HIV-Positive Voices in America
I am pleased to announce that "Positive Voices in America", a report of a joint project by the CAEAR Coalition People Living with HIV/AIDS Caucus and the National Association of People with AIDS, was officially released on Monday April 27th 2009 at AIDSWatch 2009 in Washington DC.
The project was a direct result of a request from staff of the Senate HELP Committee who expressed concern that the last reauthorization of Ryan White did not have, in their opinion, a sufficient voice from the grassroots and encouraged us to ensure more grassroots involvement in the future. We took that feedback to heart and we created and executed a project that engaged 1,802 people living with HIV/AIDS from 42 states, DC and Puerto Rico.
The values of the Denver Principles- a manifesto of self empowerment for people living with HIV/AIDS that was created in 1983 by people living with AIDS- guided the development and implementation of this project. The integrity of "HIV Positive Voices in America" hinged on PLWHAs leading the effort, participating in the effort and speaking with a united voice reflecting our own diversity. The leaders of this project believe that PLWHAs are the ultimate stakeholders in the system of care that we use, and are well positioned to provide feedback on the system of care that will provide us with long, healthy lives and the highest possible quality of life.
In the autumn of 2007, when this project was conceived, the goal was to provide the national HIV/AIDS community and Congress with a report that would contribute to Ryan White Reauthorization in 2009. With the likely extension of Ryan White legislation for three years, and looking carefully at the information provided by the project, we concluded that this report is about more than giving feedback about Ryan White legislation. The quantitative and qualitative data contained in this report will be an one of many important tools to use when developing a national AIDS strategy and in the national conversation on healthcare reform.