our struggle enters a new era, NMAC once again stands ready to lead. We are committed to working with our local, regional and national partners to develop a concrete strategy to end the domestic epidemic and developing a new generation of leaders to forge that path. We will also reach out to partners that have not previously been engaged in a meaningful way, whether they are health care providers, government agencies, or elected officials. For the past twenty five years, NMAC has been at the forefront of the battle against HIV/AIDS in minority communities. As we move forward, we remain committed to the struggle and will not rest until we have put an end to this epidemic once and for all.”
NMAC has released a short video commemorating its 25 years of service.
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333