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Press Release

2016 Convention Center Forecast Projects Record Primary Attendance, Hotel Room Nights, Building Occupancy & Direct Attendee Spending

66 CITYWIDE CONVENTIONS TO DELIVER $1.20 BILLION IN REGIONAL IMPACT

(San Diego, CA – December 28, 2015) - The San Diego Convention Center Corporation announced in their 2016 annual forecast released today a record-breaking year in terms of primary attendance, hotel room nights, building occupancy and direct attendee spending from a total of 108 events currently scheduled in the facility. The total regional impact is expected to eclipse $1.2 billion based on a forecasted all-time record $708.1 million in direct attendee spending. Approximately $25.6 million in tax revenues are expected to be generated by convention attendees, helping to reduce the tax burden on local taxpayers and pay for essential city services.

Sixty-six primary citywide conventions are expected to attract an all-time facility record 673,814 primary attendees, surpassing the previous record set in 2008. Forty-two secondary events are expected to draw 228,545 local and regional attendees. A record 856,035 hotel room nights are projected in 2016, beating the previous high mark set in 2003. 

“The upcoming year will be our strongest on record when it comes to attendance and room night generation which is great news for the convention and meeting industry in San Diego in the months ahead,” said Carol Wallace, President and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. “It is a particularly exciting year ahead as we look forward to hosting the MLB All-Star Fanfest in the facility in July.”

The annual forecast identifies 15 medical meetings in 2016 which are projected to generate $458.1 million in regional impact. Over 148,000 people will attend medical meetings at the center accounting for 353,734 hotel room nights and approximately $9.7 million in tax revenues. The projected medical meeting attendance, hotel room nights and tax revenues are all the highest they have been since 2007 and third highest overall. Some of the major medical shows convening at the center include the Society for Neuroscience, American Society of Hematology, Experimental Biology, Digestive Disease Week and the American Academy of Otolaryngology. The forecast provides a detailed list of all major meetings at the facility in 2016, including medical meetings.

Read the entire 2016 Forecast here. 

The San Diego Convention Center Corporation (SDCCC) is a public benefit corporation created by the City of San Diego to exclusively manage, market and operate the 2.6 million sq. ft. waterfront facility.
The mission of the SDCCC is to generate significant economic benefits for
the greater San Diego region by hosting international and national conventions
and trade shows in our world-class facility.
###


Opinion Editorial | Ghost Written for Board Chair

Convention Center Expansion Will Create Quality Jobs and Opportunities for San Diegans

By Phil Blair

As a person who has lived and breathed San Diego’s staffing industry for the past 30 years, I have a clear understanding of how important it is to have a community with employment opportunities available. Along with the rest of our community, I witnessed first-hand the lasting impact our recent recession had on the great people of this city – the unemployment rate in San Diego isn’t just a statistic, it’s our neighbors, our family and our friends.

My passion for connecting employees to employers is the same passion I bring to my volunteer role as the Chair of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation.  Since 1989, the Center has been the cornerstone of San Diego’s third largest industry, tourism.  Events at the Center generate more than $1 billion annually in economic impact and help employ more than 12,500 San Diegans.

And now we sit on the cusp of building on that success and putting more San Diegans to work.

After more than six years of planning, community engagement, and hard work, the Phase 3 expansion of the current Convention Center is almost a reality. The decision last month by a Superior Court judge ruling the financing plan legal leaves only one significant hurdle, the approval of the California Coastal Commission.

An estimated 7,000 full-time jobs would be generated throughout San Diego region by expanding the center. Contrary to popular belief, these are high paying, quality jobs that often times lead to long-term careers. That is exactly the reality for Lydia Ochoa who started at the Center in 1990 as a part-time assistant.  Today, she is a Senior Event Manager after working in a range of positions that included roles in other Center departments including engineering, purchasing and operations management. And although Lydia holds no college degree, her hard work, dedication and eagerness to learn led her to be promoted time and time again. That has allowed Lydia to support herself and her family.

Just like Lydia, so many who begin in entry level jobs in the hospitality industry go on to have successful, rewarding careers and are able to support themselves and their families. And let me be clear, when we talk job creation from an expansion, we are not only talking convention center jobs. From restaurant servers and construction workers, to small businesses and local farms, the impact is felt far beyond downtown.

The San Diego Meat Company, a local family-owned business, saw a 20 percent growth in sales after the convention center’s in-house food and beverage company, Centerplate, began purchasing their products. From their partnership with the center, the 60-year-old company was able to hire on two new employees and make significant improvements to their equipment and trucks. 

