May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010
Office of National AIDS Policy

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope your weekend is off to a safe and great start. It is a beautiful day in NYC as Dab the AIDS Bear gets ready for the AIDS Walk NYC.

Yesterday, I was on a conference call sponsored by the Office of National AIDS Policy. Jeff Crowley is our current head of ONAP and started the call off with a briefing over what the group has done since our last conference call. There had also been a meeting in Washington, DC earlier in the day with ONAP, PASCHA and local HIV/AIDS activists.

While things seem to be moving along as we try to reach some type of national AIDS policy, I was upset there was no mention of the over 1,000 American men and women who are currently on AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting lists. So when we got to the part of the conference call where participants could make comments, I was one of the first selected to speak. Of course, I started off mentioning thanks for all ONAP's hard work and lead into my horror and concerns about the ADAP waiting lists.

After all, if we are making testing and prevention a mainstay of our fight against HIV for our country; it does not make sense if we do not have the funding to treat people once they are diagnosed. Luckily, three or four other people also brought up the ADAP waiting lists after I finished speaking.

So did all of the talking do any good? I can only wait, hope and pray it did. Currently, I am working on getting members of our House of Representatives to sign on to a letter requesting $146 million in emergency funding for ADAP which will be sent to President Obama. Hopefully, the issue will finally be addressed and we can get rid of the ADAP waiting lists.

Now there were other issues raised during the comment time which were also great and important. I did not know there is not a woman of color with HIV on the PASHA committee. They also need to make sure they address the needs of all the communities affected by HIV and AIDS. Today, that means just about every group you can think of since this is an American problem not just a problem of any one group.

If they could do commercials about the Census which were shown in every city at least three times a day for over a month, why can they not do the same thing to educate people about HIV/AIDS and help erase ignorance and stigma about the virus? Some things seems so logical and simple but so many in Washington, DC do not think about them. Is it because HIV/AIDS is not a good thing to talk about during an election year? Is it not an issue which helps politicians get reelected? Or do they just not care?

Maybe it is time we look at over hauling our way of electing people to lead our country as much as we need to have a national AIDS policy. Maybe we need people in Washington, DC who truly care about the every day American not just about the lobbyists, special interest groups and their donors.

Those are my thoughts. What about yours? Drop me a line and let me know.

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

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab