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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Let's Thank Our President -- And Press Him to Fix ADAP

By Paul Kawata

July 7, 2010

The President is hosting a reception to honor the work of the HIV/AIDS Community. As a constituent based organization, NMAC gets invited as one of your representatives. I wasn't sure if I should send this email, it can be perceived as too self-important; however, I really want to share this experience with all of you. Everyone who should be in the room can't be due to space limitations, but this acknowledgment is for all of us. You are the true heroes, every time you pass out another condom, give a rapid test, find housing or try to figure out solutions for someone on a waiting list. We all deserve to be honored by the President.
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I thought a thank you letter would be a way for all of us to be a part of the event If you are willing to sign-on to this letter, please email info@nmac.org by 12 noon (Eastern)/9:00 a.m. (Pacific) on July 13th. The letter will be given to President and key administration officials after the reception. We are giving it afterwards, because we hope they will announce a solution to the ADAP crisis at the event. If this happens, the letter will be modified.

We think the President is going to release the National HIV/AIDS Strategy at this reception. I've not seen the document, but I've heard the strategy's goals are everything the community could want. The challenge is in its implementation. Let's all reserve judgment until we see the final document. NMAC will hold a conference call at a later date to discuss the strategy.

While at the reception, I will try to twitter and use my Flip to video some of the highlights. I am not sure they will let me bring the Flip into the room. You can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/pkawata. If Mrs. Obama attends the reception, I will definitely give you a fashion review.

If you are willing to sign-on to this letter, please email info@nmac.org by 12:00 noon (Eastern)/9:00 a.m. (Pacific) on July 13th. Thank you for your consideration and hard work!

July 13, 2010

President Obama
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear President Obama,

On behalf of the national and community based organizations (see list below) on the frontlines of this epidemic, thank you for your leadership and commitment to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Each of us stands here in the footprints of so many heroes we lost to HIV/AIDS. Our friends who fought so hard in the early days could probably never image a President holding a reception at the White House to honor the HIV/AIDS community. Most would have loved to be part of this event. We miss them and will never forget the sacrifices they made so that we can be here today.

In the first 18 months of your administration the travel ban on those living with HIV was removed, restrictions on the use of federal funds to support needle exchange were removed, the Ryan White Care Act was reauthorized, and $30.4 Million was set aside as part of the Prevention and Wellness Fund for HIV/AIDS Prevention. However, we've also had our challenges in ensuring adequate funding for PEPFAR and other international HIV/AIDS initiatives.

As you implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), we ask that the first thing you address is the ADAP funding crisis. We know you have this information and you will fix the problem; however, sometimes it bears repeating. As of July 1st, 2010, 2090* individuals are currently on the waiting list. This number does not include individuals in states that either don't keep waiting lists or have significantly reduced the drug formulary. On July 1st, Georgia became the 12th state to close enrollment and start a waiting list. Without an immediate solution, other states will follow. As you consider solutions, please make it

  1. Multi-year funding through 2014;
  2. Support states that don't keep waiting lists but have closed enrollment;
  3. Insure that all the necessary drugs are covered; and
  4. Integration of a permanent solution into health care reform.

We look forward to the release of the the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the opportunity to work with you in ensuring its implementation across the country. Thank you for your support and leadership.

Sincerely,

Your Name

CALOR
Chicago, IL

Coai, Inc
San Juan, PR

Community Information Center, Inc
Portland, OR

Comprehensive Health Education
Milwaukee, WI

HIV-AIDS UETS
Atlanta, GA

The LaStraw, Inc
Greensboro, NC

Liberty Research Group
Rochester, NY

Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group
KY

Native Health
Phoenix, AZ

National Minority AIDS Council
Washington, DC

National Native American AIDS Prevention Center
Denver, CO

Street Works
Nashville, TN

* From the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors: ADAPs with Waiting Lists (2,090 individuals, as of July 1, 2010) Florida: 523 individuals Hawaii: 10 individuals Idaho: 26 individuals Iowa: 97 individuals Kentucky: 198 individuals Louisiana: 112 individuals Montana: 20 individuals North Carolina: 783 individuals South Carolina: 187 individuals South Dakota: 22 individuals Utah: 112 individuals

Paul Kawata
Executive Director
National Minority AIDS Council

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