1995 National AIDS Treatment Advocates Forum Hailed a Success
The 1995 National AIDS Treatment Advocates Forum (NATAF), which took place in Los Angeles on October 15 through 18, has been hailed as a success. NATAF drew almost 200 participants ranging from treatment advocates and educators to case managers, pharmaceutical and government representatives, medical professionals and people with AIDS.
"NATAF has been a phenomenal success," said Moisis Agosto, Director of Research and Treatment Advocacy at the National Minority AIDS Council. "What I think is particularly important is that we were able to attract participants from all over the United States, which gave us a clear view of the different issues affecting each of those communities."
The forum was designed to foster dialogue about current HIV/AIDS treatment issues and to develop advocacy strategies around those issues. Topics of discussion included Development of Antiviral Drugs, Development of Opportunistic Infections Drugs, Research Policy and Legislation, Malignancies, Clinical Research and Basic Science. Rated particularly high among participants were the Treatment Education and Immune Based Therapies sessions as well as the innovative Integrating Women's Issues Into Treatment Activism.
NATAF faculty included top treatment and research advocates such as GMHC's David Barr and Derek Hodel, AmFAR's Jane Silver, Mark Harrington and Gregg Gonsalves of TAG, Anne Donnelly of Project Inform and WORLD's Rebecca Denison. In addition, Dr. Mark Feinberg of the Office of AIDS Research, Susan Krown of Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Merck's Emilio Emini were just a few of the other faculty members to share their expertise.
"This was just the first step in the process of cultivating dialogue among treatment advocates and with the medical establishment, government and pharmaceutical industry," explained David Barre, coordinator of the forum. "We anticipate that the 1996 forum will be even more successful."
During the closing plenary of the forum, facilitators for each of the sessions gave brief reports back about the specific strategies developed for the various treatment issues that were addressed. A detailed final report of those strategies is currently being developed and will be available after January 1, 1996 to forum participants and other interested individuals and organizations.
"We hope that the strategies developed at NATAF will serve as guidelines for treatment advocates across the country to assist in our national efforts and develop local advocacy strategies of their own," added Agosto.
NATAF was sponsored by the National Minority AIDS Council. Co-sponsoring organizations included AIDS Project Los Angeles, Gay Men's Health Crisis, National Association of People With AIDS and the Treatment Action Group. Supporting organizations included AIDS Action Baltimore, AIDS Action Council, American Foundation for AIDS Research, DIFFA/Houston, Mobilization Against AIDS, National Education Association and Project Inform.
This article was provided by National Minority AIDS Council. Visit NMAC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.