Legacy Advocates for HIV Decriminalization at National Conference

By: Lisa Foronda, Senior Director of Investor Communications

Members of Legacy’s Public Affairs and Public Health departments joined local people living with HIV (PLHIV) at the second annual HIV is Not a Crime National Training Academy last month in Alabama. The conference brought together activists and allies working to reform or repeal laws and statues that criminalize PLHIV.

Legacy presenters showcased the Positive Organizing Project (POP+), funded in part by your donations, as a successful program empowering PLHIV to become advocates and influencers. Michael Webb (Legacy Public Health), Graham Maio, Allen Murray (Legacy’s Positive Organizing Project), and Venita Ray (Legacy Public Affairs) hosted the panel titled Effective and Accountable Leadership: Decriminalizing HIV through Leadership Development.

The Deep South region of the United States (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX) represented 43% of all HIV-related deaths in the country between 2008-2013. Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative research indicates HIV-related stigma is a significant barrier to HIV care and prevention in the Deep South.

Venita also joined a group of national HIV advocates meeting with Bernie Sanders to urge the Democratic Presidential candidate to place HIV/AIDS policy, funding, and advocacy at the top of his agenda.