Black AIDS Institute brings summit on PrEP regimen to Dallas


AIDS Arms CEO Dr. John Carlo, left, and Abounding Prosperity CEO Kirk Myers, below.

Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

The Los Angeles-based Black AIDS Institute brings its national PrEP Summit tour to Dallas on Wednesday, April 27, in a day-long gathering intended to “start a conversation that needs to be had” about how to increase understanding and use of the HIV prevention regimen called pre-exposure prophylaxis.

AIDS Arms cohosts the event, taking place at Meadows Conference Center, 2900 Live Oak St. Breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by the summit, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

“We’ve been doing this tour since last September. We’ve made 13 stops so far, and we have seven more scheduled for this year,” noted Erica Lillquist, the institute’s senior mobilization coordinator.

“We are reaching lots of providers and we are getting a great response. We’re starting a conversation that needs to be had,” Lillquist said. “We’ve been getting a great response. A lot of the recommendations we are hearing are included in our ‘AIDS in Black America’ report that just came out this week.”

While the summits in different cities are based on the same framework, each one is tailored to meet the specific needs of the specific host city, Lillquist said. Mukamtagara Jendayi, a fellow with BAI’s African American HIV University — Science and Treatment College, is the local organizer for the Dallas event.

“We have different activities scheduled throughout the day, and we have recently added a component whereby attendees can get [continuing education] credit for being here,” Jendayi said, explaining that while the summit is geared primarily toward HIV service providers, organizers also want to reach out to service providers in other fields who are likely to “serve or encounter our at-risk populations,” and community leaders and HIV activists, especially those living with the virus.

“We want to attract a multidisciplinary audience,” Jendayi said. “It’s meant primarily for people in the HIV field, but we want to also bring in people in fields that intersect with HIV, like women’s shelters and domestic violence shelters, Planned Parenthood. And we are reaching out to peer advocates. We want them all to be informed on PrEP.”

Jendayi said the day will start with breakfast and an overview of the summit’s agenda, and an explanation and overview, delivered by the institute’s outreach and communications coordinator, Gerald Garth, of the new Black Treatment Advocate Network — or B-TAN — program. She said that North Texas currently has no B-TAN chapter, but that she hopes to raise enough interest to initiate one soon.

“We have the people here who can take leadership roles in that, and I hope within a month of the summit to have an interest meeting on starting a B-TAN here,” she said.

The rest of the morning session will be devoted to the bio-medical aspects of PrEP in the black community. Daniel Ramos, a community liaison for Gilead Sciences Inc., the biopharmaceutical company that manufactures Truvada, the primary drug used now in the PrEP regimen.

Courtney Sherman, a nurse practitioner and clinical supervisor with Tarrant County Public Health Adult Health Services, will be on hand to “broaden that perspective and talk about the PrEP studies that have led [Black AIDS Institute] to really push it, and about the future of biomedical intervention in HIV. There are other PrEP [medications and regimens] coming down the pipe.”

The biomedical portion of the summit will also address the black community’s mistrust of the medical establishment and concerns over medical racism, Jendayi said.

“There are been plenty of historical injustices, unethical practices, that have planted the seeds of that distrust,” she noted. “Ashley Innes with AIDS Arms will be talking about that distrust and about how things are changing.”

Kirk-MyersAIDS Arms CEO Dr. John Carlo will participate in a panel discussion on accessing health insurance and financing the PrEP regimen, along as many as five other experts on that topic, including Corey Legendre, senior account executive for Avita Pharmacy, a PrEP distributor that already has programs in place to help customers get insurance coverage and/or financing for PrEP treatments. Also on the panel with be Sherman, and Kenya Woodruff, partner and co-chair of the Healthcare Practice Group Haynes and Boone.

Lunch panels will focus on best practices in teaching about, prescribing and taking PrEP, Jendayi said, with a range of speakers including AIDS service providers, pharmacists, teachers — “the people working on the front lines” of the AIDS epidemic. Speakers are Abounding Prosperity CEO Kirk Myers, Kimberly Parker, associate profession in the Department of Health Studies at Texas Women’s University, AIDS Arms Medical Director Dr. Gene Voskuhl, and Legendre.

After lunch, those attending will break out into four different groups, each focusing on a specific target group — gay, bi and same-gender-loving black men, led by ADODI DFW chair and co-founder Louis Henry; black women, led by Afiya Center co-founder and Executive Director Marsha Jones; black trans people, led by AIDS Services of Austin Testing and

Linkage Programs Manager Carmarion Anderson; and black heterosexual men, led by AIDS Arms behavioral intervention specialist Larry Alexander Jr.

Best practices for improving and increasing PrEP usage depends on the specific target audience, Jendayi said.

“So with these breakout sessions, what we’re trying to do in each one is come up with a list of things people need to know about PrEP and how to increase PrEP uptake  in that specific population. The leaders of each session will correlate the information they get and then bring it back to the large group at the end of the day and report on what they have heard and learned,” she explained.

“The whole purpose is to improve and increase the use of PrEP,” and in doing so, decrease the HIV infection rate in the black community, which is among the populations hit hardest by the AIDS epidemic.

For information or to register, visit For information on continuing education credits through Tarrant Community College, call Raytosha Jones at 817-515-6190 or email her at Deadline for CEU registration is Tuesday, April 26.