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Finding a Heartbeat after Pulse
It's official: we're almost halfway through LGBT Pride month. This past weekend, protestors across the country marched for equality and recognition, and yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy in Orlando, Florida. As WNCAP's own Michael Harney read the names of Pulse victims at intimate Asheville favorite, O'Henry's, there was a profound sadness in the packed bar. But underlying that very sadness was something just as important: resiliency and the unwillingness to forget. Those are things with which the HIV/AIDS community is quite familiar. For decades, our advocates have lost loved ones to a virus that was long neglected by researchers and government officials--and even today, we aren't safe from budget cuts and threats to our resources. And yet we never succumb to feelings of desperation or hopelessness. 
 
"If Pulse serves as any reminder, it's that we aren't done fighting. We are never done fighting until every last person in this world is accepted and loved for who they are."
- Brandon Wolf, survivor
 
Brandon Wolf echoes a sentiment long-held by the HIV/AIDS community, and LGBTQ community as a whole--which is that our ability to survive and thrive relies on our love for one another. So we remember those we have lost, and refuse to forget their names. We also commit ourselves to moving forward and advocating for one another with every fiber of our beings. 
 
Luckily, we aren't alone in this constant struggle. Read about a family of youthful advocates who donated their lemonade stand proceeds to end HIV in our community, RSVP to attend our National HIV Testing Day event, learn about how long-term HIV survivors have created a safe space for themselves, and get excited about the winner of the Signature Piece competition for this year's Raise Your Hand Auction & Gala. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we're so happy to roll up our sleeves with you.
IN THIS ISSUE
Finding a Heartbeat after Pulse
The Latest from WNCAP
Local Youth Are Ending HIV--One Lemonade at a Time
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day
We Have a Winner!
From the Blog
The Latest from WNCAP
"Demand Outpacing Supply for Asheville Needle Exchange Program" 
The needle exchange program run out of WNCAP, intended to serve the 18 counties of western North Carolina, often faces shortages in supply. For insight into the extraordinary demand for safe and unused needles in our community and from travelers across state lines, Blue Ridge Public Radio recently spoke to our own “Rubber Man” Michael Harney. 
 
"Long-Term HIV Survivors Lead the Way in Support"
Now more than ever, we are seeing an increase in long-term survivors. WNCAP HIV Support Group Facilitators Katie and Julia talk community, politics, and stigma that our clients face.
Community News
Local Youth Are Ending HIV--One Lemonade at a Time
Nathaniel, 11, and Gabrielle, 6, are already years ahead of many of us when it comes to HIV awareness. As part of a school project, these Asheville youth had to choose a local nonprofit to research and support, and went with the organization that played the biggest role for their family.  "This is actually saving people's lives," says Nathaniel of WNCAP. 
A family of young HIV and Hepatitis C advocates
 
Prevention Specialist Tracey visited the family and broke down the science and the stigma in a family-friendly talk. And while Nathaniel and Gabrielle were quick to grasp that people living with HIV can still be our friends and deserve a hug as much as anyone else, they were just as quick to break out a soccer ball and be kids. Sticking to the background, the only thing mom had to say is, "I'm just really proud of my kids." We certainly don't blame her. 
Save the Date
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day
National HIV Testing Day
 
1 in 7 people with HIV don't know they have it.
 
On National HIV Testing Day, WNCAP is bringing testing to the people! Join us for free rapid HIV testing on Tuesday, June 27th from 1:30-4pm at Firestorm Books & Coffee. Trained Prevention Specialists will be available to answer any and all questions about HIV in a non-judgmental, confidential manner. To learn more and stay up-to-date on this event, follow its Facebook page.
 
Want to get social? Follow #HIVTestingDay and #NHTD on Twitter and join the conversation!
Raise Your Hand Auction & Gala
We Have a Winner!
It's so hard to keep a secret, isn't it? Today was a big day at WNCAP for the Raise Your Hand Auction and Gala. Stay tuned for our big announcement of the 2017 Signature Piece winner shortly. 
 
Last year's Signature Piece winner Constance Williams surveys art across the WNCAP office.
 
Thank you to everyone to submitted art to this year's Signature Piece competition! 
 
Get involved in this year's auction.
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Western North Carolina AIDS Project  •  554 Fairview Rd.  •  Asheville, NC 28803

http://wncap.org

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