Well folks, it’s that time of the year when the hustle and bustle intensifies; many of us are busy with stakeholder endeavors, to preparing year end reports and deliverables, while preparing next year’s work plans. This special edition newsletter comes to you post-World AIDS Day and offers guidance for sustaining your World AIDS Day efforts. In this newsletter, we offer several strategies for moving beyond World AIDS Day 2016, a monumental day for the global HIV movement, to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS for the days to come. The featured guest presenters are Farah JeuneDr. Kimberly Parker and Charles Shazon. Farah Jeune [Boston, MA] represents the 2016 Youth Initiative. She is the talented artist whose poster work is shared below along with her top three ways to prepare for WAD. Dr. Kimberly Parker [Dallas, Texas] offers a reflection on the implications of Race and PreP, and four sustainable recommendations for prevention to move beyond a day of observance. Charles Shazor [Washington, DC] presents his perspective as a Person Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and how Leadership can maintain momentum captured during World AIDS Day. Charles is the newest member of our team and works on our Building Leaders of Color [BLOC] HIV Initiative. I also offer my recommendations for sustaining HIV prevention strategies such as Prep which includes: 1) Consider year-long the 2016 Federal theme “Leadership. Commitment. Impact.” 2) Engage Allyship with health departments, faith-based, public and private partners and other civic organizations in your program planning such as The Balm in Gilead; THRIVE SS; Advocates for Youth; Positively Trans (T+);Positive Women’s Network, USA; and United States People Living with HIV Caucus and 3) Review President Barack Obama’s 2015 Presidential Proclamation for continued inspiration. I'm sure each of you had powerful messages to share during World AIDS Day. Now, let’s work together to keep that momentum going.
Youth Initiative 2016 “My name is Farah Jeune and I'm honored to be one of the Youth Initiative Scholars this year. As an illustrator, I love using my art as a tool for social awareness. This December 1st marked World AIDS Day and as a youth HIV and AIDS advocate, I wanted to create a piece that would highlight how universal HIV/AIDS is 365 days a year.
Inside the bright red ribbon are mini illustrations that depict our progress and our hopes in sustaining the fight against HIV/AIDS. Included in the visual are; 1) Our progress in including sex education in schools and teaching our youth not only about STI/STDs prevention but also how to treat it if they get it; 2) Our progress in getting people to get tested and our hope in getting to zero infections and zero deaths; 3) Our progress in standing up for those who are voiceless and honoring those who are no longer with us; and 4) Our continued progress in eliminating stigma, hate, and fear in the HIV movement and our duty to continue to educate and uplift our communities with the resources they need to live healthy, happy lives.
HIV is a global issue and it shouldn't be a taboo subject but a necessary one. World AIDS Day united us all to not only to learn more about HIV but to recognize those who are living with and/or, affected by this disease as our neighbors, relatives, HUMANS. HIV affects us all. In 2017, I hope that more people will know their status. I hope politicians will advocate for communities with health disparities. I hope that stigma and fear will be replaced by education and empowerment and I hope long term, YOU know that your health matters!”
Want some tips on how you can support the movement? Read below to find out how you can sustain the momentum in partnership with youth leaders.
Knowing your status is important because your health matters! Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to get tested for STI's & STD's. Ask your health care provider questions and get informed about how you can stay healthy, regardless of your status. Visit https://gettested.cdc.gov/ or call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) to ask for free testing sites in your area. While you're there, be sure to schedule an advance appointment for next year.
(2) Support &Encourage your peers:
HIV/AIDS affects us all. Spread the word to your inner circle to encourage them to also get tested. Know people who are living with HIV? Take the time to send your support. Visit the https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/ site to learn more about the #DoingIt campaign and how you can become more involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
(3)Follow the NMAC social media pages:
Keep in touch with the NMAC team to get informed about HIV prevention & treatment, community events, and national health coverage. Learn more about our 2016 Youth Scholars and the amazing things they're doing in their communities to educate, uplift and connect their peers with the resources they need to live healthy and happy lives.
Farah Jeune - Youth Initiative Scholars
Race & Health Equity Initiative 2016
“The concept of race is personal for me. Race extends beyond the basis of my personal identity; it has molded my history and will shape legacy for years to come. Race also serves as the underpinnings of several negative health outcomes that disproportionately impacts persons of color. Race is the enigma that rests between my identity and the inequities that foster and produce health disparities such as HIV-infection. Therefore, our approach to reduce HIV-infection among persons of color should integrate the intersection of race and personal identity beyond the current, standard practice for prevention. As NMAC adopted the charge to lead with race earlier this year, the decision to join their fight to reduce health inequities and HIV-infection by addressing race was also personal.
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control approved the daily use of Truvada as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, to reduce the spread of HIV-infection. Unfortunately, PrEP uptake has been slow for persons of color for several reasons including lack of knowledge and awareness about PrEP, diminished access to resources, distrust in the medical system, and reduced perceived risk for contracting HIV. Health inequities are formed within complex social structures that influence determinants of health. Therefore, race not only serves as a factor for low update of PrEP among person of color, it also influences increased risk for HIV-infection.
As we move beyond sustaining our efforts after World AIDS Day, I challenge each of you to examine your approach for reducing health disparities associated with HIV-infection. Let’s make the days after World AIDS Day just as important as December 1, by acknowledging the social structures in which race can influence HIV-infection among others, and by examining the space in which we see and occupy race within ourselves.”
Dr. Kimberly Parker – Associate Professor, Texas Woman’s University, NMAC RACE Advisory Board Member
Building Leaders of Color Living With HIV/AIDS Initiative
"While being an HIV Ally, my participation in World AIDS Day brought me closer to the front lines.SustainingWorld AIDS Daymomentum is important to me as an HIV positive person because it brings awareness to the HIV epidemic worldwide. World AIDS Day holds a special place in my heart as a day to reflect and to pay my respects to the friends and loved ones that I’ve personally lost over the years. While being an HIV ally, I’ve been brought me closer to the front lines on the battle of the HIV epidemic to where I was able to spread awareness to underserved communities of color that had little to no information or resources available to them. In return from those communities, I was given a sense of home and family that welcomed me with open arms, and it was in those moments that planted the seeds for my career path and life’s work.
Now in 2016, as a person living with HIV, it’s important to me to spread awareness beyond the typical reaches of a poster or billboard to give hope to those individuals that feel lost and left behind in life due to the HIV epidemic. Personally, all that I’ve learned along the way, kept me going in life once becoming infected with HIV by wrapping myself in the memories and love I had received strictly as an HIV ally. Lastly, it’s important to me to rise up together for a common goal in ending the HIV epidemic, and to say to those past and present individuals in the battle that we see you, we hear you, we’re here for you, and we love you.”
Charles Shazor Jr – Recruitment and Retention Specialist, NMAC
The Leadership Pipeline Fall 2016 Events
Building Leaders of Color (BLOC) National Leadership Training Project Applications for National Leadership Training for Transgender Women of Color Living with HIV will be reviewed by December 20, 2016. Applicants for Regional Trainings will be selected in January 2017. Tentative 2017 training schedule and sites to be posted soon.