Archive for the ‘HIV’ Category

>Twilight at the Castle in Bessemer

August 20, 2009

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Be sure to read my Western Tribune column that follows.
On Saturday, August 29 from 8:00 until 12:00 a benefit will be held at the “Original Castle” in Bessemer with proceeds going to Birmingham AIDS Outreach.

Twilight at the Castle” will feature a stellar line-up of entertainers. Scheduled to perform are Tasha Long, Yosmein Campbell Starr, Trinity Taylor, Obsinity, Genesis, Racquel Scott, Ginger Nicole Richardson, Bambi Kira, Kelly Alexander, Opal Senior, & Sha Sha Glamour.

The historic Scott-Vines house in wintertime

Spread the word. This event is being hosted by Jonathan Edmondson and Kyle Pugh, at the historic Scott-Vines house at 422 Owen Avenue in Bessemer, AL, and is open to the public.

If you have been to Christmas at the Castle, then you can imagine what this Summer Spectacular will be like. If you have not been, you will be amazed.

A suggested donation at the door of $10-20 will be appreciated by the folks at BAO.

This information was posted yesterday on Birmingham Gay Examiner.

Two of the performers that will entertain are Ginger Nicole Richardson and Obsinity.

This event will help raise money for Birmingham AIDS Outreach. Please support this cause.

BAO’s mission is “to enhance the quality of life for people and families living with HIV and AIDS and to prevent further spread of the disease through age-appropriate prevention education programs.”

Billy Cox was a person who did that. Billy was from Bessemer, and died 15 years ago after battling HIV/AIDS for several years. Read about Billy in the post that follows.

For more info: Birmingham AIDS Outreach

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>Western Tribune column August 19, 2009 Billy Cox

August 20, 2009

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This is my column from the Western Tribune this week

Billy Cox was a hero to many then, and is still a hero today.
In 1987 Billy received a diagnosis that at the time signaled an almost sure death sentence. He tested positive for HIV. Within a few years he had developed AIDS, and by 1994 Billy had passed away.
During those early years of the AIDS epidemic most patients were silent about the disease and felt marginalized by their community.
Not Billy. He became a crusader and those who knew him saw him as energetic and optimistic, even when most would not be able to find that kind of spirit.
Shortly before his death, determined that a change was needed in the way AIDS patients and gay people were treated, Billy offered his final disability check to start a foundation in his name which helped to direct community resources and talents to help those with HIV/AIDS.
By sharing his experience and teaching those around him how to care for him, he changed the way people with HIV/AIDS were treated and a new dimension in caretaking began, as care teams of volunteers formed to assist those in need. The 1917 Clinic at UAB developed networks of teams that have helped people all over the state.
Now Billy has been honored by having a scholarship dedicated in his name at the UAB School of Public Health. The scholarship will go to students with an interest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender public health issues.
The dean of the school, Dr. Max Michael, says the scholarship may be the first of its kind in the nation.
This comes at a time when the achievements of LGBT persons are being recognized across the country. Just last week, tennis legend Billie Jean King and former San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk were presented the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama. They received their awards, along with 14 others, not because of their sexual orientation, but because they were “agents of change.”
Billy was an agent of change as well.
Bessemer can be proud of Billy, a 1975 graduate of MacAdory High School and president of his senior class. How many can say that they helped change the way a disease is looked at and the way those with the condition are treated? And now he has an endowment in his name that will help future public health providers make advances in fighting it.

Fair(er) Treatment for HIV Inmates

November 1, 2007

Here is what goblins and ghouls saw when they approached the house last night.

Here is what they saw when the door opened.

Halloween is fun and the kids (and adults) loved it.

HIV Prisoners in Alabama

One group of people that could be thought of as the most forgotten is prisoners with HIV. In Alabama male prisoners who are HIV positive are kept at Limestone, and females at Tutwiler. Up until the present, the prisoners have been treated differently because of their HIV status, with no medical reason to do so.

