World AIDS Day commemorated at CoH

John Thomas Bell Tower

In addition to being World AIDS Day, today marks the 10th anniversary of the John Thomas Bell Tower at the Cathedral of Hope, which has become a landmark along Inwood Road.

Panels from the AIDS quilt including one remembering Thomas, the first executive director of the AIDS Resource Center, will be on display at COH’s new Interfaith Peace Chapel all day.

A service will be at 7:15 p.m. in the main building, conducted by the Rev. Paul Tucker, who was the first AIDS chaplain hired by the church when its current facility opened.

—  David Taffet

Another World AIDS Day event: DFW Sisters to tour Metroplex with Veil of Remembrance

From the DFW Sisters:

Join us as we tour the Metroplex with our Veil of Remembrance. We will start in Fort Worth at the Tarrant County Public Health Carnival and Fair. We will arrive in Dallas around Happy Hour and tour the strip with a few other stops along the way. If you have trouble finding us, please check with us on FB or send us a message.

One of the Sisters will be wearing the Veil of Remembrance. We welcome you to write the names and any memories you have of loved ones who have passed. We will take the veil and make it a part of our House archives where we will guard and protect the memories you have entrusted to us.

For a list of other World AIDS Day events in North Texas, go here.

—  John Wright

Need a condom? There’s an app for that

Just in time for World AIDS Day, iCondom has been released in two U.S. cities, with more slated to come on line soon. The app will be available free for 48 hours from the iTunes Store.

First launched in France — in Paris and Marseilles — on Oct. 18, the iCondom app lets users find condom dispensers and free condom sources closest to their location, 24/7. The U.S. launch takes place jointly with the release of an improved version 1.1,  with better mapping functionalities, the app’s creators say. The U.S. version now available only covers New York City and Washington, D.C., “but should grow rapidly based on the users’ contributions,” according to a press release.

iCondom geolocates 200-plus locations in New York City where free condoms, lubricants and female condoms can be found, including bars, restaurants, barber shops, hospitals, clubs, medical centers, associations and beauty salons. In D.C., the app geolocates 140-plus places to get covered. iCondom users can add locations, rate the locations and comment on dispensers or places so other users have up-to-date information.

Creators called the app “an innovative tool to reinforce safe-sex messages and speak more directly to the youth by using their favorite communications tool: smart phones.”

—  admin

Panels from AIDS quilt on display in Plano

Lavonne Barrows points to a quilt panel she made in 2004

Panels from the Names Project’s AIDS Memorial Quilt will hang at Event1013 in Plano through Wednesday, Dec. 1, World AIDS Day.

Among the 13 panels are those from AIDS Services of Dallas and the Round-Up Saloon.

Lavonne Barrows is a quilt monitor. Her son has been HIV-positive for 20 years. Along with C.U.R.E. President Rosemary Odom, she made several of the panels hanging in Plano. The panels she made honor children from the Bless Gerard’s Children’s Home in Mandeni kwaZulu/Natal, South Africa. The panels were sewn in 2004 and presented to the Names Project on World AIDS Day that year.

Odom explained that they had gotten permission to honor the orphanage’s children who died of AIDS. About a year later, the couple who ran the home was ambushed and murdered.

The display is presented by Community Unity Respect Education, or C.U.R.E., a Plano-based group that educates about AIDS through displays of the Quilt.

Event1013, 1013 E. 15th St., Plano. Nov. 29-30 until 4:30 p.m. Dec. 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. followed by a reception from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free parking is available in a lot across the street that is accessible from 14th Street.

—  David Taffet

What to do after bringing Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian back to life on World AIDS Day

If you decide to join Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian and other celebrities by giving up Facebook and Twitter on World AIDS Day — and if you aren’t too busy trying to bring them back to life — there will be plenty of other activities to keep you busy Wednesday in North Texas.

In Friday’s Voice we published what we thought was a complete schedule of World AIDS Day doings — from quilt panels to free testing to candlelight vigils — but below is one more that came across this morning. If you know of other events, please feel free to shoot us an e-mail or post them in the comments.

Parkland patients, staff hold educational event about HIV/AIDS

DALLAS – On World AIDS Day, Parkland Health & Hospital System staff and patients who participate in the HIV Consumer Advisory Board will educate the Dallas community about resources available to HIV patients from 6 to 8:45 p.m., Dec. 1 at the Dallas Marriot City Center, 650 North Pearl St. in Dallas.

