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Amida Care’s Takeaways: U.S. Conference on AIDS 2015

September 13, 2015

Amida Care was a proud participant in the 19th Annual U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) in Washington, D.C. from September 10 to 13. This year’s theme was “The Numbers Don’t Lie: It’s Time to End Health Disparities.” Amida Care staff joined nearly 3,000 community organizations, government officials, and individuals in discussions about ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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The conference, organized by the D.C.-based National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), hosted panels, exhibits, and workshops on issues including updated goals of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) HIV/AIDS Strategy for 2020. The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and ONAP hosted listening sessions for feedback for federal agencies that are working to develop a Federal Action Plan to implement the HIV/AIDS Strategy by December 1. ONAP Director Douglas M. Brooks, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci were among the speakers at the conference.

At Amida Care’s exhibit table, our team connected with industry leaders, organizations, service providers, and others who were impressed with Amida Care’s comprehensive model of care and wellness programs. Amida Care’s Carlos N. Molina participated in a group discussion hosted by NMAC with close to 30 leaders and activists in the Latino community. The discussion focused on the importance of including Latino voices in national discussions of HIV/AIDS, since Latinos are among the groups that are disproportionately affected.

Key points covered at the conference included the following:

  • Individuals in their communities can take action consistent with the Strategy by using several tools for HIV prevention and treatment. These tools, supported by recent studies, include pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), widespread HIV testing and linkage to care, and antiretroviral therapy treatment for all those who test positive as soon as possible (START). Amida Care emphasized the importance of engagement and coordinated care for those living with HIV.
  • Race, stigma, HIV criminalization, affordable housing, employment, and low literacy are all factors that affect HIV/AIDS health outcomes. Several presidential orders have been issued in support of the original Strategy: HIV Care Continuum Initiative and the Federal Inter-agency Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence Against Women and Girls, and Gender-related Health Disparities. It is important to leverage the latest health care advances, including the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for people at risk for or living with HIV.
  • Building support networks and connections among organizations, advocates, and individuals is essential. This was emphasized in the USCA plenary entitled “Mind the Gap: From Vision to Reality,” with the Human Rights Campaign’s Noël Gordon, Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer, and the Equal Justice Initiative’s Bryan Stevenson, linking the AIDS movement to the LGBT equality and social justice movements. This year, the transgender community #TransLivesMatter called for new data collection systems and equal access to health care services, programming, policy, and hiring.