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HIV/AIDS orgs respond to Obama’s HIV/AIDS Strategy

Following release of National HIV/AIDS Strategy

By Antoine Craigwell

(Wednesday, July 14, 2010) – Paul Kawata, executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council, posted on the social networking site, Facebook, a letter signed by 180 national and community organizations at the forefront of the fight against HIV and AIDS. This letter was in response to the announcement and release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) yesterday.

The text of the letter below:

Honorable Barack H. Obama
President, United States Of America
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear President Obama,

On behalf of the180 national and community based organizations (see list below) on the front lines of this epidemic, thank you for your leadership and commitment to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Each of us stands here in the footprints of so many heroes we’ve lost to HIV/AIDS. Our friends who fought so hard in the early days could probably never imagine a President holding a reception at the White House to honor the HIV/AIDS community. Most would have loved to be part of this event. We miss them and will never forget the sacrifices they made so that we can be here today.

In the first 18 months of your administration the travel ban on those living with HIV was removed, restrictions on the use of federal funds to support needle exchange were removed, the Ryan White Care Act was reauthorized, and $30.4 Million was set aside as part of the Prevention and Wellness Fund for HIV/AIDS Prevention. However, we’ve also had our challenges in ensuring adequate funding for PEPFAR and other international HIV/AIDS initiatives.

As you implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), we ask that the first thing you address is the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) funding crisis. We appreciate the $25 million to see us through September 30, 2010. We are concerned that is not a long-term solution and will only get us through a limited period. As of Jul 8, 2010, 2,291 individuals are on waiting lists. This number does not include individuals in states that don’t keep waiting lists, have significantly reduced the drug formulary, or have significantly changed the income eligibility levels. On Jul 1, Georgia became the 12th state to close enrollment and start a waiting list. Ohio changed its income eligibility levels so that more then 1,000 HIV/AIDS patients will lose their benefits. New Jersey also changed its income eligibility levels so that 947 HIV/AIDS patients will lose their benefits. Without an immediate solution, other states will follow.

As you consider solutions, please make it [funding for ADAP] multi-year funding through 2014, support states that don’t keep waiting lists but have closed enrollment or that are on the brink of a waiting list, ensure that all the necessary drugs are covered, and [the] integration of a permanent solution into health care reform.

We look forward to the reviewing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the opportunity to work with your administration to ensure its implementation across the country. Thank you for your support and leadership.

Sincerely,

2 God B The Glory, Inc     A Brave New Day     A Family Affair

ACT UP Philadelphia     Action for a Better Community    Advocates For Youth

African American Hispanic Health Education Resource Center

AID For AIDS Nevada      AIDS Alabama

AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families

AIDS Care Services, Inc.   AIDS Community Research Initiative of America

AIDS Foundation of Chicago    AIDS/HIV Services Group (ASG)

The AIDS LIFE Campaign   AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin

AIDS Project of Central Iowa     AIDS Resources of Rural Texas

AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC)      Albany Damien Center

Amanda Beck-Myers     Ananias      Anxiety Disorders Association of America

Asian Media Access     Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS

Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Aspirations Wholistic Tutorial Services     Baton Rouge AIDS Society

Bienestar Human Services    Black AIDS Institute

The Black Women’s Health Imperative     Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Paul Browne       CAEAR Coalition      CALOR

Camden NJ Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Camillus Health Concern, Inc.    CARES     CareSouth Carolina

Cascade AIDS Project        Central City AIDS Network, Inc.

Central Illinois FRIENDS of People with AIDS

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

William H. Chastang Consumer Advocate/Outreach Coordinator

Christie’s Place, Inc.        Citywide Project/Citywide Ministries

Coai, Inc.       Community Access National Network

Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP)

Community Information Center, Inc.        Comprehensive Health Education

Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition         DeKalb Prevention Alliance, Inc

Desert AIDS Project         Gregory W. Edwards, EdD

Eternal Hope Community Development Corporation, Inc.

Family Heath & AIDS Care Services International     Family Health Project

Family Planning Association of Puerto Rico        F.L.A.S., INC.

Fort Worth Northside Community Health Center, Inc.

Greater Love Tabernacle    Gregory House Programs    GROUP Ministries, Inc.

Harlem United Community AIDS Center      Harmony House, Inc.

Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation     Hermanas de Luna y Sol    HEROES

HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two, Inc.

HIV/AIDS Services for African Americans in Alaska    HIV-AIDS UETS

HIV Care Program       HIVictorious, Inc.

HIV Planning Council Santa Clara County      Housing Works

Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy       Iris House

Johns Hopkins Local Performance Site

PA/MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center

Monica Johnson, NMAC Board Member

Lambda Legal     Lark Lands, M.S., Ph.D.       H.O.P.E.

The LaStraw, Inc.      Latino Commission on AIDS

Latino Community Services

Helen Lemay, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emerita, Stony Brook University

Liberty Research Group

Don Little, MPH, Former Chair of the Oklahoma Native American AIDS Coalition

The Living Room     LMPHW Specialty Clinic

Love Heals, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education

Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center

Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group

Michigan Positive Action Coalition (MI-POZ)

Minnesota AIDS Project

Minority AIDS Council of Orangeburg, Bamberg, and Calhoun Council, Inc.

