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HIV/AIDS in Arkansas

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Profile photo of Donna Terrell Donna Terrell, FOX16

Panelists discuss HIV/AIDS and its impact since the first diagnosis in 1981, in addition to reviewing how the virus is contracted and its signs and symptoms. The panel will also debunk myths, examine Arkansas HIV/AIDS statistics, and provide information about support services and programs available across the state. Expert panel members include: Cornelius Mabin, chief operating officer, The Living Affected Corporation; Sybil Ward, coordinator of community health at Jefferson Comprehensive Care System, Inc.; and Courtney A. Hampton, MHSA, program manager, HIV Prevention & Viral Hepatitis C, Arkansas Department of Health.

Hosted by Donna Terrell from FOX16

TRANSCRIPT

♪ ♪ HELLO, EVERYONE, AND WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM. I'M YOUR HOST DONNA TERRELL. IT HAS BEEN OVER 30 YEARS SINCE AIDS WAS DIAGNOSED. THAT WAS BACK IN 1981. THIS EPIDEMIC WHICH WAS ONCE THOUGHT TO BE A GAY MAN'S DISEASE WITH A DEATH SENTENCE HAS AFFECTED AND CONTINUE TO AFFECT ALL DEMOGRAPHICS. HOWEVER, THROUGH RESEARCH, EDUCATION, IMPROVED MEDICATION, TREATMENT, AND PREVENTION EFFORTS, PEOPLE INFECTED WITH HIV AND AIDS ARE NOW LIVING LONGER AND HEALTHIER LIVES, ACCORDING TO THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL. WE WILL DISCUSS THE CURRENT STATE OF HIV AND AIDS IN ARKANSAS, AND JOINING ME TO PROVIDE US WITH AN UPDATE ARE MY GUESTS SYBIL WARD, COORDINATOR OF COMMUNITY HEALTH AT JEFFERSON COMPREHENSIVE CARE SYSTEM, INC., COURTNEY A. HAMPTON, HIV PREVENTION AND VIRAL HEPATITIS C PROGRAM MANAGER AT THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, AND CORNELIUS MABIN OF THE LIVING AFFECTED CORPORATION. BUT RIGHT NOW WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT A YOUNG LADY THAT HAS BEEN LIVING WITH AIDS FOR 17 YEARS AND HAS DEDICATED HER LIFE TO SAVE OTHERS.

WELL, I WAS LIVING HERE IN PORT CITY AND I GRADUATED FROM SCHOOL AND MY UNCLE SAID, WELL, YOU CAN COME TO FLORIDA. IT'S BETTER OPPORTUNITIES HERE. SO, I SAID, OKAY. SO, I MOVED TO FLORIDA WHEN I FINISHED SCHOOL AND I WAS WORKING AND I MET THIS NICE PERSON, AND WE STARTED DATING. AND LATER ON I HAD MOVED BACK TO ARKANSAS BECAUSE MY DAD HAD GOT SICK. AND I HAD GOT A CALL FROM HIS UNCLE SAYING, YOU BETTER GET TESTED BECAUSE SO AND SO WAS INFECTED, THE TRANSMITTER -- I CALL HIM THE TRANSMITTER WAS INFECTED. I TOLD HIM I'M ALREADY INFECTED. I ALREADY KNOW. I WENT TO THE DOCTOR AND THEY GAVE ME SOME MEDICINE THAT WAS TOO STRONG FOR MY BODY. I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO WALK AGAIN AND USE MY HANDS. I ASKED GOD TO GIVE ME THE STRENGTH TO DEAL WITH THIS DISEASE. HE DID. SO, I STARTED GETTING BETTER AND I WANTED TO FOCUS ON SOMETHING TO HELP OTHERS. I WENT AND GOT CERTIFIED TO BE A TECH AND I'VE BEEN DOING IT NOW 12 YEARS. I GO AROUND THE STATE, AND FREE HIV TESTING AND I GIVE AWAY CONDOMS. I'VE GIVEN AWAY SO MANY CONDOMS THEY CALL ME CONDOM LADY IN THE STREET. AND MY HUSBAND GETS SO UPSET BECAUSE SOMETIMES PEOPLE COME KNOCKING ON MY DOOR 10:00, 11 O'CLOCK AT NIGHT CONNIE, I NEED SOME CONDOMS. DON'T THEY KNOW THEY CAN GO TO THE STORE? WHY GO TO THE STORE WHEN YOU CAN GET THEM FREE. I SAID, NOBODY IS GOING TO LOVE ME BECAUSE I'M INFECTED. I WAS BOUND. I PRAYED TO GOD FOR GOD TO SEND ME SOMEONE. HE DID, HE SENT ME A MAN AND I TOLD HIM FROM JUMP THAT I HAD AIDS. HE SAID OH, I'LL LOVE YOU, THAT'S WHAT THEY MAKE CONDOMS FOR. ME AND HIM BEEN TOGETHER 9 YEARS AND THAT'S THE BIGGEST SUPPORTER THAT I HAVE. HE GOES WITH ME AROUND THE STATE AND DO MY TESTING EVENT AND JUST DRIVES ME AROUND. A TYPICAL DAY FOR ME IS LIKE WAKING UP, FIXING BREAKFAST, FIXING COFFEE, AND JUST -- I BE ON THE COMPUTER SOME TIME CHECKING MY E-MAILS TO SEE IF ANYBODY NEEDS ME TO COME. AND THEN I GET IN MY CAR, I TAKE MY CONDOM KIT. WHEREVER I'M AT, I'M PASSING OUT CONDOMS. I THINK I AM MAKING A DIFFERENCE. IF I ONLY TOUCH ONE PERSON EVERYWHERE I GO, I'VE MAKING A DIFFERENCE WHAT GOD LEFT ME HERE TO DO. BE STRONG, KEEP FAITH IN GOD. AND, YOU KNOW, JUST BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND BE TRUE TO PEOPLE AND YOU WILL FIND SOMEBODY BECAUSE I KNOW A LOT OF CLIENTS BE LIKE, CONNIE, I WANT TO FIND LOVE. IN ORDER FOR YOU TO FIND LOVE, YOU HAVE TO BE TRUE. YOU HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE, NOT BE ASHAMED. PEOPLE ARE STILL IN THE DARK. THEY'RE NOT EDUCATED. AND I STILL GO TO DIFFERENT PLACES AND I'M STILL TREATED BAD, BUT I STILL LOOK AT IT. THEY'RE NOT EDUCATED. KNOW YOUR STATUS. GET TESTED. YOU CAN LIVE WITH HIV AND AIDS BECAUSE I'M A LIVING WITNESS.

