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Still Riding the Waves of USCA!
 BY: MATTHEW ROSE · NMAC · OCTOBER 11, 2016
 

NMAC’s Treatment Division was fully present and engaged in this year’s USCA. On top of hosting 4 breakout sessions, assisting with the social media scholars, and supporting the Youth Initiative, the division helped to coordinate and execute 3 of the 4 plenary sessions. The plenaries centered around timely topics that both stretched our understanding and highlighted the interconnectivity of the field and our communities. Thursday, Treatment Director Moises Agosto gave a touching reminder of the very personal nature of our work. For most of us, HIV is not just a virus; it has been a life-changing path by which loved ones, friends, unforgettable moments, and careers have entered and exited our lives. His memorial was followed by a very spirited discussion by his fellow directors discussing the importance of leading with race in their work. This conversation framed the dialogue around the importance of showing up in November at the polls. Because race matters and if we are going to change the trajectory of poor health outcomes in this country, we need to make sure that we are present, as a community, everywhere that it matters.

We were also honored to organize a discussion on the economic crisis in Puerto Rico and its impacts on HIV, with leaders from the Island. The panelists laid out the current crisis and how it can continue to spiral if swift intervention does not happen. It’s rare that we have the opportunity to showcase in large forums how the HIV epidemic parallels of U.S. citizens outside of the continental U.S. In many ways, some of the challenges in Puerto Rico are not unique;  looking through a lens of social determinants of health one can isolate factors that universally make individuals vulnerable to HIV. However, Puerto Rico faces the unique challenges inherent in the duality of a territory that’s neither sovereign nor servant. Puerto Ricans have U.S. citizenship and vote for a Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, with voice but without a vote, in the United States House of Representatives. Residents of Puerto Rico do not have voting representation in the United States Congress and are not entitled to electoral votes for President. This dovetails, the statement above, it’s nearly impossible to change the systems to better protect individuals when your vote is silenced or unheard. We must fight to find or create the political will to ensure health and prosperity for our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters!

The closing plenary of USCA was about ARV-based prevention. Here speakers laid out the case for how antiretroviral (anti-HIV medications) are being used to prevent HIV infection in the United States. But more importantly, a strong and compelling case was made by two speakers that we need to do more to discuss the power of treatment as prevention, and it's benefit to the HIV positive community, as well as, the larger community in general. Illuminating the benefits can help to challenge long-held misconceptions that only stigmatize individuals living with HIV. Coupled with this was a lively discussion on how we’re doing with PrEP uptake and implementation from a research standpoint, looking towards the future as well as what we know today. As always, Treatment is proud to help lead and shape conversations that are critical to the field.

During both the opening and closing plenaries, we took a moment to acknowledge our HIV 50+ Strong & Healthy scholars. The Treatment Division is proud of the individuals that took part in our new initiative at this year’s USCA. The HIV community needs to take a moment and recognize the graying of the HIV epidemic; in the U.S., more than half of those living with HIV are 50 or older. NMAC brought together dynamic individuals from across the country to learn about the unique challenges, recognize the resilience of long-term survivors and share stories. The goal is to create a community of people committed to advocating for and educating others about aging with HIV.  We must stay committed to the health of the individual across the life course meeting both prevention and treatment needs.


Thank You to the 2016 HIV 50+ Strong & Healthy: Training of Training
Scholars and Facilitators​

LaTrischa Miles, Instructor
Edward Jackson, Facilitator
Greg Cassin, Facilitator
Lillibeth Gonzalez, Facilitator
Jeff Taylor, Facilitator
Alan Timothy Lunceford-Stevens, NY
Angel Luis Hernández Arecibo, PR
Aracelis Quinones New York, NY
Art Jackson Fayetteville, NC
Bridget Thomas, Winston Salem, NC
Carlton Ray Smith, Baltimore, MD
Daniel Leyva, New York, NY
Dareen Berniard, New Orleans, LA
Darlene Brown, Indianapolis, IN
David-Lee Mattison, Atlanta, GA
Deana Hayes, Kansas City, MI
Dominique Fisher, Marrero, LA
Joyce Turner Keller, Baton Rouge, LA
Eddy Jackson, Birmingham, AL
Eric Jannke, Palm Springs, CA
Eric Martinez, Vero Beach, FL
Ernest Brown, Columbia,SC
Ernesto Aldana, Panorama City, CA
Geneva Galloway, Charlotte, NC
Jannis Evans, Jefferson City, MI
Jeff Benavides, Houston,TX
Jesus Guillen, San Francisco, CA
Judith Shaw, Baltimore, MD
Kassahun Tefera,  Washington, DC
Kenneth Gedric, Baton Rouge, LA
Kenneth Terrell, Orlando, FL
Keshav Tyagi, Los Angeles, CA
LaTrischa Miles, Kansas City, MI
Laurency Gaston, Marietta, GA
Lorenzo Robertson, Coral Springs, FL
Marquetta Campbell, Tuscaloosa, AL
Mary Helen Gloria, San Antonio, TX
Mick Robinson, San Francisco, CA
Michelle Lopez, New York, NY
Oscar Lopez, Harlingen, TX
Patricia Smith, Canton, MS
Phyllis Malone, Atlanta, GA
Ricardo Torres, San Juan, PR
Robert Reyes,  Winter Park, FL
Robert Riester, Denver, CO
Rosa Rivera, Avilés San Juan, PR
Shannon Warren, Charlotte, NC
Steven Vargas, Houston, TX
Tammy Kinney, Winder, GA
Tez Anderson, San Francisco, CA
Tiffany Collins, Mobile, AL
Valerie Spencer, Pomona, CA
Wil Chastang, Mobile, AL


Matthew Rose,
Treatment, Policy, and Advocacy 

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