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Jennie Anderson, blog dot AIDS dot gov: Road to AIDS 2012 Town Hall Meetings Kick Off

Road to AIDS 2012 Town Hall Meetings Kick Off
by Jennie Anderson, Communications Advisor, October 13, 2011
Co-authored by Mindy Nichamin, New Media Coordinator

Last month, the first Road to AIDS 2012 Exit Disclaimer Town Hall meeting kicked off in San Francisco, California. This was the first of 15 meetings to be held across the country leading up to the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) Exit Disclaimer (note: every Road to AIDS 2012 meeting is free and open to the public). AIDS 2012 is the largest gathering of people working in HIV and will take place July 22-27, 2012 in Washington, DC.

This first town hall brought together diverse community members to talk about where we are with the HIV epidemic 30 years in, and where we’re going. Panelists (see list below) shared their perspectives on many topics including:

  • The Affordable Care Act. This will have large implications for the HIV community. As HHS’ Herb Schultz, Director of HHS Region 9, shared, this will potentially “not only increase access to health care and expand health care coverage, it will also provide consumer protection.”
  • Advances in biomedical and social interventions. From microbicides to vaccine research to antiretroviral medications, there have been key developments in HIV prevention and treatment in recent years. Marsha Martin from Get Screened Oakland Exit Disclaimer reminded us that, “30 years in, we have the tools, knowledge, and experience”.

In addition, community members had several opportunities to ask questions. Some of the many topics raised included:

  • The role of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
  • Social determinants of health
  • Discrimination
  • Immigration
  • Sero-sorting (picking one’s partner based on HIV status)
  • The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and the Ryan White CARE Act
  • Oral health
  • Mental health and substance use (including clean syringe access)
  • HIV among aging populations

Across the panelists’ responses, several themes emerged including the need to:

  • Put patients and communities first
  • Enhance collaboration and breaking down of silos
  • Align resources (especially when they are limited) with the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy by looking at the data
  • Strengthen stakeholder engagement
  • Provide a comprehensive and coordinated system of HIV prevention and care
  • Work across cultural lines

Road to AIDS 2012 Panelists at the San Francisco Town Hall Meeting:

Judith D. Auerbach, PhD, Vice President, Research & Evaluation, San Francisco AIDS Foundation Exit Disclaimer

Special Guest
Barbara Lee, U.S. Congresswoman, 9th District, California




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