The addition of San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is also helping build the next generation of hospitality leaders. This world-renowned program continues to place 99% of its each year in jobs. These are educated professionals who are eager to stay and work in San Diego but oftentimes are leaving our city due to the lack of jobs. Our economy and the hospitality industry looses if we cannot provide the job opportunities to keep their talents local and launch successful careers right here in San Diego.

As a community, we need to advance local opportunities that will put our neighbors and friends back to work and expanding the Convention Center will be a big step forward. President Obama himself has made it a top priority to increase tourism in the United States during his administration and is working on building an understanding in this country on the correlation between increased tourism and increased employment.

Expanding the Convention Center is a perfect opportunity to grow our economy, build on our success, and most importantly put people back to work. Over the next several months we must all stay focused on helping make this important regional project a reality.

Phil Blair is the Executive Officer of Manpower and Chair of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation.


Executive Speech Writing | Carol Wallace, president & CEO, Mexico City

Evaluating, Measuring, and Reporting on Your Economic and Social Impact

By Carol Wallace, president and CEO, San Diego Convention Center Corporation

Presented in a Prezi format. (Below is a copy of the graphics that accompanied the speech.)

Speech Graphics | Carol Wallace, president & CEO, Mexico City (Prezi Format)


Communications Contract | PrEP San Diego Campaign


Screen Capture from PrEPSandiego.com

Screen Capture from PrEPSandiego.com


News Article | Ghost Written for MJE Marketing


Published March 2, 2017

Is PrEP Right for You?
County Launches HIV Prevention Campaign

If you could take a pill daily that reduced your risk of contracting HIV by more than 90% would you take it? That is the question posed by a new HIV prevention campaigned launched by the County of San Diego this month. The campaign is designed to engage individuals at risk for HIV infection to think about an HIV prevention intervention, PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP involves taking a once-daily anti-retroviral pill known as Truvada that has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission in people at the greatest risk of contracting HIV. The campaign is a component of the County of San Diego’s “Getting to Zero” initiative with a goal of getting HIV infections to zero within the next 10 years.

“It was only last summer that our Board blessed the implementation plan for ‘Getting to Zero,’ San Diego County’s initiative to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts. “Fast forward to today and it is exciting to see the significant strides being taken, including kicking off the PrEP social media campaign. We are another step closer to the day when AIDS will be history!”

Truvada for PrEP is an FDA approved antiretroviral and works to prevent HIV from establishing an infection inside the body if an exposure occurs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when taken daily, Truvada is more than 90% effective at reducing the risk of getting HIV from sexual contact and more than 70% for people who inject drugs. If a daily dose is missed, the level of protection may decrease. PrEP has been shown to reduce risk of HIV infection through sex for gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and heterosexual men and women, as well as among people who inject drugs. Antiretrovirals like Truvada also help treat those infected with HIV by lowering the virus in the bloodstream making them less likely to transmit HIV. Truvada for PrEP, however, is not a cure for HIV nor is it a vaccine and will not protect individuals from other sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis or gonorrhea. 

When taken daily, Truvada for PrEP reaches maximum protection from HIV for receptive anal sex in about 7 days. For insertive anal sex, vaginal sex, and injection drug use PrEP reaches its maximum protection in 20 days. Truvada for PrEP is safe and highly effective. While Truvada can cause some initial side effects that include nausea, stomach pain or weight loss, they generally subside over a short time. No significant, long-term health effects have been seen in HIV-negative people who have taken Truvada for PrEP for up to 5 years. Truvada is not known to have any interactions with alcohol or recreational drugs 

According to the CDC, access to PrEP could prevent an estimated 48,000 new infections by 2020. Improving access to PrEP and treatment for people living with HIV could prevent as many as 180,000 new HIV infections. The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 gay and bisexual men are at sufficiently high risk that they should be offered PrEP. 

In San Diego County, more than 90% of HIV infections occur in men who have sex with men, people who use injection drugs or men who have sex with men and inject drugs. Hispanics have the highest number of HIV cases per year and represent approximately 43% of all new infections while blacks have the third largest number of cases per year, but the highest rate of HIV. The annual HIV case rate among blacks is almost three times that seen in whites. Today, there are approximately 37 million people living with HIV around the world, and 1.2 million of those are living here in the United States. As of December 31, 2014, a total of 13,200 individuals were diagnosed with HIV in San Diego County.

