NEWS

In This Issue

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We're happy to launch the 2016 Black AIDS Weekly in connection with Black History Month and to kick off National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. During our hiatus we have been very busy, including designing a new masthead for the Black AIDS Weekly and starting a redesign on BlackAIDS.org. We look forward to finding out what you think of the new masthead and will keep you informed as the work on the website unfolds.

Much is going on at the Black AIDS Institute, in BTAN chapters and across the entire AIDS community this month. On Friday, February 5th BTAN Broward County will host the next stop on the Black PrEP Summit. Based on the feedback we've gotten thus far; the Black PrEP Summits have been hugely successful. We are building a national network of informed advocates and treatment educators motivated to make sure Black communities have the information and access they need to use all the tools in the prevention tool box to reduce new HIV infections in our communities. In addition to Broward County, there are PrEP summits slated in Richmond, Va. (Tuesday, February 23rd), Columbia, S.C. (Wednesday, February 25th), and Charlotte, N.C. (Monday, February 29th), during the February. The PrEP Summits are an opportunity for people to get the latest information about what PrEP is and how it works as well as resources to access PrEP, including how to get it paid for. See this week's Events listing to learn more information about the Summit near you.

In 2016, the Black AIDS Institute is going to focus even more intensely on issues that impact the lives of Black people living with HIV and at risk of HIV infection. For that reason, we are carrying forward from the end of 2015 our Black Lives Matter branding. To launch that effort, BTAN Chicago is joining a coalition of organizations in the Windy City sponsoring a Black Lives Matter research and policy program on Monday, February 8th. For more information on how to register, see Events.

Open enrollment for 2016 is now closed. If you didn't enroll in a health insurance plan for 2016 you can't enroll until 2017, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You qualify for Special Enrollment for 60 days after certain life events following a change in family status; for example, after a marriage or birth of a child or loss of other health coverage.

Finally, the 2016 Presidential election has officially started with the Iowa Caucus. The three leading Republican candidates and the two leading Democratic candidates all have different visions for our country and different histories with HIV/AIDS. The road from Iowa to the White house is a long one. The next President of the United States will decide whether we actually end the HIV/AIDS epidemic or not. We need to make sure HIV/AIDS is included in all of their platforms.

In this issue, new research from the University of California, San Francisco, shows that opt-out testing could significantly increase the number of people who agree to be HIV tested. A 50-state survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that states are making it easier for consumers to sign up for Medicaid, including taking applications by phone rather than requiring them to sign up in person.

When President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, he spoke of the nation being on track to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Richard Wolitski, Ph.D., acting director of the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, reminds us of the progress we have made over the past decade, as well as what the National HIV/AIDS Strategy reminds us remains to be done.

We have long known that racial bias is prevalent in medicine; however, we are now learning that bias can be reflected in doctors' body language. A new study shows that such bias may cause Black patients and their families to believe that the doctor does not have their best interests in mind and, as a result, to pursue aggressive life-saving measures for terminally ill patients. Finally, a new survey of American mayors found that they overwhelmingly support policing reform, however harbor some doubts about how effectively the proposed measures can be implemented. We will continue to stay atop this matter.

Yours in the struggle,

Phill