WHAT A TESTIMONY. BUT ONE OF THE THING SHE SAID THAT IS SO IMPORTANT IS PEOPLE ARE NOT EDUCATED. AND THAT'S WHAT WE ARE HERE TO DO, TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT HIV AND AIDS. AND FIRST I WANT TO START WITH MY PANELIST BECAUSE I KNOW YOU ALL KNOW CONNIE, YOU ALL KNOW HER. AND THE ONE THING THAT I HEAR AS A NEWS JOURNALIST IS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING POPULATIONS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE GETTING HIV/AIDS, AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN. SHE'S NOT THE ONLY ONE OUT THERE. WHY IS THAT POPULATION GROWING SO RAPIDLY?

WELL, CONNIE SAID A LOT OF IT IS LACK OF EDUCATION. I THINK ALSO SOME PEOPLE ARE IN DENIAL, THAT THEY FEEL LIKE THEY ARE NOT VULNERABLE TO POSSIBLY GETTING SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE. SO, THERE IS A LOT OF EDUCATION THAT NEEDS TO CONTINUE TO GROW. AND PEOPLE LIKE CONNIE ARE OUT THERE LITERALLY BOOTS ON THE GROUND IN A SMALL TOWN BASICALLY TRYING TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THE DISEASE.

WHEN YOU SAY IN DENIAL, NOT THINKING THAT THEY CAN GET A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE, YOU'RE MEANING THEY'RE NOT WEARING A CONDOM OR THEY'RE NOT HAVING THEIR PARTNER WEAR A CONDOM. BUT THERE IS THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT. THERE IS THE PERSON WHO IS AFFECTED WITH HIV. ARE THESE PEOPLE KNOWINGLY GIVING OTHER PEOPLE HIV?

IT'S A POSSIBILITY. OF COURSE, WE DO HAVE DISCLOSURE STATUS WHERE YOU ARE GETTING INVOLVED WITH A PERSON SEXUALLY. BUT WE KNOW SOME PEOPLE DON'T DISCLOSE. WE CAN'T REAM I PROVE HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE NOT DISCLOSING PER SE, BUT WE DO KNOW THAT IS A PART OF THE PROBLEM. BUT WE DO TRY TO CONTINUE TO EDUCATE AND TRY TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE THAT TESTING IS AN IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU TO KNOW YOUR STATUS.

I'M GOING TO -- WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT KNOWING YOUR STAT AND YOUTIONV ALL THAT. I'M GOING TO MOVE FURTHER ALONG IN JUST A SECOND. SHOULD PEOPLE BE AFRAID, AND ESPECIALLY KNOWING THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN AND ALL PEOPLE, BECAUSE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HOW THIS AFFECTS ALL DEMOGRAPHICS. BUT SHOULD PEOPLE BE AFRAID OF GETTING AIDS?

