Contact: Circe J. Gray Le Compte, Director of Communications
National Minority AIDS Council, 1931 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Tel: (202) 483-6622 ext. 309; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NMAC to Announce New AIDS Education Initiative to Address Domestic HIV Crisis during
“An Evening Without Politics: A Benefit Reception”
September 25, 2009, Washington, D.C. ~ Elected officials from both sides of the aisle will join corporate leaders, Washington policymakers, and members of the AIDS community forAn Evening Without Politics: A Benefit Reception taking place September 25th, during the 39th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Conference, from 8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., at the Grand Hyatt Washington. All in attendance will hear a clear message: the nation needs to renew its commitment to fighting domestic HIV/AIDS.
“In this tense political climate, it is heartening to see elected officials, community leaders and students come together to address HIV/AIDS,” says Kawata. NMAC sponsored the reception in conjunction with Members of Congress to raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of HIV in African American communities nationwide, andWashington, D.C. in particular, and to support AIDS education initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
NMAC will announce details of its new HBCU HIV/AIDS Peer Education Initiative, designed to ensure that young people get involved on their campuses and help educate one another vis-à-vis an “each one teach one” methodology. Schools currently slated to participate include Virginia Union University, in Richmond, Va.; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; and Bowie State University, Bowie, Md. Julianne Malveaux, President of Bennett College explains: “We need our students to strengthen HIV prevention and education efforts in the communities that they touch and demand that their peers know their HIV status. We are asking our students to help us ensure that their campuses and their communities contribute to reducing the incidence of this preventable disease.”
The need for new approaches to HIV prevention has never been greater. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in August 2008 that HIV incidence rates in the U.S. were 40 percent higher than previously estimated, with over 55,000 new infections occurring from 2003-2006. Nearly half of these occurred in the Black community; communities of color overall accounted for 70 percent of all new infections. Research conducted by the Government of the District of Columbia, Department of Health, Division of HIV/AIDS showed that Washington, which is predominantly African American, has the highest rate of HIV infection in the U.S., with at least 3 percent of all residents living with either HIV or AIDS.
"Our focus on developing new leadership around HIV/AIDS is an extension of our overall dedication to health care reform," says Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ark.). "Through An Evening Without Politics, we hope to educate the public about how supporting even small steps through health care reform, such as the routinization of HIV testing and increased support for HIV/AIDS programming, can save innumerable lives."
“We need a national, comprehensive and coordinated strategy to address HIV/AIDS, a plan that requires the same level of accountability and transparency that we demand of other countries when we give them funding to address HIV/AIDS. As part of that strategy, we must continue to address socio-economic disparities, such as unemployment, lack of insurance, homelessness, poverty and lack of education, that have helped foster the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., particularly in communities of color,” says Kawata.
Members of the Congress Host Committee are slated to attend “An Evening Without Politics,” including over 40 members of the Congress; Rep. James Clyburn; Sen. John McCain; Sen. John Kerry; Sen. Richard Durbin; Sen. Arlen Specter; Sen. Roland W. Burris; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President of Bennett College; and Debra L. Lee, CEO of Black Entertainment Television.
Leaders who have made a difference in addressing HIV/AIDS will be honored as well, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker; Rep. Maxine Waters; Rep. Barbara Lee; Rep. Donna Christensen; Rep. Danny Davis; Rep. Charles Rangel; Rep. Gregory W. Meeks; and India Clark, Howard Universitypeer educator. Rev. Al Sharpton will address the gathering following the awards program.
Proceeds from the reception will support NMAC’s capacity building and technical assistance programs for minority community- and faith-based organizations in Washington, D.C., and the new HBCU HIV/AIDS Peer Education Initiative.
About the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC)
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) has advanced its mission, "to develop leadership within communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS" since 1987 through individualized capacity building assistance; technical assistance trainings; public policy education programs; national and regional conferences; treatment and research education programs; online and printed resource materials; and a website: http://www.nmac.org/. The agency also serves as a membership association for its constituents - AIDS service organizations and minority faith- and community-based organizations delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities of color - and advocates on their behalf in Washington, DC. NMAC's advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only. For more information, please contact NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or email@example.com. You may find us online at http://www.nmac.org/, as well as on Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, MyPhotoAlbum and YouTube.
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