Wednesday, October 31, 2007

South in Need

Six short months from now the cable community will again come together for The National Cable Show, this year to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, the first time the NCTA has been held there since Hurricane Katrina devastated whole portions of the city and the region. Yet, there is another killer storm that is ravaging New Orleans and 14 other southern states including Washington D.C. – that killer is HIV/AIDS. Those states now account for 45% of new U.S. HIV cases and 50% of all AIDS related deaths, according to the CDC.

Cited in the POZ Magazine article below and according to the Kaiser Family Foundation “more than 21,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were affected directly by Hurricane Katrina.” Medical coverage – even access to anti-retroviral drugs – became non-existent. Even the local AIDS Service Organization, New Orleans AIDS Task Force, a Tony Cox Community Fund grantee, had to temporarily relocate to Houston Texas. When we convene in New Orleans in May, Cable Positive will organize industry volunteer efforts to work with the New Orleans AIDS Task Force, where devoted workers staffed our exhibition booth at the last NCTA convention held in the city. Now, however, it’s our turn to help even more.

The cable industry has a vast presence throughout the southern region of the U.S. and has the best “educational vaccine” delivery system for messages of HIV/AIDS awareness, in towns and communities from Maryland to Mississippi and Florida to Texas. As the POZ article demonstrates, we have a lot more work to do fighting AIDS in communities across the south and throughout the country.

Nov 2007

The South Shall Rise Again

by Jimmie Briggs

In the two years since POZ last charted AIDS in its new U.S. epicenter—the South—infection rates have continued to rise in the region. In 2005, the South accounted for 41 percent of people with HIV in the nation; today, it’s home to 45 percent of new AIDS cases. The regional epidemic is further complicated by the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina and an unnatural disaster: poor federal AIDS funding.

When POZ last toured the American South, in 2005, the region accounted for 41 percent of all HIV infections in the U.S. Dozens of prevention workers, educators and people living with AIDS in the 16-state region (which includes Washingon DC) told us then that they felt that federal health officials had given up on the area—even though it had emerged as the epicenter of the epidemic in the U.S. “We’ve got to figure out how to level the playing field [in the South], or we’re always going to be struggling,” Kathie Hiers, the head of AIDS Alabama, said at the time. “The status quo is going to kill Southerners.”

Read The Entire Article Here

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