August 14, 2012

August 14, 2012
25 top reasons to come to USCA 2012

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and it also would have been my Mother's 77th birthday if she were still alive. I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

The National Minority AIDS Council is celebrating its 25th anniversary. To mark this occasion, they are bringing the United States Conference on AIDS back to where it all began: Las Vegas! And in honor of our 25 years of service, they have put together a list of the 25 top reasons to come to USCA 2012! We hope you enjoy, and that youíll join them at this yearís conference, which is sure to be their best conference yet!

1. We've never been closer to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic! Policy and science have aligned like never before making it possible to realistically envision and AIDS free generation. It is more important than ever that we come together and develop strategies to move forward as a community to realize this vision.

2. Focus much needed attention on the impact of HIV/AIDS on women, especially women of color! This year's USCA target population is women of color, and we will be highlighting ways to address the unique challenges women face in accessing quality HIV prevention and care services.

3. Hear Jamar Rogers from The Voice sing! Jamar made headlines on this season of The Voice, not only for his incredible talent, but his bravery when he announced that he was HIV positive.

4. Sign the Declaration to End HIV/AIDS in America! Along with a blue ribbon panel of experts and stakeholders, NMAC will be developing a declaration outlining our values and priorities as we move forward in our efforts to end HIV/AIDS. It will be unveiled at this year's conference and those in attendance will have the opportunity to sign on.

5. Learn about the new HIV Planning Guidance for Prevention Planning Groups! NMAC is the sole capacity building assistance provider for the new HIV planning guidance. Come chat with NMAC's knowledgeable team as well as CDC representatives about how it will impact your planning group's activities!

6. Meet other front line workers who have dedicated their lives to ending this epidemic! Since its inception, USCA has focused on the community based response to HIV/AIDS, and is unique in its cross section of workers who spend their careers on the ground in communities fighting this epidemic.

7. Choose from over 100 skill building sessions! This year's conference will feature more than 100 skills building sessions addressing current issues in HIV/AIDS and presented by expert panelists.

8. Have Paul Kawata stalk you for your NMAC membership dues! Paul will be the first to tell you that he is a "pushy old queen," but that is what we all love about him!

9. Build on the momentum of AIDS 2012! Last month, the International AIDS Conference came to the United States for the first time in over 20 years. There was much focus on the domestic epidemic and the strategies to address it. Now we must translate the renewed focus on HIV/AIDS into real action if we are to end this epidemic.

10. Rub shoulders with some of the nation's largest HIV/AIDS funders! USCA brings together some of the nation's largest funders to discuss priorities and strategies in addressing the domestic epidemic. It is a unique opportunity to meet with representatives from all of these groups, whether government or private.

11. Enjoy yet another chicken and/or salmon plenary lunch! We all know that conference meals are never anything to write home about, but this year's plenary presentations sure will be! Previous plenary speakers have included CNN's Don Lemon, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and many others! Do not miss out on seeing who will speak this year.

12. Learn about the latest in biomedical research and its role in fighting the spread of HIV! From pre-exposure prophylaxis to vaginal and anal microbicides, biomedical interventions are sure to play a central role in our fight to end this epidemic. This year's conference will provide the latest information on research around all of these exciting new tools.

13. Meet with federal and state officials! USCA provides a unique opportunity to engage state and federal officials in a dialogue about what they are doing to fight this disease and what must be done better in order to achieve our common goals and bring an end to this epidemic once and for all.

14. Help NMAC mark its 25th anniversary! 25 years ago, NMAC was founded out of a meeting that took place in Las Vegas. We will be commemorating this milestone at this year's conference and sincerely hope you will be there to join us!

15. Add one more conference bag to your collection! If you are anything like us, you have gathered quite the collection of conference bags over the years. Never one to be wasteful, NMAC makes an effort to ensure that our USCA conference bags serve a greater purpose. This year, the bags will be made by a group called Freeset, which works to provide jobs to women in India who have been forced into the sex trade, whether through human trafficking or poverty.

16. Reflect, refresh and recommit! While USCA is a critical learning and networking opportunity, it is also a chance to reconnect with old friends and partners and recharge our batteries for the difficult work that we do every day. It's an opportunity to reflect on where we have been, what we have accomplished, and what work remains to be done.

17. Attend the first ever Summit to End AIDS in America! The first ever Summit to End AIDS in America will be held just prior to this year's USCA from September 29 - 30. Its mission is to give participants the tools to develop a strategic plan on how to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their community.

18. Meet and help foster our movementís future leaders! Each year, with the support of ViiV Healthcare, NMAC brings 10 promising youth leaders to USCA as part of our central mission of developing leadership to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These amazing young people are truly inspiring and are the future of our movement!

19. Magnify your voice and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and the issues impacting our communities! Sometimes it seems that no matter how many times we yell "fire," no one seems to listen. Meetings like USCA provide an opportunity to join forces and in a unified and collective voice, demand action to stop the spread of HIV.

20. Learn about recent developments in the search for a cure! While exciting new developments like treatment as prevention may help to stop the spread of HIV, we will never truly end this epidemic without a cure. This year, we will have an entire plenary session dedicated to cure research.

21. Learn and explore at our exciting exhibit hall! This year's USCA exhibit hall will be a one stop shop for the latest and greatest on HIV/AIDS with nearly 100 participating exhibitors.

22. Find out what is next in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act! Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the ACA, we can move forward in earnest with implementation. USCA will provide opportunities to learn where we are in rolling out its critical market reforms and coverage expansions and how it will impact our fight against this epidemic.

23. Get out of your office for a few days! Sometimes it is important to break your routine and get out of town for a bit. USCA is packed full of activities and there is much to learn, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to get away from your desk, meet new people and bring what you've learned back to your community.

24. Learn what Las Vegas and Nevada is doing to fight HIV/AIDS! Each year, USCA comes to a different city and highlights both their local epidemic and what they are doing to combat the disease. This year, you will have the opportunity to learn from local and state officials about ways that they are working to bring an end to HIV/AIDS in their community.

25. Without you, there is no United States Conference on AIDS! NMAC and USCA are both here to serve you. We work to strengthen communities and develop leadership in communities of color to end this epidemic. We are incredibly proud of our constituents and the sense of community that permeates USCA each year. From everyone here at NMAC, we hope you'll join us this year and look forward to working with you as we all work to realize a world free from HIV.

For more information, see there website at: http://

Hope you have a safe and great Tuesday!

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

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab