USCA is Next Week!

It’s next week!!! Part of me is excited to see everyone and part of me is worried because it will be the largest United States Conference on AIDS. Interest in the Federal Plan to End the Epidemic has super-sized attendance. This year there are 160 workshops, four plenaries, program book (110 pages long), and lots of information. The best way to stay informed is to download the conference app. Go to Google Play or Apple app stores and search for “2019 USCA .” Thank you for joining us.

2019 USCA Program Book
This year’s USCA program book is 110 pages and will not be printed. You can download it to your computer or smartphone here. The 2019 meeting will focus on the federal plan to end the domestic HIV epidemic. As we work to end the HIV epidemic, NMAC does it in memory of the family,  friends, and lovers we lost. Too many were taken too soon.

USCA Registration Bar Codes E-Mailed on August 30th and September 3rd
Emails go out August 30th and September 3rd with USCA registration bar codes.  Please bring the bar code with your ID to register. Registration will open on Wednesday, September 4th at 4 PM to 7 PM on Meeting Level Four of the Marriott Marquis.Since the meeting is sold out, there will be lines. We ask for your patience and understanding. The USCA Conference Office is located in Marquis Salon 15 on Meeting Level Two.I want to apologize in advance. With this many people, NMAC is bound to make mistakes. Given the diversity of our movement, making one constituency happy sometimes makes another group mad. In this no-win situation, someone will get upset. If there is a problem, please speak to me at Ultimately, I am responsible. Since this is my 30th year at NMAC, I’ve come to understand the importance of listening to constituents. If any group wants to meet, I will make time on my schedule.

From the beginning, NMAC has said that ending the epidemic will be one of the biggest tests of our leadership. Can we see beyond the difficult politics to find common ground? We are trying to accomplish something that has never been done, to end an epidemic without a cure or vaccine. If that wasn’t difficult enough, we are doing it at a time when the country is deeply divided.

Make no mistake about it, the HIV community is angry. Daily, people living with HIV face stigma, discrimination, and even violence. Two hundred and fifty thousand PLWH have fallen out of care. One hundred and fifty thousand are unaware of their HIV status. Most are people of color who live in a world that minimizes their value because of the color of their skin. These disparities must be addressed if we are to reach the communities that have fallen out of care or who could benefit from PrEP.

Over 70% of the jurisdictions do not expect to have their plans done by December 2019.
NMAC is very concerned that some 57 targeted jurisdictions are not ready for the task in front of them. NMAC’s recent needs assessment confirmed our fears.






Gathering of the 57 Jurisdictions
The federal government has targeted 57 jurisdictions to build plans and implement programs to end the domestic epidemic. NMAC invited administrators from these regions to attend USCA and 43 will be joining us. Our goal is to give them an experience of USCA and the communities that are hardest hit by HIV. While many have previously attend USCA, this year is different because the federal government has set a date to end the epidemic and we hope they will come with answers to the many questions about the process.

2019 USCA Exhibit Hall
Below is a map for half of the exhibit hall. Located next to registration, the exhibit hall takes up both the Liberty and Independence Ballrooms. Dessert will be served in the exhibit hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after the plenary sessions.

Flu Shots
Walgreens will give out free flu shots at USCA during exhibit hours. You can find them in the exhibit hall in booths 615 & 616.2019 USCA T-Shirts
NMAC will give away t-shirts again this year. Since everyone does not want or need a t-shirt, we only printed 1,000. T-shirts will be available at the NMAC exhibit booth. Please wear the T-shirt to the Saturday plenary where the conference will celebrate People Living with HIV and U=U.Sessions with Spanish Translation
USCA offers a full track of workshops with Spanish translation. Pages 104-107 of the program book have more information.
Noah’s Arc
You may have heard the rumors about a potential reboot of “Noah’s Arc.”  While we don’t have any inside information, USCA invited Rodney Chester, who played Alex Kirby, to the meeting.Rodney will show the Noah’s Arc movie, “Jump the Broom.”  He will also host a Q&A with audience members. Join him on Saturday in Georgetown room, Meeting Level 1. USCA uses culture to educate our movement about the communities that are hardest hit by HIV. 

Grief Counselors
We are a movement that suffers from discrimination, prejudice, and violence. Many of us are isolated and depressed. Unfortunately, there are things that happen at USCA that can trigger those issues. Listening to plenary talks, watching the documentary 5B, learning of colleagues who passed. The meeting has many potential triggers and we want to help. USCA is working with the local host committee to have counselors on site. We all need help sometimes and there is nothing wrong with asking for support. If you think this might be helpful, please ask conference staff to make the connection. Counselors will be on site and available to talk.

Thank you for joining us for this historic meeting. Hopefully, USCA builds real pathways for collaboration and cooperation. NMAC is ready to work. We know it will only happen when we work together.

Yours in the struggle,
Paul Kawata
30 Years of Service