This free event is the first of its kind, focused on HIV positive members of the community and open to the public. The theme is “Universal Access and Human Rights.”

The event will also offer education and a fair featuring local organizations that specialize in HIV-related services. HIV health care providers from across the community will provide education and materials from local organizations. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Keynote speaker Kevin Murphy, MD, will answer questions from guests. Murphy is responsible for formulating the curriculum in AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases at the Dallas County Health Department and organized the early surveillance of AIDS in Dallas.

“One in 376 Texans is HIV-positive. We hope this event can provide support and education to those in our community who are impacted from this complex chronic disease,” said Sylvia Moreno, RN, director of Nursing-HIV at Parkland. “As the premier health care facility in this area for HIV infection, Parkland is able to provide excellent care from the beginning to advanced stages of disease. We want to share that expertise with others by arming them with information and education.”

For more information, please call 214.590.7055 or visit www.parklandhospital.com.

—  John Wright

World AIDS Day briefs

CURE hosting Quilt panels

The Collin County group Community Unity Respect Education will present about a dozen panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Plano Nov. 29 – Dec. 1. The quilt panels will be displayed at Event1013, 1013 E. 15th St. in Plano on Monday and Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The venue is in downtown Plano and valet parking will be available. Volunteers will discuss the quilt project and tell the stories of some of the people whose panels are displayed. Among the panels is one honoring Resource Center Dallas’ original executive director, John Thomas.

At the event, CURE President Rosemary Odom will announce plans for a large display of panels next year at the Dallas Convention Center to mark the 30th anniversary of when the disease was named AIDS.

……………………..

World AIDS Day events at AOC

AIDS Outreach Center will participate in two World AIDS Day events.

At Tarrant County College SE Campus in Arlington, free HIV testing will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition, the school will present panels, speakers and information.

AOC will also participate in the Minority Leadership Citizens Council meeting at noon at Community Christian Church Annex, 1800 E. Vickery Blvd. in Fort Worth. Outreach Center staff member John Reed will lead a discussion and offer facts figures and trends. A panel of HIV positive people will tell their stories and explain what it is like living with HIV.

That meeting will be recorded and broadcast on the city of Fort Worth cable channel. It will be repeated throughout the week.

…………………….

Sprinkles honors World AIDS Day

Sprinkles Cupcakes will do its first World AIDS Day promotion from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 1, with 100 percent of the proceeds from the red ribbon red velvet cupcakes sold in all seven stores across the country donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The Dallas store is in Preston Center.

……………………

AIN plans World AIDS Day event

Clients and staff of AIDS Interfaith Network will offer a program of remembrance, music, and celebration in the Daire Center at 11 a.m. Staff and volunteers will serve the clients lunch. After lunch, AIN will hold a candlelight memorial in their lobby.

…………………..

World AIDS Day in Denton

In Denton, a World AIDS Day commemoration will be held on the square from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event includes a candlelight vigil, tree dedication, poetry reading, speakers, information tables and free hot chocolate.

………………….

P.R.I.S.M. marks World AIDS Day

To commemorate World AIDS Day on Wednesday, Dec. 1,  P.R.I.S.M. (Promoting Respect In Sexual Minorities), the gay-straight alliance for Navarro College in Corsicana, will hold activities intended to help build awareness of HIV/AIDS in the community. Dana Kennedy Hartney, case manager for Ellis and Navarro counties with Dallas-based AIDS Arms Inc., will be the guest speaker for the event set for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Hartney will speak on the topic, “Why everyone is affected by HIV/AIDS.”

The program will be held in the Gooch Student Center, Arrowhead Room, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave. in Corsicana. Refreshments will be provided. AIDS Arms will also provide free HIV testing Thursday, Dec. 2, from noon to 4 p.m. in the Gooch Student Center. The testing is open to the public and will include an information  table and people to answer questions.

……………………

RCD  dedicating dental chair

On World AIDS Day, Resource Center Dallas will dedicate its new dental chair at Nelson Tebedo Clinic at 4 p.m.

RCD spokesman Rafael McDonnell said the chair was purchased with Ryan White funds and replaces a chair that has been at the clinic since 1992. Dental care has become one of the major programs of the Nelson Tebedo Clinic. The clinic serves 65 patients every week.

