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WNCAP Celebrates World AIDS Day
 
 World AIDS Day was on December 1st, and this year WNCAP celebrated with a complimentary Community Breakfast Celebration featuring speakers, socializing, and of course, breakfast. The event was a smashing success, with WNCAP staff, community partners, and longtime WNCAP allies in attendance to mourn those we've lost, celebrate how far we've come, and advocate for a future with no new cases of HIV. The event even made the local news!
 
The breakfast event, which was free and open to the public, ran from 8am-10am on Friday, December 1st. It was hosted by President of the Blue Ridge Pride Center Board of Directors Michael David Carpenter, who joked that he "felt like a game show host" as he introduced the various speakers.
 
Reverend Brian Combs, Founding Pastor of the Haywood Street Congregation, offered a moving invocation where he spoke about our common humanity and mentioned the tools that will keep HIV at bay, such as condom distribution and needle exchange programs.
 
 
WNCAP Executive Director Brodderick Roary gave a moving speech where he emphasized that "treatment is prevention" for HIV because a person with an undetectable viral load has zero chance of transmitting the virus.
 
Several WNCAP staff spoke about the wide variety of services WNCAP provides, including Prevention programs, Pharmacy Services, and Case Management. WNCAP Medical Case Manager Supervisor Katherine Ponder individually thanked each of the WNCAP Case Managers and presented them with a small token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication.
 
 
Medical Case Manager James Plunkett then spoke movingly about his experience as a WNCAP Case Manager and the role he sees WNCAP playing in dismantling structures of oppression. The full text of his remarks can be found here.
 
WNCAP Community Resource Coordinator Chris Winebrenner expressed gratitude for all WNCAP volunteers, and presented the 2017 Mark Doucet Volunteer of the Year Award to Gil Calderwood, who then spoke briefly about how, despite his many hours of selfless volunteer work, he still feels like he's "not doing enough". More details about the Volunteer of the Year Award are in the story below.
 
Throughout these various presentations, longtime WNCAP allies in the audience took the microphone to give anecdotes about WNCAP's past. Asheville LGBTQ activist and community organizer Jerry Conner spoke about the early AIDS epidemic in Asheville, while former WNCAP Case Manager and HIV advocate Hope Bates gave a powerful account of how WNCAP helped her cousin die with dignity and comfort in the early 1990s. A third, Bill Petz, made everyone laugh as he explained that in the early days of AIDS activism, he was often "the only straight guy in the room", but that he felt compelled to stay and make change.
 
 
The morning was considerably brightened by the Beer City Sisters, the Asheville chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who are frequent partners of WNCAP in spreading education and prevention tools. The Community Breakfast Celebration was generously sponsored by WNCAP, Blue Ridge Pride Center, DoubleTree by Hilton, and Sun Trust.
Federal Policy
Tax Reform Bill Draws Opposition from AIDS Advocacy Groups
 
Since efforts to dismantle Obamacare imploded in September, Republicans - who control the White House, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives - have focused on tax reform. A wide variety of proposals have been distilled into two bills, one passed by the House a few weeks ago and one passed by the Senate last week. A conference committee featuring House and Senate members must now hammer out the differences between their two bills to produce a single piece of legislation that can be passed by both chambers and signed into law by President Trump.
 
Since details of the legislation began emerging several weeks ago, many prominent AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) have come out against the bill. On December 2nd, AIDS United, NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors, NMAC, and The AIDS Institute collectively released a joint statement expressing opposition to the Senate version of the bill.
 
The most prominent point of contention is that the Senate bill would repeal the individual mandate, the law that requires all Americans to have health insurance coverage. It is estimated that without the individual mandate, premiums could skyrocket, especially for people who have pre-existing conditions like HIV/AIDS. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the individual mandate would effectively take insurance away from 13 million Americans over the next decade.
 
The other reason this bill is opposed by many ASOs is that it will significantly increase the deficit if it is passed. Many speculate, and some Republican lawmakers have said outright, that an increase in the deficit will spur Congress to enact deep spending cuts in the future to offset the cost of the tax cuts. This could include cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and HIV research and funding, all of which are deeply important to people living with HIV.
Merry & Bright
2017 Holiday Gift Drive is WNCAP's Most Successful Ever
 
This is truly the season of giving. WNCAP's annual Merry & Bright Holiday Gift Drive is the most successful ever, raising over $3,000 in donations and in-kind presents for disadvantaged children in our community.
 
 
Our Mobile Rainbow Holiday Tree On Wheels travelled across Asheville, making stops at O.Henry's, Edna's of Asheville, and Red Lobster. At each location, patrons and employees alike stepped up to make a child's wish come true this holiday season. 
 
Thank you so much to everyone who shopped or donated. Here at WNCAP, we believe that every little boy or girl deserves a Merry & Bright holiday, regardless of income!
We  Volunteers
International Volunteer Day is December 5th
 
Tuesday, December 5th is International Volunteer Day, and we want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all of our wonderful WNCAP volunteers who enable us to serve the community.
 
At WNCAP's World AIDS Day Community Breakfast Celebration, we awarded the 2017 Mark Doucet Volunteer of the Year Award to Gil Calderwood for his dedicated service to people living with HIV/AIDS in Western North Carolina.
 
Gil has covered the front desk at our office, staffed events we have held, and generally been a dedicated and passionate volunteer. We could not carry on our work without people like Gil. Thank you!
Liberty & Justice For All
Human Rights Day is
December 10th
 
Sunday, December 10th is Human Rights Day. It marks the 70th anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being.
 
At WNCAP, we believe that all people deserve to have their inherent human rights respected, regardless of HIV status, immigration status, or housing status. Join us in using the hashtag #StandUp4HumanRights to promote the rights of those most disadvantaged in our community.
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Eblen Charities Offers Heating Assistance to Families in Need
 
Want heating assistance this winter? Just in time for the cold weather, Eblen-Kimmel Charities is re-launching their Heating Assistance Program.
 
Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, you can go to the Eblen building in Westgate Shopping Center (50 Westgate Parkway, Asheville) to apply. Bring a photo ID, Social Security card for every person in your household, a current utility bill and proof of income. Stay warm!
 
Home For The Holidays
2017 WNCAP Holiday Hours
 
The Holidays are coming up soon, and we want to let everyone know when WNCAP will and will not be open.
 
Wednesday, December 20th will be the last day of the year that the WNCAP offices are open. From Thursday, December 21st through Monday, January 1st, the WNCAP offices will be closed. Please call (828) 252-7489 with any questions. Happy Holidays!
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Western North Carolina AIDS Project  |  554 Fairview Rd.  |  Asheville, NC 28803
http://wncap.org
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