Dallas Voice (03.01.13)
Aids Weekly Plus
HIV-infected volunteers from Houston and Dallas gathered in Austin, Texas, Monday, March 4, to share with legislators how HIV/AIDS programming has helped them to survive HIV for decades. Januari Leo, public affairs field specialist for Houston’s Legacy Community Health Services, organized HIV Advocacy Day to encourage Texas legislators to accept Medicaid expansion and to pass Texas House Bill (HB) 1119. Sponsored by Rep. Yvonne Davis (D-Dallas), HB1119 would mandate insurance coverage for HIV testing and establish HIV testing as routine medical care; individuals could opt out of HIV testing. Texas Governor Rick Perry has opposed Medicaid expansion.
According to Leo, 24 percent of Texans currently are uninsured, and Ryan White funding, which provides HIV medications for many uninsured people, is uncertain. Passage of HB1119 would increase HIV testing in rural and suburban areas, where HIV tests are not readily available.
AIDS Outreach Center and AIDS Services of Dallas volunteers who will represent HIV-infected people include Aaron Taylor, HIV-infected for 24 years; Sandra Ford, a disabled veteran who has been HIV-infected for five years; and Helen Goldenberg, HIV-infected for 30 years.
HIV Advocacy Day participants gathered March 4 at First United Methodist Church Family Life Center, 1300 Lavaca Street, in Austin, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central time. Additional information is available from http://texashiv.org/events.