……………………

More World AIDS Day events

On Dec. 1, from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Parkland hospital presents an education and a consumer fair for World AIDS Day at the Dallas Marriott City Center, 650 N. Pearl St. All of the Ryan White agencies in Dallas will have booths.

Dr. Kevin Murphy is the keynote speaker and will be available to answer questions. He is responsible for formulating the curriculum in AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases at the Dallas County Health Department and organized the early surveillance of AIDS in Dallas.

The event is free and open to the public. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Parking in the Plaza of the Americas parking lot will be free. The entrance is on San Jacinto Street. The Marriott is adjacent to the Pearl Street DART station.

In Fort Worth, AIDS service providers are participating in a carnival and health fair at the Public Health Department, 1101 S. Main St., from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. All of the Ryan White service providers will be present. Food, games, gift card raffles and free HIV testing will be offered.

A memorial services will be conducted by The Revs. Carol West and Curtis Smith at 5 p.m.

………………………………..

• FREE HIV TESTING

Free AIDS testing will be available at the following locations on World AIDS Day:

• AIDS Outreach Center, 400 N. Beach St., Fort Worth. 817-335-1994

• Tarrant County Public Health Department, 1101 S. Main St., Fort Worth. 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. 817-321-4700.

• Nelson Tebedo Clinic, 4012 Cedar Springs Road, 214-528-2336. Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments requested but can see some walk-ins. Dec. 3 all day. No appointments necessary. Free syphilis testing also.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Lambda Legal releases study on HIV-related stigma, discrimination

In advance of World AIDS Day next Wednesday, Dec. 1, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund has released “HIV Stigma and Discrimination in the U.S.: An Evidence-Based Report,” which focuses on the continuing stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV to policy makers and advocates.

Scott Schoettes, HIV Project staff attorney with Lambda Legal, said over the next year, Lambda Legal continue to press the legislators and policymakers at all levels to address these issues as they imoplement the strategy.

Findings in the report include:

• Nearly 63 percent of the respondents who had HIV reported experiencing discrimination in healthcare.

• A Kaiser Family Foundation report shows that the percentage of people who incorrectly believe that HIV can be transmitted by sharing a drinking glass is actually higher now than in 1987, and the percentage of people who incorrectly believe that transmission can occur by touching a toilet seat actually rose between 2006 and 2009.

• People with HIV are subject to prosecution and/or harsher sentencing for conduct that is not criminal. For example, in 2009, Daniel Allen was charged with violating a Michigan bioterrorism statute outlawing the use of harmful biological substances, based on allegations Allen has HIV and bit his neighbor during a fight. That charge was dismissed.

• Discrimination against people living with HIV as they seek to access elder care occurs throughout the country. Robert Franke, a 75-year-old retired university provost and former minister, was abruptly ejected from an assisted living facility in Little Rock, Ark., in 2009 because he has HIV. Representing Franke and his daughter, Lambda Legal sued the company operating the facility, alleging violations of the ADA and the federal Fair Housing Act, as well as similar state antidiscrimination laws.

This case recently settled.

To see the complete report, go online to LambdaLegal.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

F.A.C.E. offers HIV-positive a shoulder to lean on

HIV/AIDS support group at Cathedral of Hope celebrates its 1st anniversary with a World AIDS Day event that includes Quilt panels

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Todd Faulk

A year ago, Todd Faulk created an HIV/AIDS support group as part of the Cathedral of Hope outreach ministries. But it’s not a Bible study, and it’s not a religious group.

Faulk notes that he’s not a licensed counselor, and he’s not a pastor. The group is there to help people living with HIV feel better about themselves.

Still, Faulk said, he felt — and he had heard others say — that as the largest LGBT church in the area, Cathedral of Hope should offer an HIV support group.

Such groups were more common in the early 1990s, before drugs that helped control the virus became available. But Faulk saw a need. He said people had questions, especially young people.

When Faulk volunteered to become the face of the group, he turned that word into an acronym for Faith, Acceptance, Caring, Educate.

He said that the goal was support and information, not fellowship, so before calling the first meeting, he looked for some curriculum. He couldn’t find any, so he turned to area professionals.

Faulk knew Legacy Counseling Center Executive Director Melissa Grove because he turned to Legacy when he was first diagnosed a dozen years ago. So he approached her, and Grove provided him with a number of topics for meetings and referred a number of people to the group.

“They’ve done a fantastic job,” said Grove said of F.A.C.E. “Any person going to the group would be welcomed with open arms.”

