2017 ADVOCACY 2018-11-30T18:55:39+00:00

ADVOCACY

Tackling the Root Causes of HIV/AIDS

AIDS Action Committee is Massachusetts’ leading voice for the HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C communities, advocating for critical funding and progressive public health policies that address the root causes of HIV/AIDS.

GETTING TO ZERO

We lead the Getting to Zero Coalition, which works to create public health policies and systems that reduce HIV infections and connect those who are infected to care.

On World AIDS Day, 2016, the Getting to Zero Coalition (G2Z), led by AIDS Action Committee and Fenway Health and over 35 supporting organizations from the six health regions of the Commonwealth, released “Massachusetts Comprehensive Plan to Eliminate HIV Discrimination, AIDS Related Deaths, and New HIV Infections”—a blueprint for ending AIDS in Massachusetts. To construct the plan, G2Z drew from the 10 community forums and 10 working group meetings it held in every region of the state.

These meetings with healthcare providers, case managers, peer health navigators, people living with HIV/AIDS, people affected by HIV/AIDS, and members of local communities with high rates of HIV/AIDS provided insight into the ways G2Z could ensure that by 2020, 90 percent of those living with HIV are aware of their status; 90 percent of those diagnosed with HIV are treated with antiretroviral therapy; and 90 percent of those receiving antiretroviral treatment are virally suppressed.

BY 2020

90%

of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.

90%

of those diagnosed with HIV are treated with antiretroviral therapy.

90%

of those receiving antiretroviral treatment are virally suppressed.

LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY

We work directly with key elected officials around issues that are important to people living with HIV/AIDS and on bills related to HIV treatment and prevention, health education in schools, housing and mental health access, LGBT discrimination, and employment and benefits issues that affect self-sufficiency. And we advocate for increased funding of HIV/AIDS and related programs.

In Fiscal Year 2017, AIDS Action Committee submitted public comment and testimony in support of the the following bills:

  • “An Act relative to the healthcare of minors,” which would expand access to medical and dental care for homeless and street-involved youth.

  • “An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors,” which would prohibit conversion therapy.

  • “An Act relative to HIV Screening and Prevention,” which would expand access to prevention services for minors, study ways to expand out-of-network insurance coverage of HIV/STI screening services, and update HIV routine screening and record-sharing laws.

  • “An Act Relative to Healthy Youth,” which would ensure that any health education provided by Massachusetts public schools will be comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate.

  • “An Act to protect access to confidential healthcare,” which would allow patients to choose where and how they receive their Explanation of Benefits forms to more easily keep their medical information private.

AIDS Action Committee also submitted public comment and testimony in opposition of “An Act relative to HLTV 111 tests,” which would compel testing for infectious diseases, including HIV, of any person whose blood has come into contact with another person and release the results of the test or content of the medical records to the petitioner, not the subject of inquiry.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control already recommends that when a person experiences a needle stick or other potential exposure to HIV, that person should begin a post-exposure prophylaxis regimen within 72 hours regardless of HIV status confirmation, because a negative HIV antibody test result may not always be accurate.

BUDGET ADVOCACY

AIDS Action is a key member of Project ABLE (AIDS Budget Legislative Effort), a statewide coalition of AIDS service providers, advocates, and people living with HIV. Since the early 1990s, Project ABLE has raised awareness among lawmakers and fought for state funding for HIV/AIDS by working effectively with several Governors and their respective administrations, the Massachusetts Legislature, and through mobilization of a grassroots network of HIV/AIDS service providers, advocates, and people living with HIV.

At AIDS Action, we advocate for public policy that bolsters prevention and supports people already living with HIV/AIDS. We do this with certain core principles in mind.

  • HIV prevention should be evidence-based, and public policy should only support the research and development of evidence-based approaches.
  • People living with HIV/AIDS should have control over the disclosure of their health status, as HIV stigma and discrimination still persist.
  • Public funding should be used to help treat people living with this disease.

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