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i really should do [i]something[/i]

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zach:
I wrote a book, you can totally ignore it, this is just another one of my impotent cries into the void. I should be mowing the lawn, but it's 91*F so I'm in the garden hammock watching my bud grow.

How to survive a plague, hit me hard. Probably not good viewing laid up in hospital, but thats what I did. Since then, I've had a nagging feeling of "Get off your ass and go piss folks off."

Larry Kramer seems like a hell of a guy.

Over the past couple weeks, facing my own med obstacles and Tim concurrently facing slightly different obstacles to his care, both in the same space and time. It is more than cosmic coincidence. It feels like a change in the wind. It's got me to thinking how best to retaliate.

I've picked up on some subtle hints from a few of you. Breadcrumbs you drop for us youngsters. With y'all LTSer's growing (gracefully) into ripe old age, you've earned your rest taking a seat at the sideline. Time coming quick for a new generation to mobilize. It's our turn now. Only, which direction? I mean, welcoming new members here, I picked up on that pay it forward pretty quick and have tried to do my time there. And as much as I may joke about wanting to mess with the kids on Am I, truth is I want nothing to do with them.

I want to do something. Something tangible. But I don't quite know what. Homelessness has always been the cause of my life.

I believe everyone in the world can have decent housing. But it will take a communal effort. And an idea, the right one.

I want to find something within HIV activism that is tangible in the same way. I need to see the fruits of my labor, part of the kick for me I guess.

But do what? Standing post at a t-shirt tent for AidsWalk isn't me, and fire bombing is out of the question, I promise. Somewhere between those extremes I need a rational middle ground. I vote, even fairly well informed. I've written letters (well, signed letters that were mass mailed) but that seemed so ineffective. You guys fought to get our meds, to wake up the wider society to the plague. Trench warfare y'all. And I get it, now the suits just want us to go away. They're tired of us. But the Pharma barons have to be reeled in and held in check. It has become the worst face of capitalism, predatory and mean spirited. Not that I buy into the conspiracy theories, no one is sitting on a cure. Well, except for HepC, for $90,000 that my mother can't afford, there is cure.

And ActUp Atlanta, I don't know, Sauron and Emperor Palpatine both got to them. Dark side stuff. For whatever reason, this cities' affiliate is a bunch of renegade splinter cell denialists. I won't play along with all that.

The causes that most concern me now. Testing, and ACCESS to affordable meds. Stop making us jump through flaming hoops of despair.

We need a socialized healthcare system. Obamacare was a step in the right direction, not far enough, but the sharks have already taken bites of it and learned to exploit the weaknesses. Social is the only system that is equitable. Working class Americans, even insured, are one serious illness away from losing their homes and livelihoods, and health. The climate of hate just seems to chant "die, die, DIE" while sharpening their pitchforks and tying nooses.

Socialized healthcare won't be the doom and end of 'Murica. Its not the red march of communism spreading. The sky will not fall, the sun will rise again. We have other socialized programs that have worked well. Other nations have models we can look at and hang our heads in shame. This is something else. This is war through attrition. Socialized healthcare will lead to a stronger nation, we'll be healthier.

I feel it is deeply unfair that developed nations are paying such a high cost for medications in order to subsidize the still developing nations of the world. Can't we address that inequality without casting out our own in need? Everyone around the world with HIV should have access to modern HAART medications. Without paying the devils portion. Without having to be at death's door before any gear on the machine moves. Without having to be completely penniless in order to qualify for medical care.

I didn't need all the help that SSDI, SSI, and Medicaid provides me. I am incredibly grateful for what I do get, don't misunderstand. I didn't need that much. They don't give you that option. It's all, or nothing. That makes no sense to me. Every department required me to sign a paper confirming that would I apply for all assistance for which I am qualified, and the only way to be qualified for any of it is to become indigent. To get the little I had to have, I had to give up too much. The scales don't balance. But I have pills.

For me, I want to get myself well enough that I don't have to rely on a free clinic. I will live on my own terms again. Screw em.

And I want to feel like I've done something more than simply get out alive. But I don't know what to do.

Miss Philicia:
You may be interested in this: Every metropolitan area is mandated by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act to have what is called a "Planning Council" -- this includes "consumers of services"

The Planning Council responsibilities include identifying the needs of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS, preparing a comprehensive plan, setting priorities for the allocation of funding, and evaluating how well services meet community needs.

For information on joining the Ryan White Part A Planning Council, contact the Ryan White Program at 404-612-8285.

The 20-County Atlanta area receives funding under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.   The 20 counties are: Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Cherokee, Calyton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Rockdale, Spalding and  Walton.

http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/ryan-white-home

ps: if you look to the right there's also a section called "grievence procedure" that you might wish to read/fill out. But the Planning Council meetings should be open for attendance, and if you feel comfortable after some time you can volunteer for a position.

aaware72:
There are many things to get involved with.  I just apply to become a member of the Boston Planning Council myself and I am also on the Advisory committee of the New Hampshire HIV Planning group.  Every state has to have one of these group to get federal grants for ADAP.

I am also the Co-Chair of the Thomas O Cash HIV/AID walk this September in Nashua New Hampshire to raise money for the Southern New Hampshire HIV/AIDS Task Force.

I am also working on starting a Mr Friendly chapter here in NH and ME.

I also been asked to sit on the committee for the Meth Outreach program that was just start at the Frannie Peabody Center (ASO) in ME

The there is the New England Alliance for Gay and Bi Sexual men that I just joined.  This is all volunteer work.  There are many thing you can get involved with just have to look around.

Now if I could get a paying job.  One of the ASO in my state is looking for a new director I just spoke to the outgoing director about taking with the board about the job. 

Nancy:
Find or form a local chapter of The Human Solution, Intl. and help us end prohibition :) ....  I've thought about reaching out more to the HIV community to get more involved in helping create safe access for use of Medical Cannabis. right now my husband and I try to sit in on all legitimate mmj cases in the courtrooms in the 3 San Diego Municipal court houses and the Federal Court ... No one should go to jail for a plant!

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