She said that while Legacy provides individual counseling and therapeutic groups, and other AIDS service organizations offer other services, F.A.C.E.  fills a void.

“A support group doesn’t need to be led by a licensed professional,” she said.

Grove raved about the job Faulk has done. Before the group began, she worked with him on facilitating skills and how to create a safe environment.

“If a leader can’t do that, people won’t talk,” she said.

She said it was important for Faulk to recognize when someone might need something more than a support group, and over the past year they have referred people back and forth from her therapy to his support.

Dr. Nick Bellos and his nurse practitioner, Stephanie Shoemaker, usually attend two sessions a month to answer medical questions.

“We’re there in case people have questions about their drugs,” said Bellos.

He said they especially discuss side effects.

“We tell folks what’s out there and available,” he said.

Bellos also provides information about clinical trials in the area. Recently he gave the group information on life expectancies and co-morbidities, discussing HIV-related diabetes and hypertension.

His job isn’t diagnosing at the group, but if Bellos hears something that sounds like it needs to be examined, he sends the group member to his doctor.

Bellos complimented Faulk on the way he runs the group.

“He does a great job keeping the group on track,” Bellos said. “He makes sure everyone has an opportunity to speak.”

Faulk said some people attend a few meetings, get what they need from the group and move on. Others have become regulars. And while the goal is to help people with HIV live better lives, the death of one member soon after F.A.C.E.  formed reminded everyone of how serious HIV can be.

“He developed spinal meningitis and died in less than a week,” Faulk said. “His family didn’t even know he was positive.”

That left the man’s partner with the job of explaining the illness to the family.

Since then, that member’s mother has attended, first for support after her son’s death and then to help others come out to their families as HIV-positive and, when necessary, as gay.

Other parents have participated to get information and to support their HIV-positive sons. Parents from out of town have attended and left with confidence that their child was getting the support needed, Faulk said.

In addition to coming out and medical issues, Faulk said group members have dealt with a variety of other related topics, like “eating habits, how the food you’re eating affects your medication.”

Faulk said someone might mention that he has a reaction when he eats a particular food. And another group member will say he has noticed a similar reaction.

“I call that the ‘me, too’ factor,” said Grove. “It’s very important in decreasing isolation.”

Faulk said those sort of things are important because living with HIV requires a lifestyle change. He said he learned in the group that regular antacids block the body from properly absorbing HIV medications. He said his doctor gave him something to use instead.

“We talked about a recent study that showed that cocaine actually increases the amount of HIV in the body by lowering the immune system,” Faulk said.

Other topics have included acceptance, setting goals, the importance of physical activity, positive thinking and getting away from a “woe is me” feeling.

World AIDS Day marks the one-year anniversary of F.A.C.E., as well as the 10th anniversary of the John Thomas Bell Tower. F.A.C.E. helped coordinate the World AIDS Day event at the Cathedral.

The Rev. Paul Tucker, who was the Cathedral’s first AIDS chaplain, will lead the service. He is now a pastor at All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis.

The Turtle Creek Chorale will perform.

Panels from the quilt will be on display in the International Peace Chapel and HIV testing coordinated with Resource Center Dallas will be available throughout the day.

Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Dec. 1 at 7:15 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Plaque in Tyler park to honor Nicholas West, murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in 1993

Nicholas West

On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Project TAG (Tyler Area Gays) and Tyler AIDS Services will unveil a plaque in Bergfeld Park honoring the memory of Nicholas West.

West was kidnapped from Bergfeld Park on Oct.  31, 1993. He was tortured, shot and left for dead. He was targeted because his three assailants presumed he was gay. At their trial, they confessed that they wanted to kill a homosexual.

West’s two murderers received the death penalty in the case.

The story was featured recently in the Investigation Discovery channel series Hardcover Mysteries. Dallas Voice senior editor Tammye Nash, who interviewed one of West’s killers on death row, is portrayed in the show by a svelte brunette whom we all agree is perfect for the part. The story of West’s murder was also featured in Arthur Dong’s 1997 documentary Licensed to Kill.

This summer’s production of The Laramie Project was in West’s memory.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez will attend the unveiling of the plaque for West with her Smith County counterpart, J.B. Smith. So will Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass.

Following the dedication at 6 p.m., a World AIDS Day remembrance will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 230 West Rusk St. in Tyler at 6:30 p.m. followed by a candlelight vigil.

—  David Taffet