‪#‎SpkUp4PrEP‬

What do you know about PrEP? Step up and speak out and you might just receive $100. In a 15-second video, give us your: name, occupation and why you support PrEP.

If chosen, your video could be featured on our various social platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo)! All videos must be sent to info@naesm.org.

Have fun and be creative with it! ‪#‎SpkUp4PrEP‬

The Life of A Social Media Fellow of USCA15

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAK2AAAAJDM2OGFlNGJlLTM0NDAtNGRhNy04ODM4LTBkYzMyOTI3MTAxNwLast week, I was able to attend my first United States Conference on AIDS in Washington, D.C as a Social Media Fellow. Aside from waking up early in the morning, it was a great learning experience. I began to realize even more that social media is a powerful tool when it comes to disseminating a message. So many voices, such as my own or an organization’s, can be heard and shared almost instantly.

Each morning, I was surrounded by bloggers, poets, ambassadors, journalists, and directors. The fellowship was spearheaded by Phil Wilson of The Black AIDS Institute who did an excellent job! One of the awesome moments that happened, was that some of the Fellows stayed after Friday or Saturday morning and had conversations on…well…everything. The conversations ranged from gender roles in a relationship and different terms that a lesbian or a gay male might use to describe their sexual position, to sexual health and misconceptions. We streamed the conversation live so others were able to view and comment and even chime in with video from their location. See, how awesome is that?

We talked about a variety of ways to create and inspire new and innovative ways to use social media and how to impact those that have any relations to HIV/AIDS. Some sessions included: Using Social Media at #USCA2015, 5 Tips for Getting Started On Instagram, Making The Most of Twitter, and Positive Spin Roundtable (Using the power of digital storytelling to raise awareness of the stages of the HIV care continuum). All of the Social Media Fellows (including myself) were broken up into different groups. Each day individuals in the groups reported back from a session they attended the day before and what was taken from that seminar/workshop. The importance of this, in my opinion, was to make sure that we are getting the most out of USCA and it seemed as if a lot of us did.

Aside from the Social Media Fellows Program, I had a chance to network with other advocates, researchers, doctors, and executive directors from all across the country. The crazy thing about this experience was that I felt comfortable. Usually when I am at conference I am pretty nervous and let that side get the best of me. I engaged with individuals in line waiting for my vanilla latte at Starbucks (sounds silly but the line was really long), after sessions, and I stayed in for extra conversation with other bright minds.

Overall, I left USCA 2015 feeling very motivated and confident in my ability, as a Communications Coordinator, to take things to the next level.

Ronnie McCrea

USCA 2015: Enlightening

xaeIf I had to describe USCA 2015 (#USCA2015) in one word, it would be enlightening! The conference presented an array of subject matter experts to yield knowledge and insight on means of mobilizing communities to remain engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I was able to engage in conversation with the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) and had the pleasure of meeting Atlanta’s own Vanessa Sharp. Ms. Sharp’s expertise poured into the atmosphere as she offered gentle words of encouragement and expressed her support in advocating against social injustice while building the next generation of advocates.

We were able to hear words from amazing individuals, like Valerie Spencer who spoke out in regards to the importance of transgender rights (#blacktranslivesmatter). She expressed the NEED for cultural competency and proper pronoun placement, the importance of recognizing the skills and gifts of transgender people and the need to employ these individuals and allow them a safe space to grow and build upon those skills. “We are not gay men” was the rally slogan Ms. Spencer used to elucidate that transgender women suffer from their own complexities and require specialized research and approaches and should not be placed in the box of “men who sleep with men”.

One of the most impactful messages came from Bryan Stevenson, the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama. Mr. Stevenson graced the audience with compelling dialogue. His empathy genuinely was seen as he equipped us with the tools needed to combat social inequities. He made four suggestions to keep us encouraged in our fight towards justice; Be Proximate, change the narrative, stay hopeful, and do something uncomfortable. He informed us, “We’re programed to do what’s comfortable. If we want to end the HIV epidemic, or change the world or create more justice, we sometimes have to do uncomfortable things. Sometimes choose to do an uncomfortable thing because it’s the necessary thing.” As a result, I am equipped to get “uncomfortable” and do what it takes to make an impact in reducing the number of people contracting the virus, as well as identifying those who have and encourage them to engage in care and speak out against stigma and discrimination. The change begins with us.

 

Marxavian Jones

Spotlight on Marxavian Jones!

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NAESM INC’s very own MSM Engagement Coordinator, Marxavian Jones was presented with the opportunity to attend the African American HIV University presented at University of California Los Angeles. Here is a blog of his experience thus far.

August 24, 2015

The Black AIDS Institute has presented me with the opportunity to attend the African American HIV University presented at University of California Los Angeles. Thus far, this experience has been quite compelling. I have been presented with an array of information and have engaged in conversations around the complexities that plague the African American society.

Many of the lectures have presented intricate details illustrating the complexities of the HIV life cycle and the fundamental understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological science of HIV. We have reviewed statistics, both nationally and internationally, to solidify the grim fact that HIV is still running rampant, primarily in black communities. Even though we have made tremendous strides in the advancements of HIV technology and are progressively moving towards innovative means of prevention and even a cure, it is evident that there is still a great amount of work that must take place to counteract this epidemic.

