TOY honored by state org

DURHAM, N.C. — Time Out Youth Center (TOY), 2320 N. Davidson St., was bestowed with the SHIFT NC Impact Award on May 13 in Durham, N.C.

The award recognizes an individual, organization or collaboration that has made a significant, noteworthy contribution to adolescent sexual health in North Carolina during the past year. Thus, TOY was honored for raising awareness of and engaging the community around LGBT youth issues, while also doing amazing direct service for youth, SHIFT NC said.

During its 25 year history, it has gone from providing support for Charlotte LGBT youth on a smaller scale to now having a brick-and-mortar facility that houses staff and programming across six counties.

SHIFT NC began 30 years ago as one of the state’s leaders on teen pregnancy prevention as the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina and has evolved to become SHIFT (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) NC. Today it seeks to improve adolescent and young adult sexual health. It started out as a work group of the United Way in Charlotte, but morphed into a non-profit.

info: timeoutyouth.org. shiftnc.org.

HIV/AIDS advocates educate GA

Participants in the HIV/AIDS Action Day 2016.
Participants in the HIV/AIDS Action Day 2016.

RALEIGH, N.C. — On June 7, patients, healthcare providers, community leaders, and advocates gathered at the North Carolina History Museum, 5 E. Edenton St., for HIV/AIDS Advocacy Day 2016 to raise awareness and educate North Carolina legislators about policies that improve the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.

HIV/AIDS Advocacy Day 2016 was hosted by the North Carolina AIDS Action Network. It works to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and affected communities through outreach and public education, policy advocacy and community-building to increase visibility and mutual support of people living with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina. Nearly half of people living with HIV in the U.S reside in the South, while the South also had the highest rates of both new HIV diagnoses and HIV-related deaths in the country. North Carolina is among the 10 U.S. states with the highest rates of new HIV and AIDS diagnoses and HIV-related deaths.

Advocacy Day was attended by almost 50 advocates from across the state. Before launching out for the day of advocacy, participants received a briefing and training on various issues impacting people living with HIV/AIDS and then spent the day at the General Assembly meeting with over 25 legislators and were welcomed in the morning by Rep. Susan Fisher and Sen. Gladys Robinson. While the advocates met with their local legislators, Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolinas provided free HIV testing in the 1200 Court of the General Assembly. Rep. Graig Meyer stopped by to get tested in order to raise visibility about knowing one’s status.

“The numerous medical advances over the past few years has changed what it means to be HIV-positive in 2016,” said Debbie Warren, executive director of Charlotte, N.C.-based Regional AIDS Interfaith Network. “People are not only able to live long healthy lives, but are significantly reducing the risk of HIV transmission to others. There are about 35,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina and days like today help prioritize issues that will improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in our state.”

“HIV/AIDS Advocacy Day 2016 was such a rewarding experience because we were able to educate legislators on issues that are uniquely important to our community,” said Amanda Stem, advocacy supervisor from Asheville, N.C.-based Western North Carolina AIDS Project. “It was really encouraging to hear legislators from both sides of the aisle equally as supportive of the HIV/AIDS community.”

Advocates thanked legislators for their support of an upcoming budget provision that will expand access to health insurance for low-income HIV+ North Carolinians and asked them for their support of legalizing syringe exchange in the state through the passage of S.B. 794, which was recently introduced.

info: ncaan.org.

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Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988,...