YOU CAN'T GET AIDS OR HIV FROM CASUAL CONTACT, BUT YOU CAN BE INFECTED WITH THE VIRUS THROUGH SOME VERY SPECIFIC ROUTES SUCH AS HAVING UNPROTECTED SEX, THROUGH SHARING NEEDLES, AN HIV POSITIVE MOTHER GIVING BIRTH TO A BABY OR BREAST-FEEDING, FOR EXAMPLE. SO, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT HIV IS PREVENTABLE, BUT SOMEBODY IS NEWLY INFECTED EVERY 9-1/2 MINUTES ACROSS OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY. A NEW PERSON IS INFECTED WITH THE HIV VIRUS.

AND THAT PERSON COULD BE INFECT AND HAD COULD SPREAD THE DISEASE AND NOT EVEN KNOW --

ABSOLUTELY BECAUSE HIV IS ASYMPTOMATIC WHEN YOU'RE INITIALLY INFECTED. YOU DON'T HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS. AND HIV DOES NOT HAVE A CERTAIN LOOK. IT IS HUMANITY. IT'S HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS.

I THINK IT'S INTERESTING WHEN YOU SAY IT DOES PRESIDENT HAVE A CERTAIN LOOK BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU LOOK AT SOMEONE AND THEY MUST HAVE AIDS. IF YOU LOOK AT COURTNEY ROEBUCK THERE, SHE LOOKS LIKE A HEALTHY WOMAN. NO ONE WOULD EVER LOOK AT HER AND SAY, AH, SHE'S HIV POSITIVE, SHE HAS AIDS. NO ONE WOULD DO THAT.

NO, THEY WOULDN'T.

COURTNEY, LET'S TALK ABOUT STATISTICS IN ARKANSAS. WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT TODAY IN TERMS OF THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE INFECTED, THE DEMOGRAPHICS, THE AGE GROUPS, ET CETERA?

IN ARKANSASES AS OF DECEMBER 2011, THERE ARE OVER 8,000 INDIVIDUALS THAT WERE INFECTED WITH HIV AND AIDS. OF COURSE, IN ARKANSAS AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY INFECTED BY HIV AND AIDS. WE MAKEUP ABOUT 16% OF THE POPULATION YET WE ACCOUNT FOR OVER 50% OF THE NEW CASES.

OKAY. BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER, WHY IS THAT?

ONE OF THE THING COURTNEY TALKED ABOUT, EDUCATION, LACK OF ACCESS TO CARE, NOT KNOWING, A LOT OF THINGS GO INTO THAT NUMBER OF US NOT ACTUALLY GOING IN AND GET TESTED, GETTING TESTED AT A LATER TIME.

OKAY. FINISH GIVING ME THE STATISTICS AND WE'LL TOUCH ON THAT IN JUST A MINUTE. I MEAN, BECAUSE WHEN YOU TELL ME WE MAKEUP -- AFRICAN AMERICANS MAKEUP 16% OF THE POPULATION, BUT 50% OF AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE AFFECTED WITH HIV/AIDS, ANYONE IS GOING TO RAISE A RED FLAG AND SAY, WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? AND I WANT TO REALLY CUT TO THE CHASE WITH THIS. BUT LET'S GO BACK TO THE STATISTICS AND I'M SORRY I INTERRUPTED YOU. WHAT ELSE CAN YOU TELL ME?

I WANT TO MAKE SURE WE CLARIFY NOT 50% OF AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE HIV AND AIDS. 50% OF THE NEW CASES HAD HIV AND AIDS ARE IN AFRICAN AMERICANS.

THANK YOU. OKAY. WHEN WE SPEAK OF YOUNG PEOPLE, YOUNG ADULTS VERSUS OLDER GROUPS, WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT?

WE'RE LOOKING AT THE MAJORITY OF THE CASES ARE IN THE 20 TO 34 AGE RANGE.

OKAY, OKAY, ALL RIGHT. SO, GOING BACK HERE TO OUT OF THAT 8,000 PEOPLE WHO ARE INFECTED WITH HIV, WHAT YOU'RE TELLING ME IS 50% OF THOSE ARE AFRICAN-AMERICAN?

50% OF THE NEW CASES ARE AFRICAN-AMERICAN.

OF THE NEW CASES, WHY?