"PrEP is a vital component of the County's Getting to Zero initiative. When taken as directed, PrEP is up to 99% effective in preventing HIV infection. We want to ensure that all individuals at risk for HIV learn about PrEP so they can decide whether it is right for them,” said Patrick Loose, Chief, HIV, STD & Hepatitis Branch of Public Health Services.
Because PrEP requires a prescription, talking to a knowledgeable health care provider is an important first step in deciding if PrEP is right for you, say health officials. Individuals who decide to go on PrEP will need to have regular visits with their health care provider and regular testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections to monitor their health. 
Talking openly about PrEP and HIV helps confront the stigma that is still often associated with the disease and those who decide to take PrEP.  According to the CDC, talking with friends and partners can reduce the risk of HIV transmission and increase HIV testing.
One of the primary barriers for many who want to access PrEP is cost. While most private health insurance plans, as well as MediCal, cover the cost of Truvada for PrEP, the annual cost for those without insurance can exceed $12,000. Gilead, the maker of Truvada, provides a co-pay insurance card to help reduce the monthly cost for those with insurance. Gilead provides Truvada free to people with limited income and no insurance.

There are San Diego County resources that can help you learn more about HIV, PrEP and accessing care including:  

GayMensHealth.org is a website from Gay Men’s Health Services (GMHS), a program of Family Health Centers of San Diego. Gay Men’s Health Services provides AIDS/HIV testing and treatment, STD symptom education, PrEP information and other health services in Central San Diego County. They can be contacted at 619.515.2300. 

Be the Generation, is a PrEP and HIV treatment awareness program of the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.  The Center provides HIV care and prevention services including mental health counseling and HIV testing and has compiled a local list of PrEP friendly health care providers. They can be contacted at 619.515.2449. 

The UC San Diego AntiViral Research Center (ARVC) provides educational resources and opportunities to access PrEP through research study participation at www.prepstudy.org.  They can be reached by phone at 619.543.8080. Just ask to be connected to the PrEP coordinator.

Planned Parenthood of San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties provides comprehensive PrEP services including HIV testing, PrEP and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. Appointments can be made directly from their website, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-pacific-southwest/campaigns/prep-and-pep. They can be reached by phone at 619.881.4500.  

The HIV, STD and Hepatitis Branch of the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency provides an array of information and services.  From HIV testing and prevention services to HIV/AIDS care, the County website http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/hiv_std_hepatitis_branch.html is a resource for information on PrEP and other HIV related services. Call the PrEP navigator for more information or to schedule an appointment at 619.692.6621.

San Ysidro Health Center (SYHC)–CASA & Our Place serve South San Diego County, providing a continuum of culturally sensitive HIV prevention activities, free confidential testing, and medical and supportive services. You can reach them at 619.662.4161
 
Vista Community Clinic provides AIDS/HIV testing and treatment , STD symptom education and PrEP information in North San Diego County. Visit NCSD Connection website http://ncsdconnection.org/   for more helpful resources in North San Diego County. They can also be reached at 760.631.5000 x7157

Visit prepsandiego.com for local resources and additional information to learn if PrEP is right for you.


Side Bar: Is PrEP Right for You?

PrEP may be right for you if you are HIV negative and at increased risk of contracting HIV because you:
o    are sexually active and identify as gay or bisexual or are a man who has sex with other men
o    have an HIV positive partner
o    have anal sex without using condoms
o    have multiple sexual or drug using partners whose HIV status is unknown
o    recently had a sexually transmitted disease
o    inject drugs and/or share needles with others
o    recently attended a drug treatment program
o    exchange sex for drugs, money, housing or other needs

To learn more about PrEP and learn about local resources, go to prepsandiego.com
http://prepsandiego.com/about-the-campaign/


Web Copy | Ghost Written for MJE Marketing 


Published December 2016

What is PrEP?

PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a new HIV prevention tool for HIV negative individuals that involves taking a once daily anti-HIV medication that can reduce your chance of getting HIV if your exposed to the virus.

PrEP involves taking a pill named Truvada which is a combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine). Studies have shown that Truvada for PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP also involves regular checkups and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections with your health care provider.

How does PrEP work?

Truvada for PrEP is an FDA approved antiretroviral and works to prevent HIV from establishing an infection inside the body. Antiretrovirals like Truvada also help treat those infected with HIV by lowering the virus in the bloodstream making them less likely to transmit HIV. 
 
Truvada for PrEP is not a cure for HIV nor is it a vaccine.

Here is a short video about PrEP that can help answer your questions.

How effective is PrEP?

