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Asheville Yoga Center Chooses WNCAP As Jan. Charity of the Month! 
WNCAP is thrilled to announce that Asheville Yoga Center has chosen WNCAP as its Charity of the Month! Donations will be collected through January at their studio & boutique, and on Thursday, January 31, 10% of the Yoga Center’s proceeds will be generously contributed to WNCAP along with a direct contribution of $250.
 
In recent years, yoga has been increasingly utilized by people living with HIV/AIDS for its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Yoga reduces stress, which is proven to have a negative impact on the body’s immune system. Yoga can also improve a person’s emotional state and outlook on life, critical factors in combating a chronic disease like HIV.
 
Help us thank Asheville Yoga Center by checking out their fantastic selection of classes, especially in the month of January. Helping WNCAP has never felt so good!
 
Surviving & Thriving
A Beginner's Guide To Your Blood Work
 
By: Shane Dickerson, former WNCAP Client
Reprinted from the Winter 2019 issue of the WNCAP Client Newsletter "RISE ABOVE"
 
So… you just found out you’re HIV positive? You might be scared or confused – you may even wonder if you’re going to die. Thankfully, due to the tireless determination of activists and the steady march of medical science, we know that HIV is not even close to a death sentence. As long as you get connected to medical care, take your medicine as prescribed, and have your blood tested regularly, there is no reason for HIV to dominate your life. But… what exactly do those numbers you patiently waited for all day actually mean?
 
This article is certainly no substitute for a conversation with your doctor or nurse. But as a patient, the most important two numbers you should know are your viral load and your CD4 count. Viral load is literally how many copies of the HIV virus are found in a small amount of your blood. This is the number that you want to go down because the higher it is, the greater the chance of having serious health problems.
 
 
If your viral load drops below a certain point (anywhere from 20 to 200 copies, depending on the sensitivity of the test) you may become “undetectable.” Once you are undetectable, you can no longer transmit HIV sexually. This relatively recent knowledge is often called “U=U” or “Undetectable Equals Untransmittable”.
 
The CD4 count is a fancy name for your white blood cells. If you recall your high school biology, white blood cells help fight off unwanted guests in the body – everything from the common cold to Ebola. So, if you’re living with HIV, you want your CD4 count to be higher to assure your body can get rid of intruders.
 
A healthy immune system normally has a CD4 count ranging from 500 to 1,600 cells per cubic milliliter of blood (cells/mm3), according to HIV.gov, but again, every body is different and you should talk to your doctor. You want your CD4 count to be like Goldilocks: not too high, not too low, but just right. If the numbers are too high, that could indicate an infection somewhere in the body. Too low a number might mean your medication isn’t working properly.
 
This can all seem very confusing, but trust me – over time it gets easier. Get connected to medical care, take your medication as prescribed, and stay informed, and you will not just be living with HIV – you will be thriving!
Dine Out. End HIV.
Dining Out For Life® 2019 is Thursday, April 25
 
Mark your calendars for Dining Out For Life 2019 on Thursday, April 25.
 
As most of our faithful e-newsletter readers already know, Dining Out For Life (DOFL) is an annual event benefiting HIV Prevention & Care that takes place in nearly 50 cities across the nation. This year, Dining Out For Life is on Thursday, April 25, 2019In Asheville, DOFL will once again be underwritten by our longtime Presenting Sponsor, Prestige Subaru.
 
On that day, participating restaurants will donate 20% of their gross sales to WNCAP. Resources generated by Dining Out For Life help people survive and thrive in a world where there remains ample stigma surrounding HIV.

In 2018, thanks to the generosity of restaurants, diners, and volunteer Ambassadors, DOFL was honored with a “Best Of WNC” award by Mountain Xpress for Best Local Fundraising Event. Asheville also ranked in the top 10 DOFL cities in 2018 - outranking New York and Chicago! That is truly a testament to the community spirit (and love of fine local cuisine) that distinguishes our beautiful home.

 

Volunteer Ambassadors are critical to the success of Dining Out For Life. Ambassadors invite their family, friends, and colleagues to come eat out at their assigned (or chosen) restaurant. They greet diners, thank them for supporting the event, and offer donation envelopes which will enter diners into a raffle for three amazing grand prizes. Ambassadors make a critical difference in the lives of people living with HIV in our community. And it's a lot of fun! If you're interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email Chris at wncapvolunteer@wncap.org or call (828) 252-7489.


Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 25, 2019 and make your reservations today for Dining Out For Life. Simply dine out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three!) and you just may save a life. To find out more about the event and to see the list of 2019 Participating Restaurants, visit wncap.org/DOFL.

Celebrate, Commemorate, Advocate
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is February 7
 
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) is a commemorative day designed to promote HIV testing and treatment among Black people in the United States. NBHAAD was founded in 1999 as a national response to the growing HIV and AIDS epidemic in African American communities.
 
Rates of HIV/AIDS are disproportionately higher in the Black community compared to the general population. Structural inequality in the healthcare sector, dense sexual networks among Black men who have sex with men (MSM), and higher rates of incarceration all contribute to this disparity. 
 
NBHAAD leverages a national platform to help combat the stigma of HIV so that rates of new infections will decline and those living with HIV/AIDS can access treatment.
 
#NBHAAD
Expressing & Connecting
WNCAP To Host Free Creative Expression Workshop For Female Clients
 
 
WNCAP is dedicated to helping our clients thrive, not just survive. That's why, with the help of rockstar creative facilitator Lori Greenberg, WNCAP will be hosting twice-monthly "Creative Mornings" for our female clients.
 
Trained facilitator Lori Greenberg M.Ed, LCAS will lead the "Creative Morning" gatherings for female WNCAP clients.
 
"Creative Mornings" are twice-monthly events where women living with HIV can gather to create fun projects, explore their inner artist, and connect with other positive women in a safe and welcoming space. Snacks, lunch, and transportation are provided, and the program is free for WNCAP clients.
 
"Creative Mornings" will meet two Thursdays per month in West Asheville from 10am-2pm. If you are a female WNCAP client and are interested in attending, contact your WNCAP case manager, email Chris at wncapvolunteer@wncap.org, or call (828) 252-7489.
Stronger Together
WNCAP Spearheads WNC Harm Reduction Alliance
 
 
WNC Harm Reduction Alliance (WNC HRA) is a multi-sector consortium representing the 7 far-western counties of NC: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain including the Qualla Boundary.
 
The mission of the WNC HRA is to work together with individuals, families and community partners to reduce the harms associated with substance use; reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses; and improve access to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services.
 
 
The Alliance meets once a month on the third Tuesday of each month from 3pm to 5pm. The meeting will be held in different counties throughout WNC to give all people an opportunity to attend in their county. For more information about the upcoming February meeting, email Stephanie at stephanie@wncap.org or call (617) 828-9184
 
WNC HRA  is funded through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program - Planning (RCORP-Planning). The purpose of the RCORP Grant is to support treatment for and prevention of substance use disorder, including opioids in rural counties at the highest risk of substance use issues, HIV, and Hepatitis C infections due to the use of  injection drugs.
 
 
 
All are welcome to join WNC HRA, including people who use substances, people in recovery, families with loved ones who use substances, youth, business community, members of the faith community and medical communities, substance use treatment and mental health providers, law enforcement, community leadership, schools, etc. No one will be refused participation.
 
All voices will be heard. All are welcome! If you have any questions or would like to participate please send a message to Stephanie at stephanie@wncap.org or Claudia at cmattheiss@wncap.org.
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Western North Carolina AIDS Project  |  554 Fairview Rd.  |  Asheville, NC 28803
http://wncap.org
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