Florence Ngobeni-Allen lost her 5-month-old daughter to AIDS some 15 years ago, before she had access to antiretroviral drugs.
For the HIV-positive South African, it was the most difficult moment of her life.
Fast-forward to present day, thanks to appropriate treatment and services, Ngobeni-Allen (at right) has two HIV-negative children: Alex, who turns 6 years old next week, and a baby, Kulani. And she works as an advocate for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
“I am proof that if women are given the resources they need, they can live healthy lives,” Ngobeni-Allen said to the 80 or so attendees of the media training held in advance of the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012).
Rev. Charles Straight, who serves on the Board of Directors for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, was selected to open the International AIDS Conference with an invocation.
Before the pastor's firm handshake and sonorous voice, comes the smile.
Radiant, wildly contagious, Rev. Charles Straight's grin seems to welcome you instantly, no matter who you might be.
Come Sunday, July 22, Straight will beam that smile down upon the thousands in attendance at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington D.C. He was chosen by conference organizers to give the convocation, the words of prayer that will officially begin the conference. For Straight, it will be a profound moment in his 27 years dedicated to the HIV/AIDS cause.
“It is the greatest honor I could have imagined,” said Straight, pastor of the Faith United Methodist Church in Dolton, Ill., who serves on the Board of Directors for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC).
Three Years Later, Opt-Out Testing the Norm in Cook County Jail
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
The Rev. Doris Green, AFC's director of correctional health and community health, discusses opt-out HIV testing in Cook County Jail.
By Sara Semelka
After three long years of perseverance by community advocates, detainees at Cook County Jail now go through an opt-out – rather than opt-in – HIV testing process during intake, a change touted by national experts as one of the most effective ways to encourage at-risk communities to accept the offer of an HIV test.
Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (at right), who led the effort at the county level, and the HIV health advocacy community hailed this new testing protocol as a tool beneficial to detainees, at-risk populations and the community at large. The opt-out system, which took years of collaboration with jail administration health care providers and HIV health advocates, has resulted in a new intake space that increases confidentiality and a new testing protocol that presents an HIV test as a standard of care for all detainees.
“Every action you take to bring HIV testing out of a stigmatized, isolating environment and into a public health context, that’s better for everyone,” Gainer said.
Do you ever feel there are critical advances in HIV/AIDS prevention that aren't being properly covered in the mainstream media? Or that there are complex HIV/AIDS-related healthcare and funding issues not being clearly explained? Or that there are powerful HIV/AIDS stories here in Chicago just waiting for someone to tell them? We feel that way, too!
At the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), we’re committed to changing the story of HIV/AIDS. Inside Story aims to take you inside that story, to give you an intimate look at how AFC, and other Chicago and national organizations, are fighting HIV/AIDS through medical, housing and support services; cutting-edge research into prevention and treatment methods; and advocacy for stronger HIV-AIDS public policy from legislators.