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Press Release

Open to the Community and Community Workers: AIDS Treatment Activist Educational Bootcamp to be Held in Atlanta on Dec. 7 and 8

November 14, 2007

The AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), an all volunteer non-profit national group that mentors and trains community activists around the country, will be providing a free one and a half day session to train Atlanta's community on important skills to make a difference in HIV treatment research and access. The training boot camp "Actvism in HIV/AIDS" will be held at the Hyatt Regency Suites Atlanta NW, 2999 Windy Hill Rd., Marietta, GA on the evening of Friday Dec 7 and all day Saturday December 8. For more information contact Ed Rewoliski at negush@verizon.net. Seating is limited, so please make your reservation today. Dinner will be served on Friday evening and continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

"This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of those living with HIV in Georgia", said Jeff Taylor, chair of ATAC's Drug Development Committee. "This unique training will include up-to-date information on new treatments, microbicide development, and HIV treatment research and access needs. This opportunity should not be missed by anyone infected or affected by HIV and those working or volunteering in the HIV/AIDS field", added Taylor.

"Georgia has very specific needs and issues when it comes to HIV treatment and access", said Alex Kidaloski, an Atlanta community activist. "For instance, unlike most of the states in the US, Georgia has no high risk insurance pool that people who cannot qualify for AIDS Drug Assistance can get, so many struggle with medication costs and access to insurance", added Kidaloski.

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When asked what one of the main issues in HIV/AIDS in the US is, Cathy Olufs, a long time activist working at Health Justice in Los Angeles and President of the Board of Directors of ATAC, said, "People all over the country think AIDS is over. It is now more important than ever not to fall asleep and allow complacency to take over our community. We need to mentor the next generation of activists to deal with the upcoming issues of research and access of new treatments".

Who is ATAC?

ATAC, a national coalition of AIDS activists, many living with HIV/AIDS, has as its mission "working together to end the AIDS epidemic by advancing research and access in HIV/AIDS. For more information about ATAC and its work, visit www.ATAC-USA.org.

More Information

You are not alone. Find your allies. Get involved. You can make a difference! Activism in HIV/AIDS is a chance to learn how to get actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This informal and interactive training session is designed for anyone interested in HIV research and/or activism, including people living with HIV/AIDS, health educators and advocates.

Using real-life examples and the experiences of veteran community advocates and activists from the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), many of whom are living with HIV/AIDS, the goal is to help you get the tools you need to become a skilled advocate for yourself and others

Topics

Training will focus on three areas of critical importance for people living with HIV/AIDS, their advocates and allies. Participants will learn about these three broad landscapes of activism and explore the links to their own backyard.

Prevention

Some of the most exciting HIV prevention research today explores the use of antiretroviral drugs and other chemicals or substances as a microbicide, a substance applied directly to the vagina or anus before sex, to prevent HIV infection.

Martell Randolph will provide a close look at why there's a lot of excitement about microbicides, why they will be so important in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and why the role of community activists is key to getting them from research labs to people around the world.

Treatment

Antiretroviral drugs to fight HIV don't just suddenly appear on the pharmacy shelf one day. Many years of clinical trials are conducted, many hurdles are cleared and many questions are answered long before a drug is approved.

Members of the Drug Development Committee of the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition will provide a detailed look at how drugs get approved in the U.S., the role that activists have played in that process, and where the community's eyes will be set in the coming years.

Access

If the best drugs to fight HIV are too expensive for the people who need them, what good are they? What happens to people in the United States, a country that does not ensure health care to all its citizens, without the political will to ensure access to care and treatment?

Andrea Weddle will cover a lot of ground -- AIDS drug assistance programs, federal Ryan White funding, government health benefits, private insurance programs -- to draw a picture of what goes into the process of getting medications to the people who need them. She will illustrate why many believe the system of health care provision in the U.S. is broken, and how critical the voice of the community is in fixing it.

Presenters

Moderator: Rob Camp, ATAC/DDC, Barcelona, Spain; Raffi Babakhanian, ATAC/DDC, New York City NY; Michael Dorosh, ATAC/DDC, Denver, CO; Morris Jackson, Center for Health Justice, Los Angeles CA; Martell Randolph, ATAC/DDC, Los Angeles, CA; Matt Sharp, Test Positive Aware Network, Chicago, IL; Andrea Weddle, HIV Medical Association, Arlington, VA



  
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This article was provided by AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition.
 

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