I'D LIKE TO SAY, YOU KNOW I WORK FOR JEFFERSON COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. WE'RE LIKE A 40 YEAR OLD COMMUNITY HEALTH CLINIC IN RURAL ARKANSAS FROM LITTLE ROCK ALL THE WAY TO ROGERS. AND WE SAW IN LOTS OF COMMUNITIES, RURAL COMMUNITIES, COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, PEOPLE THAT MIGHT BE SOCIALLY AND HE ECONOMICALLY CHALLENGED. WE SAW MORE AND MORE SURGENCE OF LACK OF HEALTH CARE DISPROPORTION IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT AREAS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE. AND THEN WE STARTED SEEING MORE AND MORE CASES OF HIV, WHICH LED US TO DEVELOP PROGRAMS SPECIFICALLY TO REACH OUT TO FULL PREVENTION AS WELL AS HAVE SPECIALIZED CARE. WE HAVE DOCTORS THAT ARE SPECIALIZED IN DISEASES, SPECIAL DISEASES. AND WE HAD TO HAVE DEVELOPED CARE AND INCORPORATE SOCIAL WORKERS AND CASE MANAGERS, SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT COUNSELORS AS WELL AS MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS BECAUSE ALL OF THAT EMERGED AND WE SAW THE NEED FROM THERE. AND THEN WE SEE PEOPLE THAT THINK THAT YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU'RE GAY. BUT IF YOU'RE HETEROSEXUAL AND YOU'RE HAVING MULTIPLE SEX PARTNERS YOU'RE NOT AT RISK. WE STILL -- ALL OF US AGGRESSIVELY INVOLVED WITH PREVENTION AND PEOPLE STILL ASK US, CAN YOU GET IT FROM MOSQUITOS? MOSQUITOES AREN'T THE CONCERN.

EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT. I UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU SAY, WHEN YOU PUT IT THAT WAY, ONE OF THE THINGS I'M CURIOUS ABOUT, CORNELIUS, BECAUSE WE WERE SITTING HERE A YEAR AGO TALKING ABOUT THE SAME SUBJECT, HAVE THE NUMBERS GONE UP?

WELL, WE CONTINUE TO SEE SOME INCREASES AND SOME SPIKES. TO SYBIL'S POINT, AS WE PEEL BACK THIS WHOLE COMPLEX ISSUE, IT IS THE SOCIAL DETERMINANTS THAT WE'VE NOW DECIDED THAT'S FEEDING A LOT OF THING. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE'S HOUSING, THEIR EDUCATION LEVEL, THEIR FOOD, THEIR ACCESS TO FOOD, TREATMENT, EMPLOYMENT, ALL OF THESE THINGS WE'VE FOUND TO BE A PART OF THE MIX THAT ALLOW PEOPLE SOMETIMES TO BE INVOLVED WITH HISS CAN I, HIGH-RISK SEX. WHETHER YOU ARE A SECOND WORKER, MAYBE DOING SECOND, MAYBE YOU'RE DOING THING BECAUSE YOU ARE SIMPLY UNEDUCATED. THERE IS A WHOLE MIX THAT IS NOW INVOLVED WITH THIS. WE ALWAYS THINK -- WE DON'T WANT TO JUST TRY TO DO PREVENTION FOR DISEASE. WE NEED TO ACTUALLY TALK TO THE PEOPLE, WHAT THEIR NEEDS ARE. WE NEED TO STOP JUST TREATING DISEASE AND DEAL WITH PEOPLE AND SEE WHAT THEIR GREATER NEEDS ARE AND WHY THEY'RE INVOLVED WITH THIS RISKY SEX OR HIGH RISK SEX THAT COULD POSSIBLY LEAD THEM TO ACQUIRE HIV. WE KNOW THROUGH STDS OR STIS. SYPHILIS CAN CERTAINLY BE A CONDUIT TO POLY HAVING HIV. SO, THEREFORE, YOU'VE GOT CO-INFECTIONS. WE KNOW SPECIFICALLY RIGHT NOW THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE CO-INFECTIONS. THEY HAVE SYPHILIS, THEY ALSO HAVE HIV.

ARE THERE SYMPTOMS MORE PRONE, PEOPLE'S IMMUNE SYSTEM MORE PRONE TO GET THESE DISEASES THAN OTHERS?

IF YOU CURRENTLY HAVE A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE, YOU ARE MORE PRONE TO HAVE HIV.

WHICH COULD ANSWER WHY SOME PEOPLE HAVE MULTIPLE DISEASES.

SURE. AS YOU LOOK FURTHER WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE OLDER, WE'VE BEEN AROUND 30-YEAR, WE HAVE PEOPLE DEALING WITH AGING ISSUES. SO, THEY MAY HAVE HIV, BUT THEY HAVE ARTHRITIS ISSUES, THEY MAY HAVE HYPERTENSION ISSUES. THEY MAY HAVE CHOLESTEROL ISSUES. RIGHT NOW THE TREATMENT IS ACROSS THE BOARD PRETTY MUCH SO, BUT ULTIMATELY WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE PEOPLE AND THE PERSON AND SEE WHAT THEIR PRIORITIES ARE BECAUSE SOMETIMES IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO BE ASSIGNING HOUSING, GOING TO THE DOCTOR IS NOT HIGH ON YOUR PRIORITY LIST.

