Honoring a Legacy and Mobilizing the Future of HIV in the America
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 5, 2016) –Organizers are thrilled to announce The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) as Presenting Sponsor for AIDSWatch 2017. AIDSWatch, March 27-28, 2017, brings hundreds of advocates to Washington, D.C. from across the country to educate Congress about the policies and resources needed to end the HIV epidemic. Registration opened on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2016 at www.aidsunited.org/AIDSWatch.
Elizabeth Taylor became a powerful advocate at a time when little was known about HIV and the public’s hearts and minds were closed to those living with and affected by the virus. An unwavering ally to people living with HIV, Ms. Taylor relentlessly fought HIV-related stigma by sparking conversations about HIV on Capitol Hill and at the dinner table, ultimately imploring our nation’s leaders to understand the human side of the burgeoning epidemic. Elizabeth Taylor’s advocacy kick started a robust national response, including the passage of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and the founding of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). amfAR has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for AIDS research while the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program remains the country’s largest domestic HIV care and treatment program.
A focus of this year’s event is the destructive consequences of HIV criminalization laws. In addition to creating a challenging legal environment for people living with HIV, HIV criminalization laws undermine public health and increase the stigma associated with HIV testing, treatment and disclosure. “These laws punish responsible behavior like getting tested and privilege ignorance of HIV status,” said Joel Goldman, managing director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. “This is exactly the type of issue that Elizabeth Taylor would have passionately taken on with all her might. HIV criminalization laws are counterproductive to ending this epidemic, and are not based on current science or fact, but rather ignorance and fear.”
Other issues featured at AIDSWatch will include the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program; quality sexual health education; housing and ongoing federal investments in HIV care, prevention and research. The need for advocacy on these issues is critical. The knowledge and tools to end AIDS in America exist; however, meeting this goal requires the collaboration and leadership of our elected officials.
Continuing Elizabeth Taylor’s legacy, AIDSWatch mobilizes hundreds of advocates to meet with their elected officials. Organized by the Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP), AIDS United and the US People Living with HIV Caucus, AIDSWatch provides participants with training on HIV research, prevention, treatment and important policy developments. Participants are also coached in effective advocacy skills and how best to share information with policymakers and their community.
“Elizabeth Taylor is proof that change is made when someone speaks up from the heart and inspires others to take action. There’s no other event quite like AIDSWatch for doing just that and we are proud to continue to support it,” said Goldman.
ABOUT AIDSWATCH: AIDSWatch is an advocacy event that provides participants with current knowledge on the state of HIV/AIDS research, prevention, treatment and important policy developments. Participants are trained in effective advocacy skills, and are coached on how best to share this information with policymakers and their community. After training, participants meet Members of Congress to share their personal stories about the impact of current policies in their community, highlight the importance of HIV as an issue to their constituents and present a face to the issue. Learn more at aidsunited.org/aidswatch
ABOUT THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR AIDS FOUNDATION – Elizabeth Taylor established The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) in 1991 to support organizations delivering direct care and services to people living with HIV and AIDS, especially the most marginalized communities. Today, ETAF also provides grants for innovative HIV prevention education and advocacy programs to existing organizations around the world. With key domestic advocacy funding focuses on comprehensive sexual health education and HIV decriminalization, ETAF continues to bring the marginalized to the center of attention and advocate for their rights. To learn more or to make a donation please visit www.etaf.org.