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AIDS: Tony Kushner; Advocates of the Year; Obama's budget; ADAP
2012-02-22

This article shared 2672 times since Wed Feb 22, 2012
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Tony Kushner at AIDS Foundation of Chicago event

Renowned, award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, author of Angels in America, will share his insight and perspective on the evolution of an epidemic as the guest of honor at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's annual Spring Dinner — An Angel Among Us: An Evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Tony Kushner — on Tuesday, March 27 at the Hilton Chicago. Never one to shy away from polarizing issues, Kushner is known for his direct, episodic dialogue and long-form plays, which aim to enlighten as well as entertain.

See aidschicago.org/ .

AIDS Legal Council and WCT announce Advocates of the Year

The AIDS Legal Council of Chicago ( ALCC ) and Windy City Times will host the 18th annual Advocates of the Year Awards on Thursday, March 22, to recognize several individuals and organizations working locally to make a difference in the lives of people with HIV. Honorees were chosen last month by a committee of previous award recipients and by representatives from AIDS Legal Council of Chicago and Windy City Times.

"These men and women are on the frontlines of the epidemic and they represent some of the most dedicated and inspiring people in HIV care and advocacy today," said ALCC Executive Director Ann Hilton Fisher. "Some of them have been widely lauded for their efforts in the past, while others work quietly and with little recognition. It's important that we pay tribute to them as a community and acknowledge the profound difference that their work can make."

This year's honorees are State Rep. Greg Harris, Matthildur "Matta" Kelley of Community Outreach Intervention Projects ( COIP ) , Cheryl Potts of Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry, and Test Positive Aware Network ( TPAN ) which is celebrating its 25th year of service. ALCC will also be presenting its own "Friend of the Council Award" to longtime volunteers and donors Ed Jeske and John Hern.

The 2012 Advocates of the Year Awards will be co-presented by ALCC and Windy City Times at the firm of Sidley Austin LLP in downtown Chicago and is being generously supported by leading sponsors Sidley Austin LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. For information, contact Ricardo Cifuentes, director of development for the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago at ( 312 ) 427-8990.

Obama's budget includes HIV/AIDS funding bump

The following is a statement from National Minority AIDS Council ( NMAC ) Director of Legislative and Public Affairs Kali Lindsey:

"Barely two months ago, President Obama outlined a powerful vision for bringing an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in his speech commemorating World AIDS Day. … [ In ] his fiscal year 2013 budget request, the president translated his words into a call for Congressional action. Given our nation's difficult fiscal climate, President Obama's call for increased HIV/AIDS funding demonstrates his steadfast commitment to combating this epidemic and realizing what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called an 'AIDS-free generation.'

"In his budget, the president requested an additional $75 million in funding for Ryan White programs, including $67 million for the struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Program ( ADAP ) , which provides access to critical care and treatment services for individuals with no other avenue for accessing them. President Obama also called for an additional $30 million in HIV/AIDS prevention funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) , and $20 million to support care provided by HIV clinics across the country, while maintaining current funding levels for critical research initiatives at the National Institutes of Health ( NIH ) .

"NMAC is also pleased by the president's call for additional funding for the Indian Health Service ( IHS ) . While his request did not specifically reference HIV/AIDS, expanding IHS infrastructure and capacity is critical if we are to address the epidemic within this community. American Indians and Alaska Natives have the third highest rate of HIV infection of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S. Strengthening this program is essential to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS within native communities.

"While the president's budget reflects a laudable commitment to the struggle against HIV/AIDS, it still fails to prioritize housing as an essential component of prevention and public health. Despite the call for improved targeting of funds through the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS ( HOPWA ) program, the budget includes a $3 million cut to its overall funding. Access to affordable and safe housing is critical for not only preventing new HIV infections, but also improving health outcomes for those living with HIV or AIDS."

Good news for ADAP recipients in Illinois

For 4,200 people in the state, it will soon be easier to get HIV medications through the Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program ( ADAP ) .

Fewer people with HIV will run the risk of losing their access to medicines because of cumbersome application and paperwork requirements, thanks to a series of rule changes advocated by AIDS Legal Council of Chicago and AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( and approved recently by the Illinois Department of Public Health ) . This comes as especially good news to the many who had reported difficulties navigating the online application process and having to repeatedly submit documentation to qualify for help.

Low-income people with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured obtain life-saving HIV medications through ADAP. Although the program has been stressed in recent years due to falling state revenues and an influx of people turning to ADAP for help, preserving regular access to medications is considered key to suppressing the virus in people with HIV and reducing the likelihood of further transmission to uninfected partners.

Among the new rules to be adopted, ADAP will no longer require existing recipients to fill out an entirely new application every six months, opting for a much less burdensome process of "recertification" instead.


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