A phenomenal event took place Wednesday, April 29, 2015 in Raleigh NC for North Carolina HIV Advocacy Day.
|The Women's Empowerment Team of the East - aka Girls on Fire, ready for their first meeting with legislators.|
The WE Team of the EAST met with two senators who serve our Region 10 area; Senator Don Davis and Senator Louis Pate. We did so well that Senator Don Davis gave up his seat for Miss Juliette Sharpless and agreed to attend our Life Skill Support Group at ECU Physicians in Greenville September 2015 as a pledge of his continued support and commitment of HIV programs in our state.
|Miss Juliette Sharpless at Senator Davis's desk for the discussion|
|Smiles all around: The WE Team of the East after talking with Senator Davis|
One of the arguments posed was “Imagine the cost of 1400 clients utilizing the emergency room to treat infections opposed to 1400 clients in which 82% are viral load suppressed in care at ECU Physicians in Greenville, NC." It is important that advocacy efforts continue at all levels in North Carolina to ensure our elected officials recognized the importance of these programs that contribute to the management of HIV in our communities to reducing the spread of HIV and linking those diagnosed with HIV are linked to care.
The recommendations on the agenda were:
- ADAP: To fully fund the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and oppose recurring funding cuts to accommodate for future changes in federal appropriations or voluntary corporate rebates especially when Medicaid has not been expanded for this state.
- Youth Access to Healthcare Services: Protect the ability of young people to access mental and sexual healthcare, including HIV prevention, testing and treatment.
- Harm Reduction: Support House Bill 712, which will authorize the State Bureau of Investigations in collaboration with North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, to establish pilot programs to collect and properly dispose of used syringes in two NC counties; and amend the existing Needle-stick Prevention law (HB 850) passed in 2013 so that a person who declares a syringe to a law enforcement officer prior to being searched will not be charged for possession of the syringe or for trace residue inside the syringe.
|Felicia Brock talks to Senator Don Davis about HIV policy in Eastern NC|
Always ‘On Fire’ - Esther Ross
Esther Ross is the Region 10 Network Coordinator, a Social Work Practitioner and Medical Care Coordinator in the Department of Internal Medicine at the East Carolina University-Brody School of Medicine, and an advocate for those living with HIV in Greenville, NC.