Monday, December 1, 2008

Today is World AIDS Awareness Day-African American's Need More Awareness

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in September released new data confirming what AIDS watchdogs have been saying for years: Black gay and bisexual men and Black women are being devastated by HIV/AIDS. That ugly reality is now indisputable. But what’s just as clear is that resources currently dedicated to changing that reality are woefully inadequate and not targeted at the heart of the problem.

A mobilization to end AIDS in Black communities has exploded in recent years. People from every corner of our community are getting involved—gay and straight, male and female, churches and civil rights groups, business people and celebrities, college students and community organizers. It is now crucial that policymakers at both the federal and local level finally join the fight.

I am writing today to bring awareness to World AIDS awareness day which is today, December 1, 2008. Personally, I have had a half brother transition because of this disease. My community which is East of the River in Washington, DC has the highest incidences of AIDS cases in the entire city as well as the country as a whole. I am personally disgusted and outraged that a largely African American community in a city and region known African Americans to be one of wealthiest in the country is also the worst when it comes to the AIDS epidemic. However, there has to be a willingness to challenge our leadership in Wards 7 & 8 as well as the Mayor of our fair city to really bring awareness, resources and education to our community to end this.

I just discovered The Black AIDS Institute which is a national "think tank" focused on addressing HIV/AIDS among African Americans and those of African descent through policy, advocacy, communications, training, and model program development.

They just created a capacity building program for African American communities to help educate and combat AIDS.

Here is what their website states:

"Aimed at strengthening Black organizational and individual capacity to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their communities, the African American HIV University (AAHU) is the comprehensive training and capacity building fellowship program developed by the Black AIDS Institute. AAHU is composed of two colleges: the AAHU Community Mobilization College, and the AAHU Science and Treatment College. Each college has a distinct curriculum, cohort of fellows, and application process.

AAHU Community Mobilization College
The Black AIDS Institute's AAHU Community Mobilization College (AAHU CMC) utilizes a Community Mobilization Model to enhance the capacity of Black communities to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Through building the knowledge and networks of community leaders around the country and providing a skills-building internship practicum focused on community mobilization, individuals become capable of engaging traditional Black institutions and other stakeholders in local level community activities that will increase access to and utilization of HIV prevention services in their communities. AAHU CMC runs for approximately 11 months.

Engages participants in four comprehensive community mobilization trainings that allow them to learn and review concepts in manageable modules, building upon an ever-increasing knowledge base. These trainings are focused on the four key components of the AAHU Community Mobilization Model:
Track 1: Assessment
Track 2: Planning
Track 3: Implementation and Monitoring & Evaluation
Track 4: Community Mobilization Symposium

Three community mobilization internships immerse participants in an environment where they continuously practice and apply the new skills-based knowledge and expertise gained through the comprehensive trainings. Each internship is approximately 90 days and takes place between training tracks.

AAHU CMC is currently in session.

AAHU Science & Treatment College
AAHU Science and Treatment College (AAHU STC) ensures participants learn complex HIV, leadership and community mobilization information incrementally. There is a concentrated and repetitive tackling of the underlying social, economic and cultural factors that prevent Black people from fully accessing and using HIV services.
AAHU STC takes place over 24 months.

AAHU STC takes a unique and effective method for addressing these complex issues. The program integrates increased and comprehensive HIV knowledge with a variety of community mobilization and leadership development techniques. This enhanced knowledge and skill addresses the barriers that prevent many in the Black community from utilizing HIV services. Two major components of the program are:

Engaging participants in five comprehensive adult-centered trainings that allow them to learn and review in manageable modules, building upon an ever-increasing knowledge base; and

Immersing participants in an environment where they continuously practice and apply new skills based on their knowledge through case simulations, four internships and technical assistance in replicating our model."

I am not sure how this capacity building program is doing or if it is currently being utilized in Washington, DC, but something has to be done.

I am challenging myself as well as other artists to create something in the color red and sell it. Take all proceeds to fund some sort of AIDS awareness campaign or non profit organization dedicated to fighting AIDS in our community. Let me know if you do.

You can start with supporting the following:

African-American Aids Policy and Training Institute dba, Black AIDS Institute
1833 W 8th St
Ste 200
Los Angeles,CA 90057

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing and observing this important day...sjb