Daily use of Truvada is more than 90% effective at reducing your risk of getting HIV from sexual contact and more than 70% for people who inject drugs. If a daily dose is missed, the level of protection may decrease.

PrEP has been shown to reduce risk of HIV infection through sex for gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and heterosexual men and women, as well as among people who inject drugs. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.
PrEP can also help reduce the anxiety, fear, and stress that can be associated with HIV. 

Can I stop using condoms if I take PrEP?

Condoms are an effective HIV prevention tool and when combined with PrEP can greatly reduce your risk of contracting HIV.  Condoms are also effective in helping protect against sexually transmitted infections and preventing pregnancy. But not everyone uses condoms consistently for a variety of reasons. PrEP provides a new tool that can supplement your HIV prevention efforts with or without the continued use of condoms. Using condoms or not is a personal decision involving what level of risk you are willing to take in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.  While PrEP is effective in reducing your risk of contracting HIV with or without condoms, to fully protect yourself against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases using condoms with PrEP is the most effective combination. 


Can PrEP protect me from other sexually transmitted infections?

While more than 90% effective against HIV, Truvada for PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy. Having a sexually transmitted disease can increase your risk of contracting HIV. Combining PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods will decrease your chances of getting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. 

How long does it take for PrEP to work?

When taken daily, Truvada for PrEP reaches maximum protection from HIV for receptive anal sex in about 7 days. For insertive anal sex, vaginal sex, and injection drug use PrEP reaches its maximum protection in 20 days.

Is PrEP safe?

Truvada for PrEP is safe and highly effective. While Truvada can cause some initial side effects that include nausea, stomach pain or weight loss, they generally subside over a short time. 

No significant, long-term health effects have been seen in HIV-negative people who have taken Truvada for PrEP for up to 5 years. 

Truvada is not known to have any interactions with alcohol or recreational drugs 


Is PrEP right for me?

PrEP may be right for you if you are HIV negative and at increased risk of contracting HIV because you:
o    are sexually active and identify as gay or bisexual or are a man who has sex with other men
o    have an HIV positive partner
o    have anal sex without using condoms
o    have multiple sexual or drug using partners whose HIV status is unknown
o    recently had a sexually transmitted disease
o    inject drugs and/or share needles with others
o    recently attended a drug treatment program
o    exchange sex for drugs, money, housing or other needs

In San Diego County, 
o    more than 90% of HIV infections occur in men who have sex with men, people who use injection drugs or men who have sex with men and inject drugs. 
o    hispanics have the highest number of HIV cases per year and represent approximately 43% of all new infections.
o    blacks have the third largest number of cases per year, but the highest rate of HIV. The annual HIV case rate among blacks is almost three times that seen in whites.
o    whites represent 40% of all new HIV infections in San Diego County.

You can also take this online sexual health assessment to see if PrEP is right for you.

Where can I get PrEP?

Truvada for PrEP can only be prescribed by a health care provider. You can talk to any general health provider who is qualified to write a prescription, including doctors, nurse practitioner and physician assistants. While many health care providers still don’t know about PrEP, there are resources to help identify providers who are knowledgeable and willing to help. 

How do I talk to my health care provider about PrEP?
Talking to your health care provider is an important step in deciding if PrEP is right for you. This will require you to have a thorough and honest talk about your sexual activity and HIV risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a tip sheet to help you navigate your conversation. Know that if you decide to go on PrEP, it will require you to have regular visits with your health care provider and regular testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections to monitor your health.

How much does Truvada for PrEP cost?

Truvada can cost as little as $0 or more than $12,000 annually depending on your access to insurance. Without insurance, out-of-pocket costs can be as high as $2,000 per month but patient assistance programs and other resources like PrEP studies may be helpful to you. The CDC has a simple brochure to help navigate the landscape of obtaining payment for and access to Truvada for PrEP. 

Will my insurance cover PrEP?

Most private health insurance plans, as well as MediCal, cover the cost of Truvada for PrEP. Gilead, the maker of Truvada, provides a co-pay insurance card to help reduce the monthly co-pay cost. 

How do I get PrEP if I don’t have insurance?

Gilead provides Truvada free to people with limited income and no insurance. Information about enrolling in low-cost health insurance can be obtained from Covered California at their website.

Where can I find out more information about PrEP locally?

There are San Diego County resources that can help you learn more about HIV, PrEP and accessing care including:  

GayMensHealth.org is a website from Gay Men’s Health Services (GMHS), a program of Family Health Centers of San Diego. Gay Men’s Health Services provides AIDS/HIV testing and treatment, STD symptom education, PrEP information and other health services in Central San Diego County. They can be contacted at 619.515.2300. 