Missoula AIDS Council             M OCHA Center Inc.

Multicultural AIDS Coalition, Inc.       he NAMES Project/AIDS Memorial Quilt

Native Health             National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Inc.

National AIDS Fund         National AIDS Housing Coalition

National Association of People with AIDS

National Association of Social Workers

National Latino AIDS Action Network          National Minority AIDS Council

National Native American AIDS Prevention Center

NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training

New Jersey Women and AIDS Network        New Destiny Recovery Ministry

New York AIDS Coalition          New York City AIDS Housing Network

Nightsweats & T-cells, Co          North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic         One Heartland       One Love Project

Open Door Clinic        Leonardo Ortega, NMAC Board Member

David G. Ostrow, MD, PhD              Partnership Project

Choyce Perkinds, Advocate For AAHHERC           Positive Efforts, Inc

Project Aware at Stanley Street Treatment & Resources

PROCEED, Inc.      Project HANDLE, Neighborhood House         Project Lazarus

Project Link of South Florida, Inc.       Proyecto SOL Filadelfia

Puerto Rico Community Network for Clinical Research on AIDS (PR CoNCRA)

Andre Weatherby Rawls     Recovery 2000, Inc.       Redemption Outreach Intl

Regional AIDS Project

Genevieve Rohan, FNP-C, AAHIVMS and Tegest Hailu, MD, AAHIVMS, Hailu/Rohan Family Practice

SAYFSM          Vanessa Sasso, Seattle HIV/AIDS Planning Council

Shanti

S.H.A.P.E. (Stop HIV/AIDS and Addiction through Prevention and Education)

Carlton R. Smith, Baltimore Black Pride, Inc. Founder, Churches United Against AIDS; Board chair

South Carolina Campaign to End AIDS (SC-C2EA)

South Central Educational Development, Inc.   South Jersey AIDS Alliance

South LA Access Center        Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC)

Southwest Louisiana AHEC         Stanley Street Treatment & Resources

Street Works       St. Luke AME Church/ Treat Me Right Inc.

Suburban HIV/AIDS Consortium (SHAC)

TACTS-THE Association of Clinical Trials Services

Tampa-Hillsborough Action Plan           C. Taylor

Ti-chee Native AIDS Prevention Project          Rose Todd-Stanford

Total Health Awareness Team            Treat Me Right Inc.

Treatment Access Expansion Project          Treatment Action Group

Two Spirit Society of Denver            U Can Do It 2!

Evelyn Ullah, NMAC Board Member            Us Helping Us

Valley AIDS Information Network Inc.

Vermont CARES        VillageCare

Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge

West County Health Centers, Inc.             Who’s Positive          Willis Center

The Women’s Collective      Women’s Health Center

Women Together For Change           Women Watch Afrika, Inc

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July 14, 2010 Posted by | African-American News, Black Gay Men, Black Gay Men Health, Black Men, Black Men Health, Caribbean, Caribbean Community, community, Elderly LGBT, Health, HIV, HIV Status, LGBT community, LGBT Immigrant rights, LGBT Rights, LGBT Seniors, Male Health, Obama, Politics, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’ve got the flu or want to avoid getting it:

Here’s what you do – HIV Positive people, especially, need to take extra precautions

When U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said that people should avoid subways and other confined spaces because of the swine flu sweeping the nation, the country recorded its first swine flu death – a toddler in Houston, TX – which led to the decision by state and federal health officials to ratchet up their alert level, and which prompted the Word Health Organization (WHO) to up their grade to Phase 5, a status just below declaring a full pandemic, has come as a jolt to everyone. This drastic and seemingly draconian action by national and internationally health related agencies should come as no surprise, since many of them were severely criticized for their lack of preparedness and response to two major flu outbreaks in recent memory, Sars and the Avian Flu, both which emphasized the global nature of the spread of any infection and threatened to overwhelm countries’ health infrastructure, revealing how unprepared many were.

But while there are numerous suggestions on what to do, to protect against contracting or passing the virus on, many of those tips in the local media have not included enough detail for adequate protection.

A person could be infected and spread the flu up to a full day before he or she feels symptoms and up to seven days after they are sick.

Many HIV positive people, especially, need to take extra precautions, as someone once said, the general perception is that most people are afraid of contracting HIV from an HIV-positive person, but really, it is the HIV positive person, who with a compromised immune system, is most vulnerable and at risk from the general population. Consequently, a HIV-positive person needs to observe the rules for the general population and take additional precautions, such as staying away from crowded or heavily populated areas, like night clubs, sex clubs, parties, public transport conveyances, and should contact their doctor to enquire as to the best medication. Those with the HIV virus should be aware of the signs of an illness coming on, the beginning scratchiness or dryness in the throat, the feeling of lethargy or extreme tiredness, or headaches. HIV positive people should make it their duty to pay attention to their bodies, as with a compromised immune system, assumption should not be entertained and nothing taken for granted.

According to William Shay, M.D., a Chelsea-based general internist who specializes in HIV treatment, an HIV-positive person who has a fever of 101-degrees or higher and has a cough with any other symptoms, should see their doctor.

