SOURCE: National Association of People with AIDS

National Association of People with AIDS

April 06, 2012 09:40 ET

NAPWA's "Healthy Living Summit," Largest National Conference by and for People Living With HIV, to Convene in Dallas April 10 - 13

National Gathering of the HIV-Positive Community Raises Awareness of Exploding HIV Rates in Six Southern States

WASHINGTON, DC and DALLAS, TX--(Marketwire - Apr 6, 2012) - The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) today announced that it will host the first annual National Healthy Living Summit (known for 10 previous conferences as "Staying Alive"), April 10 - 13 in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. The conference serves to empower those living with HIV to become better advocates, not only for their own health but also for that of the entire community.

The National Healthy Living Summit (NHLS) furthers the work of the "Staying Alive" conferences by shifting the focus from surviving with HIV to living complete, productive, fulfilling lives.

"HIV rates are exploding in the Southern United States," said Frank Oldham, Jr., NAPWA President and CEO. "As the largest and oldest patient advocacy group for PLWHA, NAPWA is proud to have the opportunity to bring the National Healthy Living Summit to the heart of the South to educate about the steps that can be taken to reduce transmission of the virus and promote healthier living with HIV."

NHLS is the only national conference presented exclusively by and specifically for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). NHLS serves as an opportunity for 300 PLWHA to network with one another, connect, and mobilize, with specific Institutes offered especially for Positive Youth, Positive Women and Positive Men. The summit also enables PLWHA to participate in hot topic workshops where attendees will learn about prevention strategies ("Prevention with Positives") and access the latest breakthroughs on the frontlines of scientific research.

"The Southern U.S. is a 'perfect storm' for HIV," Mr. Oldham said. "Poverty, abusive childhoods, mental health issues, drug use, sex work, living on the street and poor access to health care -- all are high risk factors that increase the risk of becoming HIV-positive. And when combined with more rural living in areas where HIV remains largely stigmatized, it's a recipe for an epidemic."

The National Healthy Living Summit will help promote interventions for the HIV epidemic, with a unique lineup of speakers, including leading medical experts who will share the latest on Treatment as Prevention, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Hepatitis and HIV Co-Infection, and more. Through interactive forums and valuable social networking opportunities, the summit will bring the PLWHA community together as participants share their experiences, learn how to more effectively enhance access to and retention of HIV care, overcome stigma, and stay informed.

Guest speakers include:

  • Cornelius Baker - Senior Communications Advisor and Project Manager at the Center on AIDS and Community Health;
  • Rashad Burgess - Chief Capacity Building Branch Division of HIV/AIDS National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention CDC;
  • Dr. Kevin Fenton - Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • David W. Knight - Attorney, Civil Rights Division (Disability), US Department of Justice;
  • Pernessa Seele - Immunologist and the CEO and founder of Balm in Gilead, Inc.;
  • David Vos - Director, HUD's Office of HIV/AIDS Housing; and
  • David Waggoner - Publisher, A&U Magazine.

The summit will also feature magician and motivational speaker Daniel Bauer, who will preview his new off-Broadway show Beyond Belief, which combines spectacular magic with his moving story as an HIV-positive performer.

Additionally, NAPWA will spotlight the tremendous contributions of supporters and advocates with the Positive Leadership Award, the organization's highest honor that recognizes leaders from across the nation who are involved in government, service delivery, and community work in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Recipients of NAPWA's 2012 Positive Leadership Award at NHLS include:

  • Michelle Anderson - 2011 Ms. Plus America, and Co-Chair of Campaign to End AIDS Texas, The Afiya Center Peer Educator, Public Speaker and board member for AIDS services of Dallas, and treasurer at ADAP Advocacy Association;
  • Anne Freeman - Director at Dallas PTC Behavioral Intervention Training Center;
  • Marsha Jones - Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Afiya Center HIV Prevention & Sexual Reproductive Justice; Also founded Sister's Strategically Mobilized Around Reproductive Justice Together (Ssmart), and Another Chance Ministries;
  • Marc Meachem - U.S., Director External Affairs ViiV Healthcare; and
  • Greg Beets - Public Information Coordinator Health Communication and Community Engagement Group, TB/HIV/STD Unit Department of State Health Services.

Members of the media who plan to attend NHLS must RSVP to Paul DeMiglio, Special Assistant to the President and CEO of NAPWA, at by no later than COB Monday, April 9.

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 the 1.2 million Americans who live with it today. To learn more, visit

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