During September 7th – 11th NAP sent three attendees to the U.S. Conference on AIDS 2013 which is coordinated by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) and was held this year in New Orleans, LA. There were 2,200+ registrants representing over 47 states, Canada, and International sites attending over 188 offered workshops, plenary speeches, seminars, and round tables on topics related to the Affordable Care Act, issues around HIV/AIDS and its impact on minorities (women of color, African-American MSM, Latino MSM, youth, aging, etc.), public health initiatives, advocacy, community engagement, gender based disparities, testing and linkage strategies, housing as health, understanding stigma and how to address it, and far too many to list as the list goes on and on.
The venue was mostly led by national, regional, and local minority leaders of diverse backgrounds and was a highlight of the quality of the presentations covering topics often missed or over looked in less diverse populations and communities.Â The level of commitment of the advocates, the peers, and the relationships between those living with HIV/AIDS and those not but striving to support the movement of ending HIV in our collective communities led to many networks of similar and newly inspired ideas to come together. The time together helped to fuel each other for our common causes and motivations in the work we share in, whether it be as health providers, peer support specialists, AIDS Service Organizations (ASO’s), Community Based Organizations (CBO’s), HIV+ advocates, HIV- advocates, educators, testing staff, faith based initiatives, youth based initiatives, and all the other countless people and organizations who shared in the learning and teaching of one another throughout the conference.
NMAC’s webpage states the following that is of great concern to them and to us all.
HIV/AIDS has an incredibly imbalanced impact on ethnic, racial and sexual minorities in the United States.
Despite making up just 12 to 14 percent of the overall population, African Americans accounted for 46% of all new HIV infections in 2010. Latinos accounted for 21 percent of new HIV infections in 2010, despite making up only 16 percent of the U.S. population and are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS than Whites. American Indians/Alaskan Natives are also impacted disproportionately by HIV/AIDS and are 1.6 times as likely to have AIDS than Whites, while Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders are 2.6 times as likely to be diagnosed with HIV infections as the Whites.
While they account for only about 4% of our nation’s population, gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 63% of new HIV infections in 2010. Young gay men, especially young Black gay men, are the only population in the country facing increasing rates of HIV infection. Recent findings from the HPTN 061 study suggested that African American gay and bisexual men face a 60% chance of acquiring HIV by the age of 40. Transgender people have also been shown to have extreme vulnerabilities to HIV. – http://nmac.org/minorities-hiv
Every year NMAC offers scholarships for those living with HIV or working with HIV to attend this incredible hot spot of opportunities. NAP would like to encourage you to look at their website, look at the highlights of the conference, and to consider keeping your eyes and ears out for the scholarship opportunities when released. Next year the conference is in beautiful San Diego! Be a part of the movement and come join the network of those who inspire and bring it home to inspire those you love and need your voice most, no matter where you are in spectrum of those who work to see a day without stigma and disparity based on one’s health.
NMAC website: http://nmac.org