In the biomedical world, there have been technological advancements in the fight against HIV. It is proven that Treatment as Prevention (TasP), Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PreP), and male circumcision are the fore-runners for reducing the likelihood of transmission, within the MSM population specifically. Even though these tools are powerful weapons against HIV, it is still recommended that consistent and correct condom usage be promoted. The realization is, some people prefer condoms, and some don’t. Those who are conditioned to condom usage should continue to utilize them. Those who do not consistently use condoms still deserve to have a menu of options to help keep them infection-free.  Scrutinizing people for their preferences causes stigma, which is one of the leading reasons why people aren’t comfortable to talk freely about sex and HIV. Change starts with the conversation.

There are many contributing conditions, or syndemics, that increase the likelihood of someone encountering HIV. Complexities such as poverty, lack of education, discrimination, partner-abuse, and mental health all play a role in an individual contracting the virus. We need to begin the conversations to address such concerns and be willing to help our brothers and sisters in need.  Instead of turning our backs on the realities taking place right in our own backyards we as black men and women need to pull together and present our own answers to our problems.  We must advocate for equal opportunities, stand against discrimination, combat poverty, end stigma, re-instill the importance of education, and prove why black lives matter! If we fail to bind together as a community to combat the social injustices and inequalities that plague us, the fight against the spread of HIV is definitely going to be an uphill battle.

Marxavian Jones

 

Marxavian, we are proud of you and keep on learning! We can’t wait to hear more on your experience!

For more information on AAHU (African American HIV University presented at University of California Los Angeles), click the link below!

https://www.blackaids.org/programs/african-american-hiv-university

Civil Rights Leader, Julian Bond, Passes away at 75.

Here at NAESM INC, we would like to send our deepest condolences to the family members of the powerful civil rights activist, Julian Bond. While attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Mr. Bond served as one of the first leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as the communications director for five years. After his time at Morehouse College, Bond continued on to become the chairman of the NAACP, a college professor, a writer and a member of the Georgia State House of Representatives. Julian Bond has greatly influenced numerous communities across the nation as the ongoing battle for equality and justice continues. In a statement Sunday, President Obama expressed, “Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life, and Julian Bond helped change this country for the better. And what better way to be remembered than that.” May Julian Bond’s success continue to live through us all!

PrEP: The Power to Protect our Future

Three years ago today, on July 16, 2012, the FDA approved a small drug with huge potential, Truvada, for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) as a tool to combat the rising incidence of new HIV cases. PrEP, taken daily and responsibly, has the power to reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV. HIV-Negative individuals with perceived higher-than-average risk of being exposed to HIV have the option of being prescribed this treatment as an option of defense against potential HIV exposure, but with any new “big thing” comes successes and barriers.

One major component of the efficacy of PrEP depends on adherence, taking the medication consistently, to ensure the ability to operate at full capacity.  Individuals who adhere to taking the medication daily have significantly greater levels of protection than those who do not. PrEP also should not be taken as a justification to engage in condom-less sex.  PrEP is recommended with continued use of condoms and only protects against HIV therefore leaving potential risk of exposure to additional STIs. Even though the histories of PrEP Efficacy Trials show no serious adverse effects, there is still a wealth of information to be gathered identifying any potential risk associated with long-term adherence.  PrEP is a tool of prevention, but cannot be mistaken as THE tool of prevention.

If properly administered, PrEP yields the opportunity for us, as a community, to protect our future self, future family, and even our future partner. Using PrEP as a method of reducing HIV may help alleviate the barriers many gay men face with family planning and even commitment. In lieu of Marriage Equality, PrEP can be viewed as a tool which will allow us to eliminate stigma and level the grounds of dating once again. Gay men no longer have to be afraid to love, trust, or be viewed as “un-dateable”, based on HIV status. PrEP equips individuals with the ability to preserve their sexy and maintain optimal sexual health for their potential partner/husband. The decisions we make today, impact our tomorrow. Are you PrEP’d to Protect your Future?

theNewCondom

Marxavian Jones

Wanna Get Paid?

PrepD

GET “P A I D” !!!

Please follow the steps below to obtain your gift card!!
STEP 1: PrEP PreTEST link:https://naesm.wufoo.com/forms/x1fz5zih0ed4f6i/

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STEP 3: POST TEST: https://naesm.wufoo.com/forms/kugptju0we0wba/

STEP 4: TEXT 412.589.2399 your NAME and the ADDRESS WHERE YOU WANT YOUR CARD MAILED TO.

***PASS IT ON TO SOMEONE ELSE!!!***
THIS INITIATIVE IS FOR BLACK GAY MEN AND TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS.

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Late Night Outreach

Last night NAESM staff hit Midtown to distribute safe sex kits to individuals. Many were accepting of the safe sex kits. Some weren’t. NAESM actively engaged individuals who stated “I don’t like using condoms”. We were able to discuss other ways to, as the individual stated “Get that feeling”. This initiative was seen as a success due to having more condoms being received than denied. NAESM will continue to conduct outreach efforts to make sure individuals are equipped to keep themselves protected.

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