AND WHEN YOU'RE TALKING IN TERMS OF, SYBIL, WHAT YOU WERE REFERRING TO WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LOWER INCOME, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WHO ARE DEALING WITH THAT, HEALTH CARE IN GENERAL IS AN ISSUE LET ALONE, I MEAN, FOR ALL OF THIS KIND OF FALLS INTO PLACE, IT STANDS TO REASON WHY SOMETHING SUCH AS HIV/AIDS MAY BE OVERLOOKED BECAUSE THEY'RE OVERLOOKING HYPERTENSION. THEY'RE OVERLOOKING DIABETES. THEY'RE OVERLOOKING A LOT OF DIFFERENT THING BECAUSE THEY HAVE SO MANY OTHER THINGS THAT THEY FEEL ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN HEALTH. SO, YEAH, SO, THERE'S A LOT FOR YOU TO DO. BUT I ALSO THINK YOU RAISE AN INTERESTING POINT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT, FIRST OF ALL, PREVENTION, PREVENTION, KNOW YOUR STATUS, KNOW YOUR STATUS. BUT YOU HAVE THIS AGING POPULATION THAT IS HIV/AIDS INFECTED AND THEY'RE DEALING WITH SOME OF THE ISSUES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, SOME OF THE DISEASES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. NOW YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THEIR TREATMENT FOR HIV/AIDS WORKS AS WELL AS THE BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE, THE DIABETES MEDICATION AND SO MANY OTHER THINGS. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

IT'S REALLY GETTING A GREAT MEDICAL TEAM. WHEN YOU FIND A GREAT INFECTIOUS DISEASE DOCTOR, A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN, IF YOU NEED A SOCIAL WORKER, REALLY TO DEAL WITH THIS WHOLE DISEASE AND THIS CHRONIC DISEASE, YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE AN EFFECTIVE TEAM. YOU'VE GOT TO BUILD THAT TEAM. FIND THE BEST DOCTOR THAT YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH, UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT RELATIONSHIP S. YOU HAVE TO BE HERE FOR YOUR DRUG REGIMEN. SO, BUILDING A GREAT MEDICAL TEAM AROUND YOU AND MOVING FORWARD, YOU KNOW. THAT IS REALLY -- THAT'S WHAT I ALWAYS DESCRIBE THE INDIVIDUAL, HOW DO YOU DO IT? FIND THE BEST POSSIBLE TEAM FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU CAN LIVE A LONG HEALTHY LIFE.

AND THAT IS ACTUALLY PART OF A SOLUTION THAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR TOWARD NATIONWIDE WHEN YOU LOOK AT HEALTH CARE REFORM. EVEN WHEN YOU LOOK AT COMMUNITY HEALTH CLINICS. NOW IT HAS MOVED TOWARD BEING FEDERALLY QUALIFIED COMMUNITY HEALTH CLINICS WHERE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL HOME, WHERE YOU GO ONE PLACE, WHETHER IT'S ELECTRONIC RECORDS AND A PERSON IS A PRIMARY HEALTH CARE PROVIDER. SO, THEY KNOW YOUR ISSUES SUCH AS DIABETES, SUCH AS HYPERTENSION. IF YOU HAVE ANY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, ANY SUBSTANCE ABUSE ISSUES, WHERE YOU CAN GO ONE PLACE THAT CAN ADDRESS ALL OF IT. AND NOW WITH THE AIDS, NATIONAL AIDS STRATEGY, WHAT WE'RE LOOKING TOWARDS IS TREATMENT IS PREVENTION BECAUSE WHEN YOU GET A PERSON THAT IS GETTING ALL OF THAT MEDICAL CARE ADDRESSED AND THEIR VIRAL LOAD GOES DOWN TO UNDETECTABLE, THAT MINIMIZES THEIR ABILITY TO TRANSMIT THE DISEASE TO ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL AND IMPACTS THE STAT.

THAT'S A HUGE THING WHEN YOU SAY -- AND WE'RE TALKING HIV POSITIVE AS WELL AS AIDS, WHEN THE VIRUS GETS TO THE POINT WHERE IT'S NONDETECTABLE. WE SPOKE IN THE VERY BEGINNING OF THIS PROGRAM HOW PEOPLE ARE LIVING WITH AIDS NOW. IT USED TO BE A DEATH SENTENCE. AND THAT'S NO LONGER THE CASE. BUT SOMETIMES WHEN I SAY THAT, I FEEL LIKE, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL BECAUSE THEN PEOPLE WON'T CARE ANY MORE. SO WHAT IF I GET IT? I CAN LIVE WITH IT. BUT WE DON'T WANT TO REALLY SEND THAT MESSAGE, DO WE?

