HIV/AIDS conference deemed success

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Over 100 HIV advocates from across North Carolina and the South convened at Winston-Salem State University for “Stronger Together: NC HIV/AIDS Advocacy Conference 2016” on Sept. 10th. The annual all-day conference was hosted by the North Carolina AIDS Action Network and the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition

The conference included a variety of HIV/AIDS-focused workshops, including “HIV is Not a Crime” and “The Trans Community, HIV Stigma and HB2.” Crystal Richardson, Esq., director of advocacy at Equality North Carolina, said, “Much has changed in the landscape of trans equality over the last year. Available data, which is mostly limited, shows an alarmingly high HIV rate among the trans community, and legislation like HB2 and negative dialogue about trans individuals in North Carolina and across the South stigmatizes those most in need of services.”

“With North Carolina, along with the rest of the deep South, being in the heart of the current HIV epidemic, our state needs to increase HIV/AIDS prevention efforts statewide through syringe access, safer sex education in schools, and, through access to PrEP,” said Amanda Stem, advocacy supervisor at the Western North Carolina AIDS Project in Asheville, N.C. “North Carolina currently has two cities on the list of top 15 cities in the nation with the highest amounts of new HIV infections, which are Greensboro and Charlotte and increasing access to PrEP in our state is a vital tool in reducing transmission rates.” She added, “PrEP is another tool in the toolkit for prevention but studies show it is highly effective, especially when used with condoms, antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV, and drug use treatment. HIV is not a virus with a one shot cure-all and right now it takes many tools to prevent and treat, but if this proven prevention method is out there, then why aren’t we making it easier to get?”

Advocates left the conference optimistic for the future of people living with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina. This past year, the state’s HIV/AIDS community has experienced various legislative victories on the state and federal levels, organizers concluded.


Diversity workshops dot Carolina

ROCKY MOUNT/HICKORY/MATTHEWS/WILMINGTON, N.C. — The North Carolina Culture Change Coalition will host its embracing diversity workshop, Embracing Our Differences, at four locations across the state during October from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.: Oct. 6, Nash Community College, 522 N. Old Carriage Rd., Rocky Mount; Oct. 12, Trinity Village, 1265 21st St. N.E., Hickory; Oct. 19, Levine Senior Center, 1050 Devore Ln., Matthews; and Oct. 26, Coastline Convention Center, 503 Nutt St., Wilmington.

The sessions challenge one’s understanding of diversity in the realm of caring for seniors. It is open to all assisted living and nursing home staff, members of quality improvement organizations, ombudsmen and others.

Participants will be able to recognize attitudinal barriers, stereotypes and fear that affect how one interacts and feels about people with disabilities and those from the LGBT community, as well as describe techniques for embracing a diverse cultural staff and resident body as an asset to a long-term care community.

Speakers are: Paige Averett, Ph.D., MSW, an associate professor at East Carolina University’s School of Social Work and international expert on LGBT aging, families and children; Lyndall Hare, Ph.D., concierge gerontologist and coach; Cindy Reporter, MSSW, state survey agency directory for North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; and Tammy Wade and Frances Robinson, regional employment specialists for vocational rehabilitation with the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Continuing education hours have been approved for this event at 5.75 hours for nursing home administrators, 5.5 hours for assisted living administrators and 5.5 (.55 CEU) for nurses through the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers.

Cost is $50/person. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Deadline to register is Sept. 30 and is available online at

info: Carolyn Hill, or Alice Carroll,

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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 and 704-531-9988,...