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World AIDS Day celebrated in New Orleans
This year’s theme for World AIDS Day is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice”. Access Health Louisiana and the AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) helped bring panels of the National AIDS Quilt from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans for this special event. The panels reflect the lives lost due to the HIV epidemic in America. In all, 110,000 people who lost their battle with HIV are represented on the AIDS quilt in our nation’s capitol.
AHL leadership gathered with leadership from the City of New Orleans for a special ceremony in honor of World AIDS Day today. The event was held on the first floor of City Hall located on Perdido Street. Speakers for today’s event included: Dr. MarkAlain Dery, infectious disease physician with Access Health Louisiana, Valeria Kawas – News Anchor & News Director for Telemundo, Dr. Jennifer Avegno from the New Orleans Health Department, Fran Lawless – New Orleans Office of Health Equity and AIDS funding, Doc Griggs – AHL Community Medicine Director and Milan Nicole Sherry from the House of Tulip. Names of each person depicted on the AIDS quilt panel were real aloud during today’s event.
After the AIDS quilt panel unveiling at City Hall, attendees crossed Loyola Avenue for a reception at the Pythian Building. During the luncheon, Dr. Dery and Doc Griggs premiered their latest animated education series on HIV featuring Milan Nicole Sherry. The animated series is being used to help make people aware of the importance of HIV annual testing, as well as PrEP. To listen to Dr. Dery and Doc Griggs’ education podcast, tune into the Noisefilter.
To end the HIV epidemic, you need to give everyone access to healthcare services. This includes patients of all races, ethnicities, financial status, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. Access Health Louisiana community health centers provide an inclusive, safe space for all who enter our clinic doors. It is safe spaces such as these where people living with HIV can find comfort, treatment options, knowledge, and hope.
Access Health Louisiana providers and therapists are committed to improving the quality of life of our patients. They not only treat the disease, but they care for the person. They listen to their patient’s concerns and goals and together in an integrated care environment, provide resources that lead to improved patient outcomes.
By expanding our telemedicine services during the pandemic, Access Health Louisiana has helped meet patients in the comfort, convenience, and privacy of their homes. Through free home delivery of medications, our pharmacy has helped patients overcome transportation barriers of getting the prescriptions they need. Services such as these are critical for people living with HIV. Access Health Louisiana does more than just provide access; it gives patients a voice in their healthcare.
It is through Ryan White funding that organizations such as Access Health Louisiana, can continue to help uninsured people living with HIV become undetectable/untransmittable. And it is through Ending the Epidemic (EHE) funding, that organizations like ours can offer home-based HIV testing kits, educational outreach and expand the use of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).