FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: September 2, 2016
Stronger Together: NC HIV/AIDS Advocacy Conference 2016 Comes to Winston-Salem
HIV advocates and key policymakers to convene during the annual statewide gathering to discuss North Carolina-focused HIV/AIDS policy
Winston-Salem, NC — HIV advocates from across the state will make their way to Winston-Salem State University for Stronger Together: NC HIV/AIDS Advocacy Conference 2016 on Saturday, September 10th, 2016 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The annual conference, hosted by the North Carolina AIDS Action Network and the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, will include plenty of breakout sessions for advocates to learn how to fight for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, people who use drugs, sex workers, and affected communities from grassroots leaders and respected experts.
Prior to the official start of the conference, the NC AIDS Action Network, along with the North Carolina AIDS Training and Education Center (NCATEC), will be hosting PrEPing for 2017: North Carolina Moves Forward, a PrEP-centered pre-conference summit, on Friday, September 9th, 2016, from 11:30 AM – 5:00 PM at The Hawthorne Inn and Conference Center. The summit will cover PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and plans to expand PrEP access throughout the state.
“With North Carolina, along with the rest of the deep South, being in the heart of the current HIV epidemic, our state needs to increase HIV/AIDS prevention efforts state-wide through syringe access, safer sex education in schools, and, through access to PrEP,’ says Amanda Stem, Advocacy Supervisor at the Western North Carolina AIDS Project in Asheville, NC. ‘North Carolina currently has two cities on the list of top 15 cities in the nation with the highest amounts of new HIV infections, which are Greensboro and Charlotte and increasing access to PrEP in our state is a vital tool in reducing transmission rates. PrEP is another tool in the toolkit for prevention but studies show it is highly effective, especially when used with condoms, antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV, and drug use treatment. HIV is not a virus with a one shot cure-all and right now it takes many tools to prevent and treat, but if this proven prevention method is out there, then why aren’t we making it easier to get?”
Advocates are optimistic for the future of people living with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina. This past year, the NC HIV/AIDS community has experienced various legislative victories on the state and federal levels, including the NC General Assembly expanding the AIDS Drug Assistance Program to allow the program to use funds for premium assistance and Congress unanimously passing legislation that would modernize the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) funding formula, which would allocate HOPWA funding based on the number of people currently living with HIV instead of the current cumulative formula.