Sunday, December 02, 2012

NAPWA Collapsing?
People With AIDS Need New Group

The utmost thing to remember about the National Association of People With AIDS is that it is a front-group for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Gilead drug company and OraSure HIV testing giant. NAPWA is not a community-based organization and its IRS 990s bear this out, when you look at where their funding comes from

Their 2011 tax return is not on their site, but can be read at and shows that NAPWA received $928,000 in government grants, $448,000 in private contributions and only $47,000 in "membership dues", (see page 9).

The nonprofit is going through another of its well-known fiscal and lack of leadership crises. Let's start at the top of the executive team.

On October 10, NAPWA announced that longtime executive director Frank Oldham would be stepping down on December 31, 2012, to pursue other professional and personal endeavors. As of mid November he left and is no longer listed on the staff directory. NAPWA has not said a thing, about his early departure.

I've also heard disturbing news from a reliable source showing the nonprofit could be collapsing.

Other troubles potentially include a criminal investigation by the Maryland Attorney General's office (NAPWA is headquartered in Silver Spring, MD), because of fiscal irregularities such as Oldham using NAPWAs credit card to pay his personal rent, the books are a mess and two sets were kept, the CDC is aware of the investigation and remains mum about it. Debt is pegged at $500,000.

 A number of board members have stepped down, current board president Tyler TerMeer (who has extensive experience operating a second-hand store) is said to want the ED job, locks have been changed. Really sad situation, but not a surprise considering how useless, untransparent and unaccountable they've been.

By the way, NAPWA was never known for advancing causes like people with AIDS in top jobs at AIDS service organizations or on the boards, controlling excessive ED salaries, or engaging the infected-community about a national agenda.

What NAPWA was good at was raking in federal and private grants to push HIV negatives to get tested, and during its annual AIDS Watch lobbying effort in Washington exclusively pushing for more funds to nonprofits. I've never understood nor accepted that an organization ostensibly established for folks who already know their status or have full-blown AIDS should be overwhelmingly dedicated to the testing needs of negatives.

Pushing for tighter anti-discrimination laws, battling the growing problem of criminalizing people with HIV and AIDS, or creating programs addressing the debilitating effects of stigma among PWAs?

Please, NAPWA's staff and board members were too busy attending government and corporate junkets to bother with those items.

I'd like to see NAPWA close up and stop taking up room and oxygen as _the _ national voice of PWAs, and a new genuine community-based organization truly committed to the needs of PWAs formed to replace it.

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