SOURCE: National Association of People with AIDS

National Association of People with AIDS

April 19, 2012 08:00 ET

NAPWA, TAEP to Urge Congress to Implement Healthcare Reform, End Federal Bans Targeting HIV-Positive Americans at AIDSWatch 2012

Oldest Constituent-Based HIV/AIDS Advocacy Event in the Nation to Call on Congress to Invest in Critical Health Programs, Choose Science Over Politics, and Ensure Affordable Care Act Becomes Law

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Apr 19, 2012) - Today the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) and the Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP) announces AIDSWatch 2012, the largest constituent-based federal HIV/AIDS advocacy and education event of the year, which will take place on April 23-24 in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) -- as well as their families, friends, care providers, and other supporters -- will convene at the nation's capital to share their stories about living with HIV/AIDS and educate Senators and Representatives on the most relevant issues facing PLWHA in the United States. AIDSWatch began in 1992 when NAPWA launched the event as a grassroots effort to address the federal government's response to HIV/AIDS.

"This is an extraordinary time of unprecedented opportunity to increase access to care, prevent transmission of HIV and help end AIDS in America. We've reached a time when putting this epidemic behind us is nearly within reach," said Frank Oldham, Jr., President and CEO of NAPWA. "Today, we come together to call on both sides of the aisle in Congress to help us reach that goal by providing adequate funding for prevention, care, services, and research and by adopting sound, science-based policies to move us forward in the fight against HIV."

During AIDSWatch, supporters will advance major HIV/AIDS policy initiatives for 2012 that include:

  • Building support on Capitol Hill to adequately fund HIV/AIDS programs including the Ryan White Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), CDC HIV prevention, Minority AIDS Initiative, and NIH research;

  • Urging Representatives and Senators to repeal criminal laws targeting PLWHA, end the ban on federal funding of syringe exchange as well as fund comprehensive, evidence-based sex education; and

  • Educating members of Congress on the importance of fully implementing the Affordable Care Act and protecting Medicaid.

"Federal health reform has the potential to significantly improve access to life-saving care and treatment for people living with HIV, but it is under attack," said Robert Greenwald, Director of TAEP. "We need Congress to maintain funding for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, to protect Medicaid, and to preserve the Prevention and Public Health Fund."

Below is a schedule of AIDSWatch events that the public is invited to attend:

AIDSWatch Training
Learn to effectively discuss issues of importance to the HIV/AIDS community with your Representatives and Senators
The Charles Sumner School
Monday, April 23, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

AIDSWatch Congressional Visits
Meet your Representative and Senators
Capitol Hill
Monday, April 23, 1 - 5 p.m. and Tuesday, April 24, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

AIDSWatch Positive Leadership Award Reception
Honor those who made major contributions to improving the lives of People Living with HIV/AIDS
Rayburn House Office Building, B-339
Monday, April 23, 5:30 - 8 p.m.

AIDSWatch Congressional Briefing
Attend an overview of three major policy initiatives for this year's AIDSWatch
(Press, elected officials, and Congressional staff are also invited to attend)
Capitol Visitor Center, Congressional Meeting Room South
Tuesday, April 24, noon - 2 p.m.

Founded in 1983, NAPWA is the largest and oldest advocacy organization for PLWHA, and the most trusted voice in the HIV/AIDS community that advocates for the lives and dignity of all people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, especially the more than 1.2 million Americans who live with it today. To learn more, visit www.napwa.org.

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