So, while waiting for a vaccine, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) optimistically suggest could take six months to be produced and some reports state that even if there is a vaccine there won’t be enough for everyone, and it would be ineffective, because this flu strain is likely to have mutated or people would develop a resistance to it.  These five critical tips, widely agreed upon by the WHO, the CDC, and other health experts, are what a person could do to avoid getting sick and, importantly, avoid infecting others.

  • Washing hands:
    The best thing anyone could do right now to avoid swine flu, experts say, is to wash their hands. It sounds like a stupidly simple response to an overwhelming situation, but almost compulsive hand-washing helps prevent the spread of this respiratory infection. It’s the droplets from coughing and sneezing, which coat surfaces and which people touch that spread the infection. The virus gets on hands, and then everything touched is infected.

    While washing the hands seems simple, how it is done is important:

  • Use warm or hot water if you can;
  • Lather up with soap and rub not just your fingers and palms but also under the fingernails, around the wrists and between the fingers for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice; and
  • Rinse well.

While it is important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating and after using the bathroom, for whatever the bodily function, it is also important after using a tissue or covering the mouth as with a sneeze or a cough, sick or not, or as with seasonal allergies, which could present similar symptoms to the flu.

A person should think of how often he or she would wash their hands if they worked in a hospital’s emergency or operating room; hands should be washed that often and that thoroughly.

2. Covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing.

“The way you spread influenza is with droplets that come out of your mouth or nose,” said Dr. George T. DiFerdinando Jr., a physician, epidemiologist and professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Public Health. He recommends the classic shoulder or crook-of-the elbow sneeze.

“It’s a whole lot better for those [droplets] to be on blouse or sleeve than spraying onto surfaces or other people,” he said, after which, wash the hands.

While wearing surgical face masks are an option for containing the droplets, they don’t keep a person’s hands clean and there is no consensus in the healthcare community on whether or not face masks are advisable for everyday use.

“If the swine flu virus is spreading throughout the community, it would not surprise me if people use face masks to good effect,” DiFerdinando said.

  1. Staying home.

Someone who is sick should stay home, DiFerdinando said. Try to muster the energy to wash the hands after every tissue use so as not to avoid re-infecting everything touched afterward. This helps to reduce the presence of the virus in the immediate environment, with recovery, and protects household and loved ones.

  1. Not touching the face.

While very few people succeed at restraint and control, more people are urged to try to keep their hands away from their face and areas where there are mucous membranes, such as around or close to the eyes, inside the nostrils and mouth, which are direct routes to the bloodstream and which allows the virus to bypass the protective barrier of the skin.

“That’s just human nature,” DiFerdinando said. “It’s not something to moan about. In this circumstance you’ve got a very strong motivator to keep your hands clean. If you keep washing your hands, you decrease the dose [of flu virus] that you get when you put your hands in your mouth.”

5. Avoid sick people

It’s a good idea to avoid close contact with other people who are sick, DiFerdinando said, adding: “We won’t even see air kisses.” The flu virus tends not to float in the air. Instead, once dispersed, the liquid droplets tend to settle on objects that doctors call fomites – things that people touch that can pick up a virus. Examples include coins, hand rails, door knobs, common household and office objects. Smooth objects transmit microbes more than rough or porous ones. So, for instance, coins would allow one to pick up more virus than paper money.

Not surprising to Dr. James Koopman, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, is the number of cases concentrated in one geographic area.

“There is a lot of direct contact and touching of common things when children are in school,” Koopman said. “They are in general more susceptible to these things.”

Koopman and his colleagues are trying to pin down the relative importance of different routes of transmission, whether by the air or by hand touching, fomite.

“Our work is indicating there can be big differences between something like airborne virus – you may take a small amount in with every breath, but when you get a big goober of someone’s cough on your finger and it touches your mucosal membrane – your eye, nose, mouth or somewhere where it can gain access – that could be a much higher dose,” Koopman said.

It takes time for a new virus – and the swine flu outbreak is based on a new strain of an H1N1 virus – to adapt to a human’s immune system and survive there long enough to find another organism to infect, Koopman said.

At first, the immune system can handle small doses of virus, such as with airborne transmission, he said. In that case, “maybe the hand-fomite touching spread would be more important than the airborne,” he said.

Maybe later, the virus evolves to survive and transmit successfully in smaller doses, or via different routes, he said.

“I personally think this virus has been circulating a bit longer than is recognized at this time,” Koopman said.

The CDC photograph, below, captured a sneeze in progress, revealing the plume of salivary droplets as they are expelled in a large cone-shaped array from this man’s open mouth. The flu virus can spread in this manner and survive long enough on a doorknob or countertop to infect another person. It dramatically illustrates the reason you should cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing to protect others from germ exposure, health officials say. It’s also why you need to wash your hands a lot, on the assumptions others don’t always cover their sneezes.

Photo of man's sneeze - droplet plume

Photo of man's sneeze - droplet plume

April 30, 2009 Posted by | community, Health, LGBT community, Male Health, Public Health, Uncategorized, Washington Heights Community | , , , , , , | Leave a comment