About three thousand caregivers, activists and policy makers are gathering in Florida on Sept. 12the to talk about the U.S. fight against HIV and AIDS.
About three thousand caregivers, activists and policy makers are gathering in Florida on Sept. 12th to talk about the U.S. fight against HIV and AIDS.
The AIDS virus was identified more than 25 years ago, but activists say they are getting together because there is still plenty to talk about. Paul Kawata leads the National Minority AIDS Council.
Kawata: Money, money, money. The challenge is that we are at a time when regardless of what issue you are working on, America is broke right now.
Kawata says the Obama administration has mapped out a plan to cut new HIV infections by 25 percent in five years, but he says that plan doesn’t have real funding yet. The conference will also spotlight communities hard hit by HIV.
Kawata: We want to say that AIDS doesn’t discriminate, but the reality is that this disease is disproportionately African American, it’s disproportionately young people, and it’s disproportionately black women.
A new film, The Other City, is being screened at the conference. It documents the lives of Washington D.C. residents living with HIV.
Twenty-nine-year-old J’Mia is a single mom with three kids. She’s facing eviction.
J’Mia: If I’m homeless, I’m not going to be worrying about taking no pills. I’m going to be worrying about getting somewhere for my kids to lay their head, or my kids to get something to eat. If I sleep with him, he’ll give me and my kids somewhere to stay for a week. What you think I’m going to do? Be on the street — or sleep with the man and have somewhere to stay? I’m going to sleep with the man so my kids have somewhere to stay.
One of the newest prevention strategies is to give HIV drugs to high risk people before they contract the virus. Study results aren’t available yet, but researchers say having medicine in the bloodstream at the time someone is exposed could keep HIV from taking hold permanently.