A primary goal of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) is to make sure that the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on African Americans is in the front of decision-makers’ minds when they make policies or allocate resources. Summaries of some of our recent activities are below (click on links at left for more information):
Clergy Day on Capitol Hill: On March 17, 2010, we gathered more than 50 prominent ministers from around the country in Washington, D.C., to urge members of Congress to support the National Black Clergy for the Elimination of HIV/AIDS Act of 2009. That legislation, NBLCA’s signature proposal, calls upon the president to declare HIV/AIDS an epidemic in the Black community and mandates a variety of measures aimed at addressing HIV/AIDS among Black Americans.
Summit of High-Level Religious Leaders: In March 2010, NBLCA Chairman Rev. Calvin O. Butts II and President and CEO C. Virginia Fields participated in a worldwide summit of religious leaders in the Netherlands. The leaders issued a “call to action” that urged faith leaders as well as the government, the media and the public to play a larger role in fighting AIDS and changing attitudes.
National Conversation on Black Women and HIV/AIDS: On Nov. 10, NBLCA gathered representatives of academia, clergy, government, business, media, medical associations, national women’s organizations, sororities and civic and community groups in Washington, D.C., to demand a stronger voice for African-American women in determining public policy toward HIV and AIDS. The forum resulted in policy recommendations for the Obama Administration to include in its National HIV/AIDS Strategy, including creating a surveillance system that captures the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African-American women in order to document the comprehensive services that are needed.
The Children Left Behind: On Nov. 30, 2009, NBLCA convened an international symposium at the United Nations focusing on the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on children. The symposium included representatives of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Department of Public Information, the United States Mission to the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund, the U.S. Department of State and the government of Malawi.
Routine testing for HIV: In about half of the 50 states, a separate form must be signed specifically granting permission to test for HIV. NBLCA believes that it’s time to remove that special requirement and make testing for HIV as routine as it already is for other diseases. Recently, NBLCA successfully placed a series of op-eds in newspapers in New York State that, among other purposes, called for amending Article 27F of the New York State Public Health Law to require routine HIV testing in all appropriate medical settings