For instance, female prisoners were not allowed to eat or socialize with the other female prisoners. They could not attend worship services with the others, or sing in the choir.

When the HIV positive women left their cells, to go to the library or prison post office, for example, all other prisoners were locked in their cells.

The other female prisoners had large areas available for visiting with family members and their children, the HIV postive prisoners had to visit in a tiny room.

An article in today’s Birmingham news tells us that HIV inmates are being granted more social freedom.

They will now be allowed to visit with family members more openly, and will be able to attend religious services and eat with with other inmates.

But the Birmingham News does not tell the whole story. They make it sound as though the prison commissioner, Richard Allen, came up with these improvements out of the goodness of his heart. The truth of the matter is the ACLU of Alabama has been applying pressure on the corrections departments for a long time to get these changes in place.

Until this happened, Alabama was the only state in the nation that segregated prisoners with HIV from the general population for participation in rehab and other programs. HIV postitive prisoners are barred from participation in work release programs or prison factory jobs based solely on the fact that they have HIV. They were denied opportunity to exercise.

For months the ACLU of Alabama has been interviewing prisoners and workers at Tutwiler and Limestone to gather information. Only because of the threat of litigation did the commissioner make these policy changes. And the changes that have taken place do not address all of the problems in the prisons regarding HIV. More work is being done to see that these prisoners are not further stigmitized because of their HIV status.

This is just one of the areas that the ACLU of Alabama is working. Often the work is that which no one else would do, looking our for those that some would call “the least of these” that society is neglecting. Why that sounds like Jesus talking! The ACLU, thinking like Jesus!

Be thankful that the ACLU of Alabama is here, to protect the constitutional rights of us all.

>Fair(er) Treatment for HIV Inmates

November 1, 2007

>Here is what goblins and ghouls saw when they approached the house last night.

Here is what they saw when the door opened.

Halloween is fun and the kids (and adults) loved it.

HIV Prisoners in Alabama

One group of people that could be thought of as the most forgotten is prisoners with HIV. In Alabama male prisoners who are HIV positive are kept at Limestone, and females at Tutwiler. Up until the present, the prisoners have been treated differently because of their HIV status, with no medical reason to do so.

For instance, female prisoners were not allowed to eat or socialize with the other female prisoners. They could not attend worship services with the others, or sing in the choir.

When the HIV positive women left their cells, to go to the library or prison post office, for example, all other prisoners were locked in their cells.

The other female prisoners had large areas available for visiting with family members and their children, the HIV postive prisoners had to visit in a tiny room.

An article in today’s Birmingham news tells us that HIV inmates are being granted more social freedom.

They will now be allowed to visit with family members more openly, and will be able to attend religious services and eat with with other inmates.

But the Birmingham News does not tell the whole story. They make it sound as though the prison commissioner, Richard Allen, came up with these improvements out of the goodness of his heart. The truth of the matter is the ACLU of Alabama has been applying pressure on the corrections departments for a long time to get these changes in place.

Until this happened, Alabama was the only state in the nation that segregated prisoners with HIV from the general population for participation in rehab and other programs. HIV postitive prisoners are barred from participation in work release programs or prison factory jobs based solely on the fact that they have HIV. They were denied opportunity to exercise.

For months the ACLU of Alabama has been interviewing prisoners and workers at Tutwiler and Limestone to gather information. Only because of the threat of litigation did the commissioner make these policy changes. And the changes that have taken place do not address all of the problems in the prisons regarding HIV. More work is being done to see that these prisoners are not further stigmitized because of their HIV status.

This is just one of the areas that the ACLU of Alabama is working. Often the work is that which no one else would do, looking our for those that some would call “the least of these” that society is neglecting. Why that sounds like Jesus talking! The ACLU, thinking like Jesus!

Be thankful that the ACLU of Alabama is here, to protect the constitutional rights of us all.