May 3 - Charlotte View: Living with HIV/AIDS in Mecklenburg 05/03 by Charlotte View Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio

May 3 - Charlotte View: Living with HIV/AIDS in Mecklenburg 05/03 by Charlotte View Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio
Guests: Dale Pierce and Kareem Strong
Opening song: "It Won't Rain Always" by Janet Paschal visit

N.C. among top states for new HIV infections ~ according to a publication by the Indy Week in Dec 2011 

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV disease is used to broadly describe the disease or illness caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV disease compromises the immune system and if left untreated results in life threatening illness. While there is no cure for HIV, if individuals are diagnosed early and begin treatment appropriately, they may live with the illness, managing it as a chronic disease.

Unfortunately, people in the South with HIV or AIDS can't access many of the resources needed to care or prevent the disease, even though the region, in particular North Carolina, has the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses and HIV-related deaths in the U.S.
These numbers are part of an analysis released two years ago by the Southern HIV/ AIDS Strategy Initiative (SASI), which is affiliated with the Duke University AIDS Legal Assistance Project. The analysis is based on a 2009 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 35,000 people are living with HIV/ AIDS in North Carolina, where high rates of the infection are partly caused by the large number of rural areas, where residents often have limited access to medical facilities and reliable transportation.
The medical field has been working relentlessly to find a cure for the disease and Fox News recently reported a promising study by Denmark researchers that could ultimately lead to a cure for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) but in the mean time, with 7 new cases reported every week in Mecklenburg County, something has to be done to support individuals that are living with the disease.

Charlotte View conversation with Dale Pierce, founder of Different Roads Home, a non-profit in Huntersville, NC., and Kareem Strong, the organization’s director of programming. They both are determined to prove the illness is still a threat, and they want to make things better for victims. The organization offers support services, one-on-one help, nutrition assistance and mentoring programs for those living with the illness.
The mission of Different Roads Home is to assist individuals battling the illness and to advocate, raise awareness, and eliminate stigma associated with the disease.

Mecklenburg County has high rates of HIV disease according to the Centers for Disease Control, 20% of new cases of HIV disease reported in NC come from Mecklenburg County
Mecklenburg Co. has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in NC, with 7 new cases of HIV being reported per week! In Charlotte, there are many high quality medical options, but often, their emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs are not met, which is where Different Roads Home is hoping to make a difference by helping to fill the gaps in psychosocial support and supportive care for HIV individuals.

2009/2010* HIV Disease Fast Facts for Mecklenburg County
People Living with HIV Disease
(as of December 31, 2010)
New Reported HIV Disease Cases
(January 1st – December 31, 2010)
Deaths Due to HIV Disease
(January 1st – December 31, 2010)
* Data Sources:
              NC DHHS HIV/STD Prevention and Care Unit
              NC DHHS 2007 Vital Records Report
The following reports highlight the impact of HIV disease in Mecklenburg County

This month, Different Roads Home is launching The Good Road Project, a mentoring program that will partner experienced HIV survivors with recently diagnosed individuals.
Different Roads Home understands that living with various chronic illnesses can be a difficult road to travel alone without education, compassion and support. With this in mind, The Good Road Project was developed to aid in the healing and coping process of treatment, adherence and quality of life for those who may find this journey a difficult one.
The Good Road Project connects mentors who are trained and experienced survivors who have overcome many of the obstacles that are presented by the disease and its diagnosis with a mentee. A mentee is an individual who has recently received a positive diagnosis and is having difficulty coping with illness, and/or struggling with treatment, knowledge and adherence.
Mentors and mentees are matched based on personal goals, needs and skills; as well as geographical location, age and gender, when possible; among other factors, to ensure the best possible fit

15905 Brookway Dr. Suite 4203. Huntersville, NC 28078
Phone: 704-237-8793   /   Fax: 704-237-8797

1. What is stigma?
HIV-related stigma refers to the negative beliefs, feelings and attitudes towards people living with HIV and/or associated with HIV. Thus, HIV-related stigma may affect those suspected of being infected by HIV; those who are related to someone living with HIV; or those most at risk of HIV infection, such as people who inject drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender people.
HIV-related stigma exists worldwide and manifests itself in countries, communities, religious groups and individuals, though its basic elements are surprisingly common across cultures.
It is expressed in stigmatizing language and behaviour, such as ostracization and abandonment; shunning and avoiding everyday contact; verbal harassment; physical violence; verbal discrediting, blaming and gossip. Stigma often lies at the root of discriminatory actions. Stigma may also be internalized by stigmatized individuals in the form of feelings of shame, self-blame and worthlessness.
[Stigma can be reduced by empowerment of people living with HIV and other stigmatized groups, updated information and education about HIV, media campaigns, and activities that foster interaction among people living with HIV, those most at risk of infection and key audiences.]
2. What is discrimination?
HIV-related discrimination refers to the unfair and unjust treatment (act or omission) of an individual based on his or her real or perceived HIV status. Though HIV-related stigma often leads to discrimination, it is important to note that even if a person feels stigma towards another, s/he can decide to not to act in a way that is unfair or discriminatory. Conversely, a person may discriminate against another without personally holding stigmatising beliefs, for example, where discrimination is mandated by law.
Discrimination in the context of HIV also includes unfair treatment of key affected populations, such as sex workers, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender people, prisoners, and in some social contexts women, young people, migrants, refugees and internally displaced people.
Discrimination may occur in families, workplaces, health-care services, prisons, schools, places of worship and within social networks, or in the context of housing, insurance, social support, travel, migration and the granting of asylum and refugee settlement.
Discrimination can be institutionalized through existing laws, policies and practices that negatively target people living with HIV and marginalized groups. Omission can also be a form of discrimination when, for example, the level of resources directed towards the key affected populations are not commensurate with the level of epidemic among them, or when HIV surveillance fails to track infections among these populations.
Discrimination is a human rights violation and is prohibited by international human rights law and most national constitutions.
Discrimination can be reduced through the removal of punitive laws and enactment of protective legislation, robust enforcement of protective policies, training of service providers (health care professionals, teachers, police, judiciary) on non-discrimination in the context of HIV, educating people about relevant rights and laws, promoting contact between those discriminated against and those discriminating, and providing access to legal services for affected populations.

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