Be the Generation, is a PrEP and HIV treatment awareness program of the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.  The Center provides HIV care and prevention services including mental health counseling and HIV testing and has compiled a local list of PrEP friendly health care providers. They can be contacted at 619.515.2449. 

The UC San Diego AntiViral Research Center (ARVC) provides educational resources and opportunities to access PrEP through research study participation at www.prepstudy.org.  They can be reached by phone at 619.543.8080. Just ask to be connected to the PrEP coordinator.

Planned Parenthood of San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties provides comprehensive PrEP services including HIV testing, PrEP and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. Appointments can be made directly from their website. They can be reached by phone at 619.881.4500.  

The HIV, STD and Hepatitis Branch of the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency provides an array of information and services.  From HIV testing and prevention services to HIV/AIDS care, the County website is a resource for information on PrEP and other HIV related services. Call the PrEP navigator for more information or to schedule an appointment at 619.692.6621.

San Ysidro Health Center (SYHC)–CASA & Our Place serve South San Diego County, providing a continuum of culturally sensitive HIV prevention activities, free confidential testing, and medical and supportive services. You can reach them at 619.662.4161
 
Vista Community Clinic provides AIDS/HIV testing and treatment , STD symptom education and PrEP information in North San Diego County. Visit NCSD Connection website  for more helpful resources in North San Diego County. They can also be reached at 760.631.5000 x7157

To learn more about HIV and understanding your individual risk click here.


Talk to Your Friends or Health Care Provider about PrEP

Talking openly about PrEP and HIV helps confront the stigma that is still often associated with the disease and those who decide to take PrEP.
Research shows that communication between friends and partners can reduce the risk of HIV transmission and increase HIV testing.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your friends or partner about PrEP, consider joining a support group or talking one-on-one with counselors who you can share your experience with.

Talking to your health care provider can help you make the decision if PrEP is right for you. Here is a tip sheet you can use when preparing to talk to your health care provider. Always be open and honest about your risks for HIV with your provider so they can help you make an informed decision.

Benefits of talking about HIV and PrEP
•    You can be more open in your daily life.
•    Those you share with may have similar stories, confirming that you are not alone in your feelings or experiences about HIV and PrEP .
•    Your disclosure may be able to help someone else considering PrEP
•    You can help diminish the negative stereotypes and shame associated with HIV and PrEP.
Prepare for your conversation

You are in-charge of who you want to share your story with. Not sharing does not make you dishonest or bad. Instead, it reflects your decision about who you feel comfortable with and who you believe will understand and be supportive. 

The first step is knowing what you want to say about PrEP and what approach you want to take to get the conversation started. Learn the basics about PrEP and your risk for HIV. Make a checklist of why you feel PrEP might be right for you as well as any concerns you may have about PrEP. Remember that your friend may not have any answers for you but sharing your thoughts and concerns will help you feel less isolated and more empowered to make your decision.

Start your conversation

Identify who you feel you can trust and who will be the most likely to support and understand. Talking about PrEP may make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed at first, even with close friends but with a little planning and practice, you can boost your level of comfort and overcome your fears. 

Whether you have a conversation in person or via email or text, what is most important is you start the conversation. If you choose to talk in person, choose a location where you won’t be interrupted and feel comfortable. What you want is the chance to exchange your thoughts and concerns in full. But remember, even after your initial conversation, part of talking to your friends about HIV and PrEP is to get their ongoing support and understanding which may involve a dialogue over time. In other words, continue the conversation so you can benefit the most from sharing your story with those who are close to you.

If a friend shares with you that they are on PrEP, return that trust with the same respect and understanding you would want offered to you. You may find that your friend is also interested in knowing more about PrEP and the mutual support will help both of you navigate the decisions ahead.

Online Dating and PrEP

You may also find additional support online. It is common to see online dating profiles and chat conversations include references to PrEP. Another phrase that appears often is “treatment as prevention” which can refer to PrEP or indicate the individual may be HIV positive but on treatment to reduce their viral load which is good for their health. People who have HIV and are taking anti-HIV medicines whose virus is suppressed are much less likely to transmit HIV than people who have HIV and do not have a low viral load.

Either way, people are sharing the HIV prevention message online and encouraging others to take individual action, like PrEP, to stop the spread of HIV. Don’t hesitate to engage online to learn from others.