Six things you need to know for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

From thebody.com

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed every year on February 7, is a good time to remind the general public of the racial disparities in HIV infection that persist in the United States. Year after year, African-Americans continue to shoulder the heaviest burden of HIV.

Greg Millett (Credit: amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

Greg Millett (Credit: amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

“If you don’t have access to healthcare and you’re HIV-positive, you’re less likely to be on medication or virally suppressed, and therefore more likely to transmit HIV,” said amfAR vice president and director of public policy Greg Millett. “We also have to do a better job of reducing HIV stigma because it keeps people from being tested for HIV, and it keeps people who are HIV-positive from seeking care because they’re afraid they’ll be discriminated against. And that is what continues to fuel the epidemic.”

According to Millett, to effectively address the racial disparities in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S., we need to continue raising awareness about how HIV disproportionately affects the black community, urge our policymakers to prioritize HIV prevention and treatment resources to the hardest hit communities, such as black gay men, and improve care for HIV-positive black women and injecting drug users.

Discrimination, stigma, poverty, and lack of access to healthcare contribute to the disproportionate burden of HIV among black Americans. This is most notably the case in regions with large black populations like the American South where approximately half of the nation’s new HIV infections occur, with black Americans accounting for nearly 80 percent of them. In general, African-Americans are less likely than whites to have private health insurance.

Read the full article.

30th anniversary celebration of PATF honors Dr. Tony Silvestre

Hundreds gathered at the WQED studios in Oakland on Thursday, April 14th at a fundraiser to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. The evening’s honoree, Dr. Anthony Silvestre received the prestigious Kerry Stoner Award in recognition of his extraordinary efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Tony Silvestre, PhD - Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Tony Silvestre, PhD – Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. Silvestre became an integral part of the Pitt Men’s Study—a groundbreaking research project at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health—in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Silvestre, known for his experience in community organization, recruited 4,000 participants from the greater Pittsburgh area—the vast majority of whom would spend the next 33 years donating blood and answering in-depth sexual health questions as a means to understand and therefore combat the disease. The Pitt Men’s Study played a key role in research that not only helped determine how the virus was spread, but also the effectiveness of modern anti-viral medications (also known as HAART).

In addition to the Kerry Stoner Award, Silvestre also received a citation honoring his achievements in combating HIV/AIDS statewide from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“People don’t realize that this disease is still tragically affecting many—with young black gay kids at a rate as high as in some developing nations. Those who are marginalized by race, age and sexual orientation are not on anyone’s agenda and, as a result, are often left out of the health care system,” Silvestre commented at the event. “That’s why we need organizations like PATF and the Pitt Men’s Study.”

For most of his adult life, Silvestre was central to the LGBTQ community in Southwestern Pennsylvania, lending his skills and experience to effect positive change for marginalized communities. In addition to his efforts with the Pitt Men’s Study, he worked to establish a Center for LGBT Health Research within the Graduate School of Public Health and is currently the co-director of the HIV Prevention and Care Project—an organization also within the University that provides technical assistance to the Pennsylvania Department of Health in creating a state-wide response to the AIDS epidemic.

The Kerry Stoner Award is presented annually to honor a person who has, through a longtime dedication to Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force’s mission, shown commitment to Kerry Stoner’s legacy and vision. Stoner, a tireless HIV/AIDS activist who died of complications from AIDS in 1993, was a founder and the first Executive Director of the PATF.

The PATF 30the anniversary event raised over $100,000 in support of people living with HIV/AIDS and in support of the PATF HIV prevention programs.

 

Save the date: PATF 30th Annual Benefit will be held on April 14

The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force will host their 30th Annual Benefit at WQED’s Studios on Fifth on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

PATF BenefitThe 30th Annual Benefit is a festive and fun evening that will feature nationally renowned DJ Jeffrey Sfire. Exquisite food and beverages will be provided by Common Plea Catering. The VIP reception begins at 6 p.m. and general admission will begin at 7:30 p.m.

