‘AIDS at 30’ forum set for Tuesday

Manisha Maskay, Ph.D, Dr. Brady Allen, M.D, and Dr. Christopher Evans M.D.

Panel discussion to explore the current status of HIV treatment and the future of treatment and prevention efforts in next decade

TAMMYE NASH | Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Thirty years after the first cases of what would eventually come to be known as AIDS were discovered in gay men in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, the struggle to contain the world-wide epidemic continues.

But where do we stand today in that fight, 28 years after HIV was determined to be the cause of AIDS, and 24 years after the FDA approved AZT as the first real treatment to fight HIV?

On Tuesday, June 28, Dallas Voice — in partnership with Cathedral of Hope and a slate of business sponsors and community organization partners — presents “AIDS at 30: A Community Forum,” to explore the questions of where we are now in the fight, and where we are headed.

The forum will be held at Cathedral of Hope’s Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the forum runs from 6:30 p.m to 8 p.m.

The forum is free and open to the public.

“We decided to produce this forum, ‘AIDS at 30,’ from a ‘today and tomorrow’ perspective,” said Robert Moore, Dallas Voice publisher.

“We all know the story of AIDS over the last 30 years. What people are really hungry for now is a real-world look at where HIV prevention and treatment are headed over the next decade,” Moore added. “People want to know that there is hope for a cure, and that the issue of HIV and AIDS is not yesterday’s story, but that it is, indeed, tomorrow’s story.”

The forum will be divided into three sections, with AIDS Arms Associate Executive Director Manisha H. Maskay, Ph.D., leading off on the topic of “HIV Prevention Strategies and Challenges for the Next Decade.”

Maskey has more than 30 years of experience in the field of public health, medical nutrition therapy and health education and behavior change. In addition to her work at AIDS Arms as both associate executive director and director of community and client services, she has worked for the Columbus Health Department in Columbus, Ohio, and as an assistant professor of medicine and director of clinical nutrition and health education services at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Brady Allen, M.D., with Uptown Physicians Group will lead the discussion on the evening’s second topic, “HIV/AIDS Treatment Today.”

Dr. Allen, who graduated from Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and completed his internship and residency at New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, has been one of the preeminent doctors in treating HIV/AIDS since the early days of the epidemic in Dallas.

After a brief retirement in 2008, he returned to Dallas and to Uptown Physicians in January 2009 to continue his practice.

Dr. Chris Evans, M.D., M.P.H., with AIDS Arms’ Peabody Health Center in Oak Cliff, winds up the presentation with a discussion on “What is the Future of HIV Treatment? The Facts. The Hope. The Fiction.”

A Yale University graduate, Dr. Evans completed medical school at Drexel University in Philadephia before completing his residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Montefiore Hospital in The Bronx. He has been involved in clinical researcher on HIV/AIDS since 2001 and has participated as a sub-investigator in more than 15 studies on HIV/AIDS treatments.

The forum concludes with an opportunity for audience members to ask questions of the panelists.

Platinum sponsors for the forum are Uptown Physicians Group and the Vasquez Clinic. Rx Partners Pharmacy is a gold sponsor.

Community organizations partnering with Dallas Voice to present the forum are AIDS Arms, AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County, AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas and Resource Center Dallas.

Proceeds from sponsorships and donations go to Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, the annual bike ride that raises funds for AIDS Services of Dallas, AIDS Outreach Center and Resource Center Dallas.

—  John Wright

LSR Journal: Out of the saddle, but not the Ride

Brady Allen

Although health issues will keep Dr. Brady Allen from riding in LSR this year, he still plans to participate as part of the volunteer medical team

M. M. ADJARIAN | Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

Dr. Brady Allen of the Uptown Physicians Group has tended unstintingly to medical needs of the gay community for last 30 years. And in the last two years, he’s gone from casual spin and mountain bike cyclist to Lone Star Ride participant.

The transformation began in 2009.

Allen had just moved back to Dallas after a brief period of retirement in Seattle, and friends suggested he become involved in the LSR.

He needed little urging: Road biking on behalf of a cause he believed in seemed the perfect way to re-integrate himself into the community.

“I’d been involved [in the fight against AIDS] since 1982,” says the 57-year-old internist. “So I had memories of people who had passed on, including my best friend and a couple of favorite patients of mine. I think about [them] a lot.”

Allen’s 2010 LSR debut was impressive. Not only was he the third-highest fundraiser — bringing in $6,000 for the event — he also finished second overall in the 45-mile Sunday leg of the ride after the Saturday ride was rained out.

This year, however, the good doctor has to tend to his own health. After developing a blood clot in his calf at the end of April, Allen had to withdraw from this year’s ride.

His desire to participate in the event remains undiminished, though, and participants will likely see him on the medical team, doing what he does best.

“This year, I was going to do the 100- and 75-mile [ride options], because I was in much better shape,” says Allen. “I had trained harder and I was healthier. I’d lost about 15 pounds this year.”

He had also started his fundraising efforts earlier. In 2010, he began soliciting donations in May. This year, he began fundraising in March and already had pledges totaling $1,200 before he had to get out of the saddle.

That money will still go to the LSR. But Allen, who also sits on the board at Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and has actively supported other HIV/AIDS organizations, including AIDS Arms, for many years, will have to defer his dream of reaching the $10,000 goal he’d set for this year until 2012.

“[2010 was about] trying to ride in this Texas heat on a bike,” says Allen, who remains upbeat despite the temporary health issues he currently faces. “I [also] had to learn about how much to hydrate, how many salt tablets I had to take the day of the ride, what were the right foods to eat [and] just how to pace myself so I wouldn’t get cramps.”

He also had to learn the more technical aspects of road cycling, including how to shift gears, fix a flat and — perhaps most problematically of all — use the “pedals” of his bike.

“The bike pedals are not real pedals,” Allen explains. “You have these clips on the bottom of your shoes [that you use to] clip into the pedals, which gives you more stability on the bike. But you also have to clip out when you stop.”

Though unable to ride this year, Allen does expect to fully immerse himself in the social aspect of the 2011 ride.

“[I’m looking forward to] the camaraderie, the friendships and relationships that I’m going to develop with people I met last year and with new riders,” Allen says.

With no trace of regret for what could have been this year, he adds “It’ll be very exciting just to be in the crowd and meet new people and have common goals and passions.”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place Sept. 24-25. For more details or to donate to a specific rider or team, or to the event overall, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

—  John Wright