Abstinence is 0% Effective—When it Comes to Voting

Confession:  I never used to vote.  I used to be proud of it too.  I had plenty of talking points for those poor voter registrars roaming main streets and community events about a broken system, slimy politicians, and what “real” change looks like as opposed to cosmetic change.  To me, voting was as pointless as those suggestion boxes in fast food joints that people usually just stuff with trash anyways.

In retrospect, I think that behind my distrust and anger, more than anything I felt helpless and disenfranchised.  I started to wonder if maybe my wholesale rejection of an entire system was an elaborate excuse to not do anything about the problems I saw in the world.  I was making myself helpless, and withholding the most basic and powerful tool that had, my vote, wasn’t doing anything for me, or anyone else for that matter.  If I could talk to that guy now, I would ask, “Do you find the circumstances of our world to your distaste?  Then do something.  Vote, advocate, volunteer, donate.  I don’t care what it is, it’s your action, your cause, and your vision.  But please, please do something, because the last thing the world needs is another person that has given up on it.  P.S.  ranting Facebook statuses don’t count.  If you believe the world is fine and nothing is wrong, then maybe voting isn’t for you, but otherwise, get with it man!”

This election on November 6th alone holds the fate of so many important issues, and us with it, whether that means for the 35 million Americans who don’t have access to any health care and the people living with HIV/AIDS among them, the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, how Ohio redistricts, women’s rights, the expansion of Medicaid, and the funding of your state’s HIV/AIDS programs.  Even if these things don’t directly affect you, I guarantee that they do affect people you know, people you love.

Voting is a challenge to make a decision that you think is best not just for you, but for the people you love and the world around you.  It is a challenge to be wise enough to make informed decisions.  It’s a challenge to have hope and to do something with it.

 

~Matt Wovrosh

Community Engagement Coordinator

(This blog is a personal reflection, and is not a representation of the Ohio AIDS Coalition’s official position)

For more information, visit our Voter Briefs page.  Value your Voice.  Vote!

Director of the Ohio AIDS Coalition among National HIV Leadership to Reveal Declaration to End HIV/AIDS in the United States.

Today, National HIV/AIDS leaders released a declaration to end HIV/AIDS in America, among them was Tyler Andrew TerMeer, Director of the Ohio AIDS Coalition, a division of AIDS Resource Center Ohio.

In a signing ceremony at the first ever Summit to End HIV/AIDS in America, being held in conjunction with the 16th annual United States Conference on AIDS, signatories highlighted critical scientific and policy developments that will turn the tide of the disease and recommitted themselves fully to realizing the vision of our country without AIDS.

“For the first time in over thirty years, it is possible to realistically envision an end to HIV/AIDS,” said National Minority AIDS Council Director of Legislative & Public Affairs Kali Lindsey.  “Scientific advances like treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis have provided exciting new tools to combat the spread of HIV, while the Affordable Care Act will greatly expand access to care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.  But ending this epidemic will not be easy.  Today, leaders from all over the United States signed the Declaration to End HIV/AIDS in America to publically commit themselves to making this dream a reality.”

The Declaration was created and developed by the National Minority AIDS Council with an expert panel of more than 80 HIV/AIDS activists and advocates from across the country and chaired by Dr. Julio Montaner, the internationally renowned researcher and a leader in the successful use of treatment as prevention.  The following is an excerpt from the Declaration:

We, the undersigned, recognize that we are at a pivotal moment in our battle against this disease. Policy and science have aligned like never before, making it possible to realistically envision an end to this epidemic. Now our nation faces a fundamental choice: we can continue to sacrifice our public and fiscal health on the status quo, or we can choose to make the smart investments and structural changes necessary to finally end HIV/AIDS. We are committed to doing what it takes to end this epidemic and drafted this declaration to codify the values and principles that should guide our efforts. We publically dedicate our skills, faith, and resources to ending HIV/AIDS in America.

Original signers included Paul Kawata (National Minority AIDS Council), Tyler TerMeer (Ohio AIDS Coalition),  Julie Scofield (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors), Lance Toma (Asian & Pacific Island Wellness Center), Therese Rodriguez (APICHA Community Health Center), Tommy Chesbro, Angela Green (IRIS Center), Michael Kaplan (Cascade AIDS Project), Phill Wilson (Black AIDS Institute) and Pernessa Seele (the Balm in Gilead).  Following the signing ceremony the Declaration will be made available to delegates of the U.S. Conference on AIDS to sign.  Following the conference, the public will able to endorse the document as well.  The entire Declaration can be viewed online here:  http://nmac.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DeclarationToEndAIDSInAmerica_FINAL.pdf