5 questions with Paul Parks
Paul Parks is director of development and public relations for AIDS Services of Dallas, which provides housing for HIV-positive people. His career at the health services group has spanned 10 years. He was raised in Eldorado, Ark., and he studied sociology and sacred music with a concentration in organ at the Centenary College of Louisiana at Shreveport. He has lived in Dallas for 17 years and has worked at two AIDS services groups, in addition to Our Friends’ Place, an Episcopal home for girls.
Why have you dedicated your work career to the HIV field?
As someone who is HIV-negative, it is a way for me to give back. I’m very fortunate.
Why is your work for AIDS Services of Dallas so important to you?
I know how essential housing is to health care for HIV-positive people. It provides the basic necessity that people living with HIV must have to comply with the regiment of their medications.
Have you lost many friends to AIDS?
In my age group, I’ve personally lost no one. We knew about the disease. Fortunately, we were on that edge where we had the education to prevent becoming infected. But my family has lost friends, and I’ve lost many friends at ASD.
Why do you think HIV education worked with you when it did not with so many people?
When I came of age and began working, people were dropping every week. I used to open up the newspaper every week just to read the obituaries. That convinced me I had to know better and had to avoid infection.
What do you think the future holds for the HIV infection epidemic in the long term?
The one thing I hope we do not see with all of the meth use is another wave of infections. But that’s what I fear is going to happen to younger people. The drug makes users hypersexual and less likely to practice precautions.
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the LGBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, email@example.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 26, 2007