As President Obama reminded the nation in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, an AIDS-free generation is indeed within reach. A major milestone in realizing that vision will come this fall, when open enrollment begins for insurance plans under the state-based and federally facilitated exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. Hundreds of thousands of individuals including people living with HIV or AIDS will be enrolling in new insurance plans, either through their employers or personally through exchanges. For those who are HIV-negative, these new plans are also required to cover many HIV prevention services at no cost, including HIV screening.
This is an incredibly important time, both for our health care system as a whole, and for organizations, health care and service providers working with and caring for people living with and vulnerable to HIV. As such this year’s United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) is more important than ever.
Submit an abstract or register to attend online today! www.2013usca.org
Set for Sept. 8 – 11, USCA 2013 is the only comprehensive national HIV/AIDS conference that will occur this year and is a critical opportunity for case managers, clinicians, public health workers, advocates and people living with HIV or AIDS to get the information they need to manage the transitions that will accompany ACA implementation.
Given the magnitude of these changes and their importance in our efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, NMAC and its USCA program partners have adapted the conference program to ensure that it is responsive the community’s needs during this time of transition. The most important of these changes are adjustments we’ve made to our tracks reflecting the need to improve engagement along all stages of the treatment/Gardner cascade, as well as respond to issues like High Impact Prevention and treatment as prevention. The new tracks are:
- High Impact Prevention
- Organizations and Change Management
- Linkage to HIV Care and Viral Suppression
- Retention in Care and Primary Care and Viral Suppression
- Domestic (U.S.)/International Issues Intersection
- Treatment and Research
We are also extremely excited to be returning to New Orleans this year, a city and community with which NMAC has extremely strong ties, forged in part during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The target population for this year’s conference is the Deep South. According to CDC surveillance data, seven of the ten states with the highest rate of AIDS diagnosis, eight of the ten with the highest rates of HIV infection, and six of the ten with the highest rates of individuals living with HIV are in America’s southern region. Overall, the region accounted for 46 percent of all new HIV infections in 2010. Given the profile of the epidemic in the South, and the social determinants of health that result in poor health outcomes, it is especially critical that we highlight the unique challenges facing those working to combat HIV/AIDS in the region.
NMAC will also host its second Summit to End HIV/AIDS in America this year. Last year, NMAC launched the Summit with the signing of theDeclaration to End HIV/AIDS In America. The meeting, which will be held in conjunction with USCA through 2015 aims to respond to the changes in our movement that have made it possible to realistically envision an AIDS-free generation. This year, the Summit will focus on bringing a broad coalition of private, public and non-governmental stakeholders together to further a national plan that builds upon the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and furthers our goal of ending the epidemic.
This is a pivotal year for our movement. As we work to advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, implement the ACA and maximize the benefits of treatment as prevention, it is critical that all those working to further our efforts to end this epidemic have the training and education they need to effectively navigate our movement’s transformation. We cannot back down. NMAC is committed to providing those resources and ensuring our constituents and our movement are successful. We have a lot of work a head of us this year, and no one organization, state government, federal agency, or private company/industry can do it alone.
Now is our time. All of our hard work over the last several years has brought us to this moment. I urge you to join us at this year’s United States Conference on AIDS, and continue our work to realize and AIDS-free generation.
Yours in the struggle,
National Minority AIDS Council