As you may of read in a previous blog that I just started taking HIV/AIDS meds in December of 2009. My counts are undetectable for the first time and I owe this change to ADAP -- AIDS Drugs Assistance Programs. ADAP provides HIV/AIDS related prescription drugs to uninsured and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
Since I am fairly new to the HIV/AIDS community, I haven't had the chance to speak publicly as often as I would like. Last year I was invited to speak at the ADAP Advocacy Association's Early Treatment for HIV Summit by their CEO, Brandon Macsata. I was asked to speak on the topic of using social networking websites to reach people living with HIV/AIDS.
I remember I told Brandon yes right away so I couldn't talk myself out of it. I will have to admit I was really nervous but also excited at the same time. As some of you may know already, I am very open about my life and my HIV status online. But this was the first time I would say "I am HIV positive" out loud in front of strangers face to face. I kept thinking of the first time I spoke at an NA [Narcotics Anonymous] meeting. I had the same feeling then, with sweaty palms and a case of dry mouth. Then I heard the voice of my past NA sponsor that said "They love you already. Just be yourself " After it was all said and done I realized it wasn't so bad.
I felt so welcomed at the Summit and it was the first conference I ever attended. It was so nice to meet others in the fight and to actually see with my own eyes that I wasn't alone. I left the summit with a new found confidence and a bunch of new friends. I just recently became a Board member for the ADAP Advocacy Association in March. I can't wait for our summit this year in Washington DC in July.
The ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+) mission is 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.
aaa+ is the only national grassroots organization focused exclusively on ADAPs and ensuring that there are adequate resources nationwide to eliminate or prevent waiting lists for services. Our purpose is to better engage people living with HIV/AIDS by providing a platform whereby they can offer their personal experiences, challenges, knowledge, insight and solutions to solving this perpetual problem.
Here are the most recent updates to ADAP Waiting lists in the United States.
938 individuals, as of April 16, 2010
Idaho: 26 people
Iowa: 69 people
Kentucky: 191 people
Montana: 17 people
North Carolina: 400 people
South Carolina: 48 people
South Dakota: 32 people
Tennessee: 61 people
Utah: 80 people
Wyoming: 14 people
We just recently posted an open letter to President Obama pleading for him to end ADAP waiting lists in the U.S. Check out the video below.