NO, THAT'S NOT THE MESSAGE WE WANT TO SEND. WE WANT TO SEND THAT WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU KNOW YOUR STATUS BY GETTING TESTED. BUT THE ULTIMATE THING YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT, IF YOU GET TESTED WE HE DON'T WANT YOU TO FEEL STIGMATIZED. WE WANT TO DEAL WITH HOMOPHOBIA. WE WANT TO DEAL WITH THE GREATER PUBLIC'S UNDERSTANDING THAT IT'S A CHRONIC DISEASE AND THAT IT'S A MANAGEABLE DISEASE. THAT'S THE MESSAGE WE'RE TRYING TO SEND.

ARE PEOPLE STILL IN THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, PEOPLE STILL LOOK AT LOOK AT PEOPLE WHO ARE HIV POSITIVE OR HAVE AIDS, DO THEY LOOK AT THEM, OH, MY GOSH, I COULD GET IT? IF I SIT NEXT TO YOU I CAN GET IT?

YOU CAN'T GET HIV FROM CASUAL KISSING, YOU CAN'T GET HIV THAT WAY. BUT STILL A LOT OF ARKANSANS DON'T KNOW THAT. THERE IS A LOT OF STIGMA AND MYTHS OUT THERE ABOUT HIV AND AIDS.

SINCE THERE ARE SO MANY MISCONCEPTIONS, HOW DO WE BATTLE THIS? THIS SEEMS TO ME -- JUST SITTING HERE TALKING TO YOU ABOUT THIS, IT SEEMS MAMMOTH. YOU GUYS REALLY HAVE YOUR WORK CUT OUT FOR YOU. SO, HOW ARE WE BATTLING THE MYTHS? HOW ARE WE BATTLING PEOPLE BEING UNEDUCATED ABOUT HOW THEY CAN GET IT? WHAT ARE WE DOING SPECIFICALLY?

WE HAVE TO BE RELENTLESS IN EDUCATION. WE'VE GOT TO GO TO THE CHURCHES, TO THE TEMPLES, THE SYNAGOGUES, THE MOSQUES. WE HAVE TO GO TO THE SCHOOLS, HEALTH FAIR AND COMMUNITY EVENTS. A WE'RE DOING THIS?

WE'RE DOING THIS ~. WE AGGRESSIVELY DO THIS AND WE CANNOT STOP. WE DO IT WHEN IT'S INCONVENIENT. WE TEASE COURTNEY ALL THE TIME FOR GOING TO A COMMUNITY EVENT ON CHRISTMAS EVE TO DO HIV PREVENTION, BUT IT'S JUST THAT IMPORTANT. AND IN PART IS WHAT HE WITH DO TESTING AND TEACHING. I TELL PEOPLE ALL THE TIME I WAS BLESSED WITH THREE SONS. I TAUGHT ALL OF THEM TO BRUSH THEIR TEETH DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY. NOW IT'S A WORKING PARRTH OF THEIR LIFE. THEY BRUSH THEIR TEETH, THEY'RE GROWN. WE HAVE TO DO THE SAME THING IN PRESERVING LIVES AND PROMOTING HEALTH AND WELLNESS ~ IF WE HAVE TO TEACH THE PREVENTION AND THE TRUTH. NOT WHAT TO FEAR AND WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR PREVENTION.

HOW DO YOU MAKE PEOPLE WANT TO GET TESTED?

FOR ONE THING, JEFFERSON BASICALLY HAS HAD A BILL BOARD CAMPAIGN THAT'S AROUND THE CITY IN LITTLE ROCK. THAT IS ONE THING CURRENTLY, THE BILLBOARDS OUT THERE. WE'RE TRYING TO -- WE'RE TRYING TO WORK IN SOCIAL MEDIA AND CRAFT MESSAGES THERE AND TRYING TO OUTREACH TO INDIVIDUALS THAT YOUTH, MOBILE YOUTH GROUP, THOUGH IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA RIDGE. THAT'S THE MOBILE SET.

IS THAT WORKING SOCIAL MEDIA?

I FEEL IT'S WORKING GREAT BECAUSE OF THE FACT WE'RE GETTING DIFFERENT PEOPLE WHO ARE ASKING THE QUESTIONS, WHO ARE COMING IN FOR TESTING, WHO ARE CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT SHOULD THEY DO, WHAT THE NEXT STEPS WAS. SO, WHEN WE SEE THAT HAPPENING, WE WANT TO TRY TO BUILD ON THAT. FOR US IT'S BEEN A YEAR LONG PROJECT TO SEE, CAN WE MAKE THAT WORK? CAN WE REACH OUT THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE OF FACEBOOK AND ALL THE OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.

IT'S BEEN A YEAR LONG PROGRAM. CAN WE MAKE THAT WORK? CAN WE?

