Rhode Island HIV and STI Prevention Coalition
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Event details: http://bit.ly/RIWAD2017
Contact: Rachel Morse, JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc.; p: 401-824-2126,
For: IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rhode Island HIV and STI Prevention Coalition Commemorates World AIDS Day 2017 at the Rhode Island Foundation
December 1, 2017 marks the 30th World AIDS Day, an annual commemoration of the HIV pandemic. The World Health Organization designated the first World AIDS Day on December 1, 1988, at a time when rates of HIV transmission were rapidly increasing, one antiretroviral drug had been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat HIV, and community advocacy and activism defined much of the social and political response to HIV.
In observance of World AIDS Day 2017 alongside communities around the globe, the Rhode Island HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Prevention Coalition will host a community World AIDS Day event on Friday, December 1 at the RI Foundation from 12:00-2:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.
The event will feature a keynote address by Tatiana Jones, Trans Outreach Worker at Project Weber/RENEW. Following the keynote address, a panel of speakers representing diverse facets of HIV prevention and treatment efforts in Rhode Island will provide their brief perspectives on World AIDS Day, followed by an opportunity for audience questions. The panel includes a youth representative from the SOLACE program at AIDS Care Ocean State, Jonathan Goyer (Manager of Mobile Outreach Recovery Efforts, Anchor Recovery Community Center), Stephen Hourahan (Executive Director, AIDS Project Rhode Island), Dr. Beata Nelken (Pediatrician, Blackstone Valley Community Health Care), and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott (Director, RI Department of Health). The speaking program will take place from 12:00-1:30 PM, followed by networking and light refreshments until 2:00 PM.
The annual number of new HIV diagnoses in Rhode Island decreased by 44% from 2006 to 2016, according to RI Department of Health estimates. However, disparities persist in Rhode Island and across the United States. Groups disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic including gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender women, and communities of color.
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, delivered a strong message about disparities in the global HIV pandemic for World AIDS Day 2017: “All people, regardless of their age, gender, where they live or who they love [have] the right to health. No matter what their health needs are everyone requires health solutions that are available and accessible, free from discrimination and of good quality.”
Rhode Island organizations promote the right to health at every level of the HIV care continuum, including: testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs); pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill to prevent HIV; partner notification services; and wrap-around services to promote linkage to and retention in HIV care.
Disparities in the HIV epidemic provide important context for World AIDS Day 2017 in Rhode Island, as well as a clear call to action. “To successfully address the HIV epidemic in Rhode Island, we need to work to ensure access to healthcare for all, and especially for groups that are disproportionately impacted by HIV, including gay and bisexual men,” said Dr. Philip Chan, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Miriam Hospital/Brown University and founding medical director of the RI Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic and PrEP Program. On World AIDS Day 2017, the RI HIV and STI Prevention Coalition will highlight the voices of individuals advocating for these efforts in their communities.
Also participating in this event is AIDS Quilt RI, caring for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Rhode Island and Southeastern New England. AIDS Quilt RI has been active since 1992, beginning as a chapter of The NAMES Project, and continuing as an independent nonprofit organization since 2002. More information is available at www.aidsquiltri.org.
The RI Foundation is located at 1 Union Station, Providence, RI 02903. Free event parking is available in the parking garage at 5 Memorial Boulevard.
Christion S. Battey
AIDS Project Rhode Island (APRI)
Division of Family Service of Rhode Island (FSRI)
Program Coordinator, HIV Testing & Prevention
Mailing Address: PO Box 6688 Providence, RI 02940
Office Location: 9 Pleasant Street Providence, RI