Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Miss NC International at the The General Assembly for HIV Advocacy Day!

Hello everyone!!

I am so excited to share with you all about my wonderful event on Tuesday, May 25. I was invited as a new member of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN) to take part in HIV Advocacy Day at the General Assembly in our capital, Raleigh, NC. NCAAN is a community network that educates policy makers and people in NC about HIV/AIDS. The mission is to reduce new infections, promote quality care and treatment services for NC and mobilize NC citizens to take action. What an amazing and wonderful event!

The purpose this year was to lobby for more funding to fully fund and re-open the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), so there is no waiting list for these necessary medications. Governor Perdue appropriated $14.1 million to re-open ADAP, however we need a total of $18.17 million dollars to fully open the program to those on the waiting list. There is a national waiting list of over 1,000 people and over 60% of those people on the list are in NC!  It was very important to talk with our legislators about the importance of adding the necessary $4.1million to the budget.

I had the opportunity to talk with our senators, in particular the supportive Senator Linda Garrou (3rd picture from the top) about adding $4.1 million to the budget for the ADAP program, maintaining and increasing funding for prevention programs, and about my platform One Life to Love. Along with talking to our senators, we took part in amazing information seminars and advocacy sessions dedicated to putting together appropriate reports and lists to address the HIV/AIDS needs of NC and the nation as a whole.

The last part of the day involved taking part in a press conference where we discussed the need for more funding and listened to inspirational stories of HIV positive people whose livelihood is desperately threatened if more funding does not occur. I was also asked to take part in a documentary focused on the impact of HIV/AIDS in our society and the government response to funding. What a fabulous documentary it will be! I was so excited to have a chance to talk on camera about my passion for HIV/AIDS and where we as a society need to focus our attention so we can decrease the spread of HIV and increase awareness.

 This wonderful day blessed me with the chance to connect and network with so many wonderful organizations and serve as a positive representative, ambassador and spokesperson for NCAAN, PWA, The Nyanya Project, The Red Pump Project and all of those infected by HIV. We are all affected by this disease, so we must take action to prevent the spread and educate our community.

Thank you for reading my blog!

All of my love and blessings,
Kristie Tobias
Miss North Carolina International

"I will be the hope among the hopeless. Where there is conflict, I will be peace. Only by the power of your spirit that's living in me. I will be." ~Natalie Grant