I BELIEVE WE CAN MAKE THAT WORK. WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO HAVE IT FUNDED. WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO FIND THE BEST POSSIBLE RESOURCES TO PUT INTO IT. WE'VE GOT TO TRY TO SEE WHAT OUR BEST OUTCOMES AS WE ANALYZE AND ASSESS ALL THOSE DATA GATHERING THINGS THERE. A LOT OF THIS HAS GONE ON AROUND THE COUNTRY. THERE'S A LOT OF SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS THAT HAVE BEEN TREMENDOUS AND THAT HAVE WORKED.

WE NEED TO -- AND I DON'T MEAN TO CUT YOU OFF, BUT WE NEED TO HIT ON THIS, THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AS PEOPLE CALL IT "OBAMACARE". HOW DOES THAT AFFECT THIS? DOES IT MAKE THINGS BETTER?

I THINK IT DOES MAKE THINGS BETTER BECAUSE AT OUR AGENCY, WE THOUGHT BEING A PART -- AS AN AWARDEE OF THE CONTRACT, BECAUSE OF OUR OUTREACH INTO THE LGBT COMMUNITY AND DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO DO HIV, WE CERTAINLY THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT THEY LEARN HOW THEY CAN GET AFFORDABLE INSURANCE. MANY INDIVIDUALS ARE UNDER THE POVERTY LEVEL, MANY OF THEM FALL IN THAT CATEGORY. WE WANT TO EDUCATE THEM THAT IF YOU DO NOT HAVE INSURANCE, THERE IS A POSSIBILITY YOU COULD AFFORD THIS NOW UNDER 130% OF THE POVERTY LEVEL. THERE ARE OTHER THINGS AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUAL WHO TEST FOR HIV. THERE ARE VARIOUS THINGS A GROUP CAN APPLY FOR, PATS, PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAMS. ALL THESE DIFFERENT THING, BUT WE CERTAINLY WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND -- AND UNDERSTAND HOW IT CAN BE BENEFICIAL TO THEM.

TESTING IS FREE WITH THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT, CORRECT?

TESTING IS FREE AT THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT. WE HAVE OVER 73 HEALTH CLINICS THROUGHOUT ARKANSAS AND YOU WOULD HAVE TO CALL TO GET AN APPOINTMENT. YOU CAN GET TESTED ANYWHERE. ALSO, WE FUND COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS TO PROVIDE HIV TESTING AND COUNSELING SERVICES. JEFFERSON, ONE OF OUR GRANTEES AS WELL AS LIVING AFFECTED CORPORATION.

THE THING IS, THE THING THAT COMES TO MIND IS I WANTED TO GET TESTED, I DON'T KNOW THAT I WANT TO GO TO THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT BECAUSE I DON'T WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT I WANT TO BE TESTED OR WHAT MY RESULTS ARE GOING TO BE. SO, HOW DO YOU GET PEOPLE IN THE DOOR?

WITH US BEING PARTNERS, BEING THE GRANTEE WITH THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, AT JEFFERSON WE DO FREE TESTING. WE'RE GRANTEES. AND WITH THE BILL BOARD CAMPAIGN THAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW, WE WILL REACH PEOPLE THAT WE WOULD NOT SEE, MIGHT NOT BE AT THAT CHURCH OR SCHOOL, BUT THEY'LL SEE THE BILLBOARDS, THEY'LL SEE THE SIGN WITH THE TELEPHONE NUMBER AND KNOW THEY CAN COME IN FOR CONFIDENTIAL TESTS AND WHEN THEY COME TO OUR OFFICES OR CLINIC, NOBODY IS GOING TO KNOW IT'S FOR AN HIV TEST EXCEPT THEM.

OKAY. I WANT YOU TO DO ME A FAVOR HERE. LET'S PRETEND THAT THERE ARE VIEWERS OUT THERE WATCHING, YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE, OKAY. THE PEOPLE THAT YOU WANT TO GET THE MESSAGE TO THAT YOU WANT TO EDUCATE, OKAY, THEY'RE LISTENING TO YOU RIGHT NOW. WHAT DO YOU TELL THEM?

I WANT TO TELL YOU, DO NOT BE AFRAID. IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU KNOW YOUR STATUS BECAUSE KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR STATUS, YOU COULD BE ALLOWING THING TO GO ON WITH YOUR BODY YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND AND YOU COULD INFECT SOMEBODY THAT YOU CARE ABOUT. IF YOU KNOW YOUR STATUS, THERE IS MEDICAL TREATMENTS THAT AREN'T NEARLY HARSH LIKE THEY WERE BEFORE IN THE PAST. YOU CAN GET CARE AND YOU CAN GET DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO NAVIGATE THIS ENTIRE SYSTEM. YOU CAN SAVE YOUR OWN LIFE AND THOSE THAT YOU CARE ABOUT. COME IN AND GET A TEST NOW. IT'S FREE.

