Monday, March 29th is the Virtual HIV Advocacy Day at the Texas capitol.
The HIV community has a long-rooted history in public advocacy. In truth, all advances in HIV treatment, including funding and medical advances, can be traced to community mobilizing to demand action. One of the first, and best known, HIV advocacy and protests that began in the first decade of HIV is ACT UP. Begun in 1987, ACT UP was created in response to the silence and inaction of the Reagan administration as the HIV epidemic ravaged communities across the country.
Early HIV advocacy, such work to draw attention to the need to develop and release treatments were successful in creating new fast track processes at the FDA. These processes shortened approval processes to allow lifesaving medications to be released without protracted and often bureaucratic processes. Today we can trace the rapid approval of COVID vaccines to the early days of HIV advocacy that resulted in new review and approval processes.
These early advocacy efforts also lead to the creation of the Ryan White CARE Act. First passed in 1990, the Ryan White Care Act is the largest funder of HIV treatment in the United States. In 2020, the Ryan White program provided $2.39 billion to support programs providing care and treatment to people living with HIV.
More recently, the HIV community has led efforts to effectively end the HIV epidemic. Communities across the country have worked to develop plans and lead efforts to stop the continued spread of HIV. Here in Texas, community members have come together to develop the Achieving Together plan to lay a framework and vision for reducing the number of people who contract HIV annually and effectively end the HIV epidemic in our state by 2030.
Progress has been made but has now been heavily impacted by the COVID pandemic which has interrupted prevention programs, created barriers for HIV treatment programs, and has stretched local and state public health systems. The COVID pandemic has threatened the safety net programs across the state, most notably the Texas HIV Medication Program. Advocates from across the state have mobilized to address these challenges locally and at the state.
The 2021 Texas HIV Advocacy Day is organized by multiple agencies and organizations to draw together community to ensure that the voices of people living with and affected by HIV are heard. Advocates from across the state will gather on Monday, March 29th to meet with HIV change-makers and state policy makers to discuss some of the most important HIV legislation of the 2021 Texas legislative session, including HIV treatment and prevention, HIV education, HIV criminalization, and funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).
To learn more about the 2021 Texas HIV Advocacy Day and to get involved visit and register at: