Mississippi's Third Annual HIV/AIDS Day at the Capitol will feature a press conference on March 7, 2013 at 10:00 am in the Mississippi Capitol Rotunda, Second Floor. This press conference will feature state health officials, state legislators, persons living with HIV and the authors of two nationally significant reports that focused on HIV/AIDS in Mississippi: "Rights at Risk: State Response to HIV in Mississippi" by authors from the Human Rights Watch, and "The Mississippi SHARP Report", by authors from Harvard Law School's Health Law and Policy Clinic as part of the State Healthcare Access Research Project (SHARP). The SHARP report examined the barriers to care faced by Mississippians living with HIV/AIDS, and identified opportunities for improving access to healthcare, including developing anti-stigma campaigns, engaging faith communities, using mobile health units, and empowering people living with HIV/AIDS.
Mississippi in Action, the host organization of the 3rd Annual AIDS Awareness Conference, works to promote holistic sexual and reproductive health by incorporating, advocacy, education and housing assistance to empower Mississippians living with HIV/AIDS and their allies to advocate for themselves. The organization is sponsoring travel for over 100 Mississippians living with HIV or AIDS, their friends, family and a broad network of community advocates across the state of Mississippi, to band together at the capitol and meet their legislators. The purpose of this event is to provide solutions to the problem of HIV in Mississippi. Advocates expect to reduce the staggering statistic that despite successful national outcomes in the most current HIV treatment options, more than 50% of known HIV cases in Mississippi – the nation's poorest state -- have not accessed care within the last twelve months.
According to Mississippi in Action's Executive Director, Valencia Robinson, "We can no longer afford to remain complacent about HIV/AIDS, comprehensive sex education, or any health disparities. Today we ask our legislators release the stigma that has held Mississippi back when confronting these issues."
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