April 3, 2010

April 3, 2010
AIDS Watch 2010


Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and it is also Easter weekend. So for those of you traveling, I hope you are having safe journey and doing something special for yourself.

It is another beautiful day here in South Florida with the sun shining brightly, temperatures in the low 80s and a slight breeze. It is almost what I consider to be perfect weather. Now if I could just get the weather to be like this most of the year, I would be in heaven. (Of course, we need a rainy day every so often to keep everything looking nice and green.)

Still feeling slugish with a low grade fever so I am really having to pace myself this weekend. With speaking engagements and appearance requests coming in almost daily, I could easily spend a whole year on the road. But at the advice of my doctors and the demands of my close friends, I am trying to be as considerate to my health and well being while still trying to make as many events as I can.

Today I would like to remind you about an upcoming event in Washington, DC called AIDS Watch 2010.

You can register today for AIDSWatch 2010 at http://napwa.kintera.org/aidswatch

AIDSWatch is the largest annual gathering of HIV advocates and people living with HIV in the nation's capital. Every year we fight for federal funding for domestic HIV programs and for policies that improve the lives of people living with HIV. Come join us this April 26-28, 2010. Make yourself a part of history. This year's AIDSWatch will focus on four important issues:

Health Care Reform: This year is proving to be a critical year in the battle to enact health care reform. Hundreds of thousands of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the United States lack access to adequate health care coverage. Health care reform legislation, if it is to work for people with HIV/AIDS, must have several important components. These include: Medicaid expansion to cover all low income persons, the Early Treatment for HIV Act provisions, a comprehensive minimum benefit package for both Medicaid and private insurance companies, limits on out of pocket costs, elimination of the Medicare donut hole, Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance companies should be required to cover voluntary HIV testing and counseling, incentives to strengthen the health care workforce and ensure an adequate number of HIV providers, the elimination of many insurance industry practices, including pre-existing condition clauses and lifetime caps on benefits, and many, many more provisions. Join your fellow comrades in this historic fight to push for health care reform legislation. This is the year to make it happen. Help us to make history.

Appropriations: Every year, Congress and the President must approve a budget to fund the federal government. Included in this budget is funding for important programs and services that people with HIV/AIDS rely upon. They include: the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's HIV, TB and STD prevention programs, AIDS research at the National Institutes of Health, substance abuse and mental health treatment programs at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Minority AIDS Initiative, and funding for the White House office of National AIDS Policy.

ADAP Emergency Funding: In 10 states in the United States, over 660 people are on ADAP waiting lists. Twelve state ADAPs programs have instituted additional cost containment measures since April 1, 2009. Eleven ADAPs, including four with current waiting lists, are considering implementing new or additional cost containment measures by the end of March 2011. At this year's AIDSWatch, a major push will be for Congress to fund an emergency Fiscal Year 2010 supplemental appropriation of $126 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). This emergency funding would allow states to provide lifesaving medications to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The National AIDS Strategy: The United States needs a coordinated, outcomes based and community informed national strategy to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The U.S. can be the global leader in reducing the spread of HIV and in assisting people living with HIV to lead longer and more productive lives. A National AIDS Strategy will help us to accomplish this. Once the White House and the Administration finalizes its National AIDS Strategy, much work will be needed to ensure that the Strategy is enacted and becomes successful. Much of that work will fall upon Congress and the Administration to enact reforms and changes.

Hotel Accomodations for AIDSWatch

The Beacon Hotel in Downtown DC has generously offered constituents of AIDSWatch a discounted rate of $199 per/night from April 26th - April 29th. Please register for AIDSWatch today to receive information about this limited time offer of significantly discounted hotel reservations. Room reservations are available on a first come first serve basis hence please make your reservations as soon as possible.

Dab the AIDS Bear and I hope to see you there!

Have a great and safe weekend. Just do not eat too many chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and Easter eggs. LOL.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.



big bear hug,





Daddy Dab