OKAY, LET'S BE REAL. MEN ON THE DOWN LOW, OKAY. I THINK OF CONNIE, THE WOMAN THAT WE SAW IN THAT VIDEO. MY GUESS IS, AND I COULD BE WRONG, YOU CAN CORRECT ME, BUT CONNIE PROBABLY HAD SEX WITH A MAN WHO WAS INFECTED WHO DID NOT TELL HER, HE DID NOT KNOW HE WAS DOING WHATEVER. HOW DOES A WOMAN PROTECT HERSELF FROM A MAN ON THE DOWN LOW?

BASICALLY ENGAGE THAT IN CONVERSATION. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BASICALLY ASK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, YOUR SEXUAL --

YOU'RE GOING TO ASK, HE'S GOING TO SAY, HOW DARE YOU OFFEND ME E. YOU'RE INSULTING ME AND SHE LIKES HIM. HOW DO YOU DO THAT NOW?

I WANT TO SAY YOU WANT TO BE SEXUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF. IF YOU FEEL ANYWAY POSSIBLE THAT PERSON IS NOT BEING REAL WITH YOU, ASK THEM TO COME IN AND BE TESTED WITH YOU. THAT WOULD BE A GREAT WAY. IF HE SHOWS RESISTANCE OR HIS TANS, THEN PERHAPS MAYBE YOU NEED TO TALK TO HIM MORE ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND HOW IT'S GOING TO DEVELOP, ESPECIALLY DEVELOP SEXUALLY ~.

OKAY, I'M GLAD WE GOT THAT OUT THERE. THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS, YOU'VE GOT TO TELL PEOPLE. YOU HAVE TO BE HONEST ABOUT THIS. WE ONLY HAVE ABOUT TWO MINUTES LEFT. SO, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO LEAVE PEOPLE WITH? WHAT IS THE MESSAGE HERE? OTHER THAN WHAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT?

ONE THING I WANT TO SAY IS YOU ARE WORTH A FREE HIV TEST. AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO START A RELATIONSHIP THAN FOR TWO PEOPLE TO COME DOWN TOGETHER, GET A FREE HIV TEST AND KNOW WHERE THEY STAND.

THEN YOU CAN FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOUR LOVE MAKING. YOU CAN FEEL GOOD ABOUT BEING TOGETHER BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU'RE BOTH SAFE.

AND MAYBE YOU'RE LESS LIKELY TO VENTURE OUT THERE WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL.

ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?

I THINK IT'S KEY, THOUGH, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT MEN THAT HAVE SEX WITH MEN THAT IT'S NOT WHO YOU IDENTIFY AS THAT PUTS YOU AT RISK FOR HIV, BUT IT'S THOSE ACTIVITIES THAT YOU ENGAGE IN. SO, BEING A HETEROSEXUAL WOMAN, IF YOU'RE ENGAGING IN THOSE HIGH-RISK ACTIVITIES, I COULD BE JUST AS MUCH RISK AS A MAN THAT HAS SEX WITH MEN. I WANT TO ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO COME OUT AND GET TESTED. IT'S FREE. LIKE SYBIL SAID, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

AND I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR, NOTHING WRONG WITH HOME ~ HOME ~ HOMOSEXUALITY. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT NOT GETTING INFECTED WITH THE DISEASE THAT IS GOING TO LAST, AS IT STANDS NOW, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

CORRECT. AND BASICALLY FROM OUR STANDPOINT IN OUR CAMPAIGN, REASON TO LIVE, WE WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT ONE OF YOUR REASONS TO LIVE IS TO KNOW YOUR STATUS AND BEING RESPONSIBLE ABOUT IT. UNDERSTANDING THIS IS' CARE, THERE'S HELP, THERE'S INFORMATION, AND THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING AND READY TO LINK YOU TO CARE IF YOU PERHAPS TEST POSITIVE.

NOW YOU CAN GO ON THE INTERNET. IT'S SO EASY TO FIND OUT INFORMATION. AND YOU CAN GET TESTS THROUGH THE MAIL. YOU CAN DO THAT, TOO.

YES, IT'S A WHOLE 'NOTHER ISSUE.

THAT'S ANOTHER SHOJI. SHOW.

NEXT YEAR WE'LL COME BACK AND TALK ABOUT THAT. I WANT TO THANK MY GUESTS. YOU'RE A WEALTH OF INFORMATION. HOPEFULLY WE TOUCHED SOME LIVES. WE CAN HELP SOME PEOPLE AVOID GETTING HIV AND AIDS AND IF THEY DO HAVE IT, THEY CAN LEARN HOW TO LIVE WITH IT AND LEARN HOW TO NOT INFECTS OTHERS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE. I'M DONNA TERRELL. HAVE A GOOD EVENING. ♪ ♪