Where You At? The ADAP Crisis in America
By Robert Breining
July 10, 2011
Some of you may be familiar with and may of read my previous posts -- here, here, and here -- about the ever growing AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting list in the United States. Well it is that time of year again when the ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+) holds it annual ADAP Conference. aaa+ strives to promote and enhance the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) and improve access to care for persons living with HIV/AIDS. aaa+ works with advocates, community, health care, government, patients, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders to assure that access to services recognize and afford persons living with HIV/AIDS to enjoy a healthy life. As always I have to applaud and say THANK YOU to Brandon Macsata for organizing this whole thing and Amanda,Christopher,Joey and Regine and all the volunteers for making the conference a success.
Currently there are 8,615 Americans (as of 6/30/11) who are not getting their life saving medication. They are just simply sitting on a waiting list. Since 6/29/10 over 6,000 Americans have been added to the ADAP waiting list. That is in just one year. This is what made this years conference extremely important. Can you imagine finding out you are HIV+ today and not being able to get medications because you can't afford them. AIDS medications can cost $1200 a month or more. Would you take the time to apply for ADAP if it meant you were going on a waiting list ? For many Americans this is a reality. So on top of the 8,615 currently on the list can you imagine the hundreds or thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS who don't apply since they can't get care and treatment they need.
It is very frustrating to me. I feel that every human being should be given the treatment they need to live a happy life, regardless of what disease they have or how big their bank accounts are. How can someone not be able to look inside themselves and find the compassion to want to help another human being. It leaves me dumbfounded. We can sit here and point fingers but as a nation we need to stand up to all responsible and create a movement.We literally need to take the streets and fight for our lives.
Lets get back to the conference. The conference opened up with guest speaker Bishop Joyce Turner Keller. The Bishop has lofted the term "southern hospitality" to an entirely new level. She is not only the founder and CEO of Aspirations, a non-profit faith-based community service organization, but someone who is living with HIV/AIDS herself, and has dedicated herself to educating, supporting and inspiring others living with HIV/AIDS throughout the nation.
She was AMAZING. She not only walked in like a rock star with bright red hair, she brought the house down with her opening speech. We all felt her passion and it re-energized the passion inside all of us. She kept asking us one question thought out her speech. "Where you at ?" It clicked in so many ways. At one point during here speech she was calling out names of states. "Florida ... Where you at? Georgia ... Where you at?" Then attendees from each state would make noise and raise their hands. It was very empowering. By the end of the conference she had us all screaming "Where you at ?" It made it me realize how important it is for us living with HIV/AIDS to STAND UP and get our family and friends involved. I hope to have her come on POZIAM Radio sometime soon.
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The Positive Pitch
I describe myself as a "positive person with purpose." My goal is to help people living with HIV/AIDS discover similarities in each other ... and form friendships. I want to ease the shock of a diagnosis and remind people that our dreams are not infected. I am also an HIV/AIDS cyber-activist, radio show host, blogger and social network guru.
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