Town Crier: Community News!

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Cascade AIDS Project Receives Big PrEP Grant: CAP Receives $150,000 to Build Awareness Of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) As HIV Prevention Option.
Oregon’s largest and oldest AIDS service organization, Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) is pleased to announce that it received a grant of $150,000 to increase public awareness and engagement on the issue of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The grant funded by Gilead Sciences, Inc. will allow CAP to create programming needed to increase access and use of PrEP to prevent HIV infections in our community.
Federal guidelines announced by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative and at substantial risk for HIV infection. When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and should be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. However, studies have shown that public health interventions are necessary to ensure that PrEP is being used appropriately and effectively.
CAP’s programming will include assessing the state of PrEP awareness and referrals among LGBTQ-friendly medical providers and community health organizations and increasing public understanding of PrEP usage to prevent HIV infections. Program goals include linking clients to a medical provider, empowering them to advocate for themselves with their health care provider, helping clients navigate patient assistance payment programs and providing support to ensure that adherence to the medication.
“CAP has supported and advocated for the use of PrEP since it was approved by the FDA in July 2012,†said Tyler TerMeer, CAP Executive Director. “It is critical that the public be informed about this important tool in the fight against HIV.  Failing to move PrEP forward will have real world consequences in our community including more HIV infections that could have otherwise been prevented.â€
“I cannot stress this enough, HIV is a public health emergency,†stated Caitlin Wells, CAP Director of Prevention & Education. “We need to use every tool in our toolkit to prevent new infections in our community. PrEP is one of those tools, but to be used effectively people and service providers need to be educated about PrEP.  This grant will allow us to do this work effectively and on a large scale.†Currently, only Truvada manufactured by Gilead is FDA-approved for use as PrEP, but other drugs are in the testing phase. Karol CollymoreKarol Collymore, Executive Director of Equity Foundation, resigns; Equity Awards $85,400 in scholarships.
From Collymore:  “After two and a half years and many great strides at Equity Foundation, I have decided to take another step in my career. I've accepted a position with the State of Oregon's Early Learning Division as their Public Affairs Director. Dani Bernstein will become Acting Executive Director for the duration of the transition. 
It has been my great pleasure to support the work of the Equity Foundation. I have met so many great people who love Equity. Thanks to you, we have put our mission into action. Because of you, we have been able to fund Oregon non-profits that are helping LGBTQ youth, our transgender community, people living with HIV/AIDS and other groups that meaningfully engage the community around issues of equality. And thank you again for the love and support you've shown me and Equity Foundation over the last few years. I hope our paths cross again soon.â€
More Equity news: Equity Foundation is proud to announce that they have awarded $85,400 in scholarship funding to 23 LGTBTQ and allied students for the 2015-2016 school year. Equity Foundation is host to some of Oregon's longest standing scholarships. Our scholarship program is supported by members of the LGBTQ and allied community who are committed to assisting students of all ages fund their education. With their support, we are able to provide financial assistance to students like Neil Panchmatia, who is pursuing a Master's in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling at Portland State University and hopes to work with Portland's refugee and immigrant communities. And Leslie Perez-Cervantes, a biochemistry major at Linfield College, who plans to pursue a career in pediatric medicine and provide healthcare to low-income families.
We are excited to support students like Neil and Leslie who are committed to advancing equity for communities across Oregon. Congratulations to all of Equity’s 215 scholarship recipients!
Portland Gay Men’s Chorus Performs in Bend.
“ABBAQueen,†by the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, is Saturday, September 19, at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 230 NE 9 Street. Clifford Cook, Vice-President of the Human Dignity Coalition and the coordinator of the concert, had this to say, “This is a once in a decade opportunity to hear and see the PGMC perform right here in Central Oregon. This is the same concern they performed for Portland Pride, now being brought to Central Oregon by the PGMC to benefit Human Dignity Coalition, PFLAG Central Oregon, and the GSA Clubs of Central Oregon.â€
Tickets are just $20 for VIP Seats, $15 for GA, and $10 for seniors 65+, and students. Tickets are available at http://bendticket/go/ABBAQueen. Cook says over 400 people are expected to attend, so people are encouraged to buy tickets in advance. It has been eight years since the Chorus performed in Bend.
Sponsors helping with this specific performance are Bill Dickey of Morel Ink, and Equity Foundation, based in Portland. The Portland Gay Men’s Chorus is sponsoring their performance so it can be a significant fundraising event. --Compiled by Daniel Borgen