National AIDS/HIV Advocacy Summit Coming to K.C.

Community organizer, advocate and bridge-builder Roberto Archuleta founded the Positive Advocacy Caucus (PAC), a local group for HIV-positive people, in 2002 after noticing a few unmet needs. Several years later, PAC affiliated with the Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA), a national organization, and this month, that group will convene its first annual HIV/AIDS Advocacy Summit right here in Kansas City.

After working locally for several years, Archuleta, now the director of PAC, came to realize that his local group had similar goals to the Campaign to End AIDS. In 2010, PAC became an official chapter of C2EA.

Archuleta stresses that PAC and C2EA-KC are not out to replace case management or do the work of AIDS service organizations. Instead, they are an additional support for things like navigating community social, medical and housing services and engaging in personal discussions where, within the formal system, client comfort level might be low. PAC may also serve an ombudsman role, should a consumer find this necessary.

�If we as a city are truly going to help end this epidemic, then we need to pull all of our resources/networks/contacts together and work as one! There is a lot of great work going on out there, but it could be even greater if we brought our efforts together and worked as a whole, while still being our individual entities,� Archuleta said.

PAC/C2EA-KC goals for people living with HIV/AIDS include helping health professionals use the peer education system, checking health department accountability; protecting civil rights and championing social justice; assuring adequate, affordable and safe housing; and increasing diverse representation and participation.

Besides promoting this comprehensive mind-set, the group, which is in the process of becoming a 501(c)3 organization, works as an information clearinghouse for local services. The Good Samaritan Project (GSP) has provided office space for PAC/C2EA-KC, but the grass-roots group is not technically associated with GSP or any other local service organization.

In at-risk populations, prevention messages are highly valuable, but within the HIV/AIDS community, addressing human needs is also important. One specific service that PAC/C2EA-KC provides is 4UBU (For Us By You), a support group for HIV-positive individuals. Men and women meet separately, but come together on a quarterly basis.

You may see volunteers from PAC/C2EA-KC working the Wednesday and Sunday night coat checks at Missie B�s (while coat season persists). The group also has designs on using nontraditional venues, such as salons, barbershops and restaurants to disseminate its message. Archuleta and his fellow volunteers also envision providing services to consumers in places where they already find comfort, such as community centers and churches.
First Annual HIV/AIDS Advocacy Summit
On April 17-20, Kansas City will host the first Annual HIV/AIDS Advocacy Summit of the Campaign to End AIDS at the Ramada Conference Center. Representatives from Health and Human Services, the Office of National AIDS Policy and Housing and Urban Development will be there.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Campaign to End AIDS is a national coalition of people living with HIV/AIDS and their supporters. Its goals are the full funding of HIV/AIDS treatment and support, science-based prevention, increased research for cure, treatment and prevention, and the cessation of stigma, while securing the civil rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS.

C2EA has several work groups within its structure, including outreach, policy/legislation, faith, youth, transgender, women and 50-plus.

Although the formal registration date has passed for the summit, individuals can still arrange to attend by calling Archuleta before April 8. Hotel rooms are available by calling the hotel at 816-245-5500. Additionally, organizers encourage anyone interested to participate in two April 19 community events.
Bring Attention Back to the AIDS Ribbon
1-3 p.m. Tuesday, April 19
Mill Creek Park, 47th Street at J.C. Nichols Parkway, Kansas City, Mo.
Wear a red shirt for an aerial photo of a Human AIDS Ribbon.
Gala Dinner
Ramada Conference, 1601 Universal Dr. (I-435 at Front Street), Kansas City, Mo.
Details: contact Roberto Archuleta.
Positive Advocacy Caucus
Roberto Archuleta, founder/director or
816-668-8568 or

Campaign to End AIDS (national)

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