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New Black AIDS Institute, in Partnership with Merck, Launches Dynamic National HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care Advocacy Network
 
 
  Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN) Focuses on Improving Care for Thousands of Black Americans in the U.S.
 
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. and LOS ANGELES, CA, August 10, 2010 - Today, the Black AIDS Institute (The Institute), with support from Merck, announced the launch of the Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN). BTAN, the first collaborative Network of its kind, will train and mobilize a team of treatment advocates with a mission to link Black Americans with HIV into care and treatment; strengthen local and national leadership; raise HIV science and treatment literacy in Black communities; and advocate for policy change and research priorities.
 
Black Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population, and yet they are the largest group impacted by HIV/AIDS at 51 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also remain those least in care. Studies show that among individuals with HIV/AIDS, Blacks are 59 percent less likely than Whites to be receiving HIV treatment.
 
"We are at an important juncture in the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic in Black communities. Improving HIV literacy, increasing the number of trained Black treatment educators, and expanding the level of treatment advocacy in Black communities is critical to our efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in Black communities," said Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. "The Institute is pleased to partner with Merck, people living with HIV/AIDS, and community organizations to launch BTAN. Their support, leadership, and dedication will help to lay the foundation for a new era in Black HIV/AIDS treatment education and advocacy."
 
The National Network will connect individuals from across the country and, for the first time, unify Black HIV/AIDS advocacy efforts under an umbrella initiative focused on reducing disparities and improving care for the Black American HIV community. The Network will allow advocates to learn together - and from each other - via regular, national web-based trainings, regional programs around the U.S., and the Network website, which will serve as a portal to connect members and house resources to inform, guide and support efforts in the field.
 
"We are proud to support BTAN and partner with the Black AIDS Institute, AIDS service organizations (ASOs) and advocates across the country to launch this important initiative," said Patrick Bergstedt, senior vice president and general manager, Merck Infectious Disease Franchise. "Merck is committed to helping reduce healthcare disparities and improve access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment for Black Americans through collaborative efforts such as BTAN. This dynamic Network has the potential to positively impact the lives of thousands of Black Americans in the U.S. affected by HIV/AIDS."
 
Across the board, treatment advances have helped to result in declines of more than 70 percent in the national rate of AIDS deaths, but Black Americans are not benefiting equally from the breakthroughs. Very few community-based treatment advocacy initiatives are rooted in agencies focused on Black communities. BTAN aims to mobilize existing community leaders with appropriate training to create the backbone of a new era in Black American HIV/AIDS advocacy.
 
As its first major initiative, BTAN will partner with Merck & Co., Inc. and local ASOs in a small number of high prevalence, resource-limited "pilot" communities across the country to hold intensive science and advocacy trainings to address local critical needs. The pilot launch cities for 2010 are Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; and Jackson, Mississippi. A core group of advocates from these cities will be key to growing the Network and sustaining its long-term impact.
 
The pilot partners will be introduced at a BTAN program at September's U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) in Orlando, Florida.
 
Individuals interested in more information about the Black Treatment Advocates Network, including how to become involved, should contact the Black AIDS Institute at 213.353.3610 ext. 120.
 
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Dear Partner,
 
The Black AIDS Institute is hosting a two-day seminar in New York on August 16-17, 2010 in collaboration with Harlem United, GMHC and Iris House. The seminar aims to increase HIV awareness and testing in Black communities by reviewing current strategies for addressing the Black AIDS epidemic, providing a space for coalition-building, and facilitating the creation of a community action plan to improve HIV testing. During the training, you will learn how to:
 
· Increase the effectiveness of campaigns targeting African Americans Create comprehensive and strategic action plans for HIV testing campaigns in your community.
 
· Leverage the latest information for your HIV prevention programs.
 
· Understand the implication of the latest epidemiological trends and the impact of the National AIDS Strategy.
 
· Mobilize your community to impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
 
· Discover tips for creating coalitions and facilitating groups.
 
· Utilize the Black AIDS Institute, Harlem United, GMHC and Iris House. in creating HIV testing campaigns.
 
· Maximize resources and impacts using “tried and true” methods.
 
· Access existing, culturally appropriate and relevant HIV/AIDS campaigns and materials.
 
Participants will learn the skills to educate, connect and address the challenges of HIV testing in New York’s Black community. Please see the attached formal invitation from the Black AIDS Institute’s CEO and Founder, Phill Wilson.
 
The seminar will run from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. both days. Being held at Rabin Strategic Partners, 140 West 57th Street, Screening Room, New York, NY 10019.
 
You can RSVP at gopis@blackaids.org if interested in participating.
 
Please see attached invitation and flyer
.
 
We hope to see you there!
 
Raynal Jabouin, Jr., M.Ed
CTR Program Coordinator, Risk -Based Testing Services
Testing Services Department - Prevention Division
Harlem United Community AIDS Center
290 Lenox Avenue, Ground Level
New York, New York 10027
Tel: (212) 289-2378 x206
Fax:(212) 289 - 2394
 
About the Black AIDS Institute
Founded in 1999, The Black AIDS Institute (The Institute), a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, is the only national HIV/AIDS Think Tank in the United States focused exclusively on Black people. The Institute's mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing traditional Black leaders, institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV/AIDS. The Institute offers training and capacity building, disseminates information, interprets and recommends private and public sector HIV policies, and provides advocacy and mobilization from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view.
 
 
 
 
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