Interview: My Life as a Young, Black, Gay Man Impacted by HIV in the South

By Darion Banister, NASTAD Youth Ambassador

Darion BanisterIn recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) and Black History Month, NASTAD created a blog series to highlight voices within the Black community which often may remain silent, go unheard and are currently bearing the burden of the HIV epidemic: Black gay men/MSM, young Black gay men/MSM, members of the Black transgender community and Black women. We hope this blog series will serve as a springboard for even richer conversations and bring true awareness to National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The previous blog posts in the series can be found below: 

In my experience working with young people there exist a different form of bias called adultism. When I learned about this term it resounded in me because not only have I been guilty of it, but I have also experienced it in my life and continue to hear the stories from NASTAD Youth Ambassadors on this issue. Adultism is the disrespect of the young, consideration of young people being less important to adults, dismissal of youth issues, and exclusion of young people as decision makers. Incorporating youth in all steps of youth programming is key for success. NASTAD Youth Ambassadors serve as leaders in their respective communities who are doing innovative work to improve the well-being of other gay men. In order to serve our youth to help meet their needs, the NASTAD Youth Ambassadors program seeks to facilitate new opportunities for young gay men to partner with health departments. For this blog series, and thinking about overlooked voices, we consulted Darion Banister, a NASTAD Youth Ambassador about his experience living in the Southern region of the United States as a young, Black, gay man.  Continue reading

Why I’m Stepping Down and Passing the Leadership Baton

By Julie Scofield, Executive Director, NASTAD

Julie Scofield, Executive Director, NASTAD

After 22 years leading the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), I have decided that it is time for a change. When I opened our doors in 1993, I was determined to help a dedicated group of state AIDS directors forge a common voice to advocate for an urgent response to the AIDS epidemic across the U.S. At that time, Ryan White programs were in their infancy, effective prevention interventions were lacking or being blocked by political forces, and the numbers of deaths from AIDS were still on the rise with little treatment to offer. Today, it is primarily the lack of political will and adequate funding that prevent us from ending the HIV epidemic here and around the world.   Continue reading

NASTAD Executive Director Julie Scofield Announces Plans to Step Down and Pass the Leadership Baton

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Meico Whitlock
202-434-8090
mwhitlock@NASTAD.org

NASTAD Executive Director Julie Scofield Announces Plans to Step Down and Pass the Leadership Baton

Leading HIV and Hepatitis C Treatment Expert Murray Penner Named New Executive Director

February 19, 2015, Washington, DC – After a remarkable 22 years leading the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), Julie Scofield will step down as executive director in March. Murray Penner, currently deputy executive director, will succeed her starting April 1, 2015. In planning her eventual departure, Ms. Scofield proposed to NASTAD’s Executive Committee in October 2013 that Mr. Penner succeed her as NASTAD’s Executive Director when she stepped down. Following the approval of that succession plan, Ms. Scofield and Mr. Penner have been leading NASTAD collaboratively to ensure his readiness to assume the leadership role. Mr. Penner was the unanimous choice to lead the organization and will become only the second executive director in NASTAD’s 23-year history. Continue reading

Young. Black. Gay. Why I “Speak Out” against HIV and Stigma

By Devin Hursey, NASTAD Youth Ambassador

Devin HurseyIn recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) and Black History Month, NASTAD created a blog series to highlight voices within the Black community which often may remain silent, go unheard and are currently bearing the burden of the HIV epidemic: Black gay men/MSM, young Black gay men/MSM, members of the Black transgender community and Black women. We hope this blog series will serve as a springboard for even richer conversations and bring true awareness to National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The previous blog posts in the series can be found below:

Silence, according to my childhood pastor, was always regarded as golden; resting on the idea that through silence one learns discipline and obedience, true pillars of a good Christian. I remember this message being preached from the pulpit, bellowed by my beloved pastor to the people in the congregation, my community. Continue reading

Open Enrollment 2015: Are You Ready?

By Xavior Robinson, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD

Open Enrollment 2015The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) second open enrollment period is just around the corner. On November 15th, millions of people will have the opportunity to apply for a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) for the first time, renew their existing coverage, select a new plan, or be directed to apply for Medicaid. For state HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis programs, open enrollment presents an opportunity to build upon the more than 25,000 AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) clients that were transitioned to health insurance coverage during the first open enrollment. In the time since the inaugural open enrollment period ended, programs have been preparing for November 15th by partnering with community-based organizations to expand outreach and enrollment capabilities, refining insurance purchasing processes to assist clients with premiums and co-pays, and working with clients to maintain access to insurance coverage. As programs prepare for open enrollment, keep in mind the following priorities and action steps.

Continue reading