The Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund (OACF) and the Oklahoma HIV and AIDS Advocacy Coalition are hosting “HIV/AIDS Awareness Day” from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 10, at the Oklahoma State Capitol fourth floor rotunda.
HIV community agencies and supporting nonprofits will have tables with information and resources in the rotunda. Keynote speakers are Sen. AJ Griffin, Rep. Jason Dunnington and Rep. Emily Virgin. OACF will provide a brief training on how to talk with your legislators about HIV/AIDS related issues. Attendees will also learn more about the legislation that OACF is monitoring that could impact those affected by HIV and AIDS in our state.
One bill OACF had been closely monitoring this session was HB 1538, by Rep. Emily Virgin. The measure, which failed to pass out of the Oklahoma House, would have updated the HIV and AIDS prevention education in public schools in our state. This curriculum hasn’t been updated since 1987.
“In the past three decades, much has been learned about the disease and many advancements have been made,” said Cher Golding, executive director of Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund. “To be truly be effective, this curriculum must be updated.”
Golding added, “With the comments surrounding the bill and its failure to pass, it shows the importance of updating this curriculum as well as educating our lawmakers and the public about HIV/AIDS in our state.”
Here is a list of the active bills OACF is following:
· SB 246, by Sen. Anastasia Pittman, relates to HIV prevention education. It would modify the type of prevention education taught in public schools and would remove certain limitations. The types of available resources would be modified and inspection of curriculum and materials would be required.
· HB 2273, by Rep. O’Donnell permits the procurement of organs and tissues for donation purposes from persons testing positive for HIV infection, provided the procurement and donation are consistent with the federal HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act and the regulations promulgated by the Organ Procurements and Transplantation Network and the United State Food and Drug Administration.
· SB 752, by Sen. Treat, relates to organ donation and procurement; amending 63 O.S. 2011, Section 2151.1, which relates to certain restrictions; permitting procurement of certain specimens under certain circumstances; clarifying language; and providing an effective date.
“HIV/AIDS Awareness Day brings together consumers, advocates and member organizations from around the state for a common cause and serves as an opportunity to develop relationships with lawmakers,” said Golding. “Together we can voice our concerns and bring awareness to the treatment, prevention and supportive services for HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma.”
OACF and the coalition encourages the public to attend. Registration is available under the "events" tab of the OACF Facebook page. For more information or to reserve a table at the resource fair, please contact Lany Milner at email@example.com or 405-348-6600.
The Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund is a fundraising and advocacy organization dedicated to providing financial support and resources to HIV/AIDS service providers in the state of Oklahoma. Since its inception in 1991, the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund has awarded more than $12.5 million in their commitment to reduce new infections, stigma, and health disparities while increasing access to care and collaboration of services. To learn more or to support the organization’s annual fundraising gala, Red Tie Night, please visit okaidscarefund.com.