Saturday, October 01, 2011

White House's Seattle HIV Panel
Lacks a Person Living With AIDS

(President Barack Obama conferring with Jeff Crowley. White House courtesy photo.)

Earlier this week I blogged about an HIV forum in San Francisco organized by the Road to AIDS 2012, and the fact that not a single person with AIDS was among the eight panelists. I called upon the organizers and the National Association of People With AIDS to address this glaring omission from the San Francisco town hall, and to include a PWA on the panel.

Now comes news from the White House Office of Communications about the latest AIDS in a series of town halls they are holding around the country, this time up in Seattle and unfortunately not one person living with HIV is among the speakers.

This is outrageous in and of itself, but doubly so when considering the topic: Building Capacity within the HIV Workforce So It Delivers What We Need Today and Tomorrow. Um, is it asking too much of the Obama administration to include an actual PWA to speak about what "we" need regarding workers who deliver services to poz people?

If NAPWA is aware of this omission and explicit lack of commitment to the Denver Principles, I'd like to know what they're doing about it and if NAPWA is not aware the omission then they're even more guilty of not genuinely looking out for the interests of PWAs than I previously thought.

By the way, Jeff Crowley, the part-time White House HIV/AIDS coordinator, once served as deputy director of NAPWA, so he should know better than to exclude PWAs from the Seattle panel and all the other forums he is holding around the country. Shame on the Obama White House for ignoring the Denver Principles.

If AIDS Inc can't be bothered to put HIV poz people on the panels of important forums in cities such as San Francisco and Seattle, something is incredibly screwed up on the part of the organizers and needs to be discussed at the White House, public health agencies and service providers.

People with AIDS. We're not all dead yet. Include us at every level of decisionmaking and on all public panels. It's the right thing to do.

Excerpts from yesterday's announcement:

The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) announced today that the second HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation Dialogue will be held on Tuesday, October 4 in Seattle, Washington. The “Implementation Dialogue” meetings are aimed at focusing attention on critical HIV/AIDS issues and encouraging action and collaboration at the state and local levels. ...

“The success of the strategy depends on the actions not only taken by the Federal government, but also at state and local levels,” said Jeffrey S. Crowley, Director, White House Office of National AIDS Policy. “We are seeking to facilitate a dialogue with our partners across the country to learn from successes and to discuss potential solutions as states and communities implement the strategy.” ...

The Seattle meeting will discuss ways to ensure that a sufficient, qualified workforce is available to provide optimal care for people living with HIV and to prevent infection among HIV negative individuals. ...

WHAT: Seattle HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation Dialogue:

“Building Capacity within the HIV Workforce So It Delivers What We Need Today and Tomorrow”

WHO: Jeffrey S. Crowley, MPH, Director, White House Office of National AIDS Policy

Todd Strumwasser, MD, Vice President Medical Affairs, Swedish Medical Center, First Hill

Kathleen Clanon, MD, FACP, Alameda County Medical Center

Mari Kitahata, MD, MPH, University of Washington Center for AIDS Research

WHEN: Tuesday, October 4, 2011

5:30p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Swedish Medical Center’s First Hill campus, Glaser Auditorium, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA

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