Illinois: AIDS Conference Opens With Sebelius and Crowley
November 17, 2011
The opening of the recent U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) in Chicago was interrupted for a time by a protest on behalf of Asian-Pacific Islanders. The large group of protesters, who were expected by conference organizers with the National Minority AIDS Council, marched in holding signs reading "Our Lives Matter" and took over the microphone.
"We cannot wait," said Sharon Day of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force. "We, the first Americans, can no longer be the last in line for funding."
After the protest, White House Office of National AIDS Policy Director Jeff Crowley took the stage instead of the scheduled opening speaker, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. He urged HIV service providers to adapt to health care changes and medical advancements to end AIDS. Crowley called for AIDS organizations to focus and unify now that pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis, taking HIV drugs to prevent infection, is on the horizon.
"This is great news, but right now it's a research study," said Crowley, asking providers to begin thinking of how new prevention research might be implemented.
Speaking later, Sebelius said that despite a universal health insurance mandate in 2014 under the federal Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration is committed to Ryan White funding and is working to reallocate resources to high-risk communities. Ryan White in the future will be used to fill "cracks in the system, not gaping holes," she said.
Sebelius said of the protesters, "They were saying, 'our lives matter,' and my response is, you bet they do." President Obama has requested $50 million in additional funds for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, she said; thousands of patients in several states are on ADAP waiting lists.
Windy City Times (Chicago)
11.16.2011; Kate Sosin
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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