Friday, May 29, 2009

National AIDS Strategy and

The Denver Principles

AIDS Inc put on a damn excellent show last night at the Friends Meeting House on 9th Street in San Francisco. It was a meeting for absolutely any person wishing to attend, including even me. ;-)

My expectations were low. Probably every staffer from the DPH and service orgs, all desperate to keep the funds flowing to their institution, would be there, and few people with AIDS consumers. Oops, I was wrong. The place was over-flowing with people of all sorts.

Sure, the usual AIDS Inc suspects, service org staffers who rarely attend Ryan White or HIV Prevention council meetings, were all there, but so were many PWAs, and we're talking PWAs of means, and lots of us on the lower economic scales.

Why was everyone there? For a round-table public discussion about the National AIDS Strategy, which basically calls for practical funding of AIDS programs and leadership from the White House and Health and Human Services.

So great to see active engagement of the local gay and AIDS communities, where every voice was being heard, with an incredibly politically and racially diverse range of people sitting around tables, mapping out strategies.

My time there was mostly spent bending the ear of Judy Auerbach, director of science and public policy at the SF AIDS Foundation, about my prevention agenda. Spoke with her and two PWAs about the modernization of the Denver Principles, which were developed in 1983 and demand full engagement of PWAs at every level of decision-making.

Similar meetings are taking place around the country, according to Auerbach, who explained how the findings of the community meetings will be funneled to the new AIDS chief at the White House, Dr. Jeff Crowley.

Many in that room are on board for making the Denver Principles the guiding light of local and federal AIDS matters, as we present a comprehensive HIV agenda to the president and Congress.

Here are some pics from the open forum last night:

At this table, the discussion was on prevention funding and effectiveness.

Attendees finishing up their discussion group notes, for presentation back to the entire group.

My friend Carlos smiling for me.

One of the posters defining the agenda for overall discussion.

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