As a part of this event, PATF will present the Kerry Stoner Award — named after PATF’s founder — in recognition of extraordinary service to the community related to HIV care and prevention. This year, we are proud to present this award to our own Dr. Anthony Silvestre, HIV activist and Principle investigator of the Pitt Men’s Study, in honor of his long-time outstanding support of PATF and people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

 Tickets are on sale now!

Contact Patrick Buehler, Development Associate, for more information: pbuehler@patf.org / 412-345-0593.

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

National Latino AIDS Awarness DayOctober 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Coordinated by the Latino Commission on AIDS, this day encourages Latino  communities to take action against HIV. This year’s theme,You and I Will Defeat AIDS (Tu y Yo Vamos a Derrotar al SIDA), is a call to action to work together to end the spread of HIV. It asks each of us to learn and share the facts about HIV, get tested, and stay in medical care if we are living with HIV.

And for good reason.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of a recent study that confirms Latinos are diagnosed with HIV at a rate three times that of whites.

The report was featured in a recent issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Based on data from 2008 to 2013 on HIV diagnoses in the U.S. (and six “U.S. dependent areas” including Puerto Rico), the CDC concluded that although HIV infection rates went down for adult and adolescent Latinos overall, they increased three percent among Latino males who have sex with men. The rate of diagnosis—18.7 per 100,000—was nearly three times that of whites (6.6 per 100,000).

To find out more about National Latino AIDS Awarness Day, go to aids.gov. You can find free HIV testing near  you by searching by zip code at gettested.cdc.gov (Espanol)

Introducing #standOUTpgh

10933879_658281264281364_9173789996442469325_nThe #standOUTpgh campaign is a new media driven initiative to help prevent substance abuse and HIV and STDs as well as fight minority stigma among gay and bisexual youth of color and all that self identify as trans no matter their race or age.
#standOUTpgh seeks to change the conversation around subculture and different expressions by giving young minority gay and bisexual men and trans individuals a digital platform to share their stories of uniqueness and responsibility for the world to see!
We hope to engage all community organizations that care about and serve these individuals to participate in support by spreading the word to those who may wish to participate. By defeating stigma and promoting self worth, we can break down one of the largest barriers to getting tested for HIV and STDs, getting prevention messages, and living healthier and happier lives.
How can you help? Learn about the campaign and its corresponding awareness events at www.standout.hiv and follow our social media pages
and share as the pageant unfolds. That’s it! Find us at:
The #standOUTpgh campaign will culminate in 6 events held in celebration of uniqueness and responsibility built around relevant national awareness days. These events will feature HIV/STD testing and prevention counseling. Information on these events will be broadcast via social media and standout.hiv. They are as follows:
  • World AIDS Day: Dec 1, 2014.
  • National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Feb 7, 2015.
  • National Youth Violence Prevention Week: March 18-22.
  • National Youth HIV Awareness Day: April 10, 2015.
  • National Prevention Week: May 12-18, 2015.
  • National HIV Testing Day: June 15.
We hope you will join us in building a positive movement behind these communities and shining a spotlight on what makes them stand out!

Weekly clinic geared toward LGBTQ clients in Pittsburgh

research pageFrom The Pittsburgh Post Gazette… 

The first weekly Community Clinic for lesbian, gay and transgender people will be held Thursday in downtown Pittsburgh. The clinic, with physician Stacy Lane, is the only one targeting LGBTQIA individuals with no age limits or income requirements. It will be held on the eighth floor at 810 Penn Ave. from 2 to 5:30 p.m. During the clinic hours, the Garden of Peace Project will supply testing for sexually transmitted diseases and Project Silk will provide HIV testing.

Charmaine Turner, founder and director of Step Up 2 Step Out, will host a hip-hop dance class at 4 p.m. The Garden of Peace Project and Project Silk, which are the hosts, invite other providers to host their own dance classes or other health-related group activities such as yoga, meditation and self-esteem workshops.