Archive for the ‘Worlds AIDS DAY’ Category

Group members have a choice for Friday night…The Friday Movie/Dinner (info on separate post) and the AIDS Day Vigal.  You decide. It’s all good.





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This week’s group will be facilitated by Peter. 

As many of you know, Steve‘s father passed on Friday, and he is in Pennsylvania with his family. On behalf of the group we want to send our condolences and well wishes to Steve and his family. 


World AIDS Day
Red Ribbon.svg


World AIDS Day takes place on December 1st each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who of the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

The first World AIDS Day was observed on December 1, 1988, thanks to the efforts James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two officials from the Global Program of AIDS, who since 1987 promoted the idea of an annual commemoration have died from an AIDS-related illness.

So for the group topic on November 29, 2017 the Wednesday before World AIDS Day, we are going to commemorate those who have died in the past year+.   From our group we’ve lost Rich, Patrick, Donny, Luke, Jim and Buddy.  This is the time to remember their lives and the contribution they made on our lives.   What is your most cherished memory of each of them?  Come join us to remember, celebrate their lives, light a candle and talk about your fondest memories.

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David posted his experience with the LIFE Program, the World AIDS Day Vigil, and POZitive Attitudes on KosAbility, a community diary series on the Daily Kos.

Read David’s KosAbility dairy as well as the comments & then add to the discussion!

“…And for our last meeting the LIFE Program gave us a graduation ceremony. We had just answered the same extensive questionnaire we had answered before the program began to compare our personal and group progress. My low ones, Grief and Loss went from 19% to 91%; Trusted Support 23% to 100%; Depression from 25% to 91% and Life Purpose and Goals from 35% to 98%. My overall score went from 57% to 95% for all 26 of the co-factors. Amazing numbers I would say! The overall group total went from 63% to 78%.

But it’s not all about numbers. All the guys told me they noticed my appearance got better and I was smiling and socializing more at the end of the Program. I have to say I noticed many good changes in them too. I will miss my weekly Tuesday meetings with them.

But now it’s time to move on. I have a better outlook on life and a bunch of new friends to share it with. I have found a great group of guys in POZitive Attitudes that meet every Wednesday at the Pride Center and do other activities all the time. I have also organized my paintings, gotten a website for them and am having a month-long exhibition at the Pride Center for the whole month of January that came from encouragement and direction while in the LIFE Program.

It may be called the Shanti Learning Immune Function Enhancement Program, or Shanti LIFE Program for short. But to me it’s just all about life! It’s certainly made a huge difference in mine. I have one again.”

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In rememberance of World AIDS Day, the topic this Wednesday is the History of HIV/AIDS. We postponed this from December 1, 2010 so that everyone could take part in the candlelight vigil and still be part of this History presentation.

There’s a presentation and lots of poster to chronicle the last 30 years of HIV/AIDS, both the tragedies and the bright spots. So come join us and be part of this special presentation.


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“Last night was a remarkable experience for me and far exceeded any expectations. I have not attended a candle light vigil for HIV/AIDS in more than ten years. As so many others expressed, the loss experienced over the years is overwhelming. My family of choice disappeared within a matter months as HIV/AIDS claimed their bodies.

Sharing the night with those who attended the Vigil made me aware I have a family by choice today. The vigil is for remembrance of those no longer with us, and also a celebration for those present now. I never expected to laugh and enjoy the night as I did.

Thank you to the men of the L.I.F.E. Project (PALS) for wearing the “HIV POSITIVE” t-shirt and providing your programs to our community.” – Jim

“…the real gift came to me the evening of the candlelight vigil. When I saw the sea of black HIV POSITIVE t-shirts, I was blown away. It was great to see men with smiles wearing their shirts. To see their smiles when they were putting on their shirts and how they stood with pride….letting the universe know their status, was a significant moment for me. It was more than just a t-shirt. It was about us, our friends, our community. Lets continue to stay connected… Stay in the Light” – Joe

For once, I really felt like I belonged.”

“I started walking 18 years ago for my brother who died. Before he got sick, I didn’t know he was Gay and I really didn’t know any Gay people. These walks have connected me to my brother and to the incredible loving world in which he lived.” – Maria

“I was unable to be at the Candlelight Vigil this year due to a bad cold. I am very inspired in several ways. First, your statement of the Black Shirts (tasteful I must add…I am always into ‘simple elegance’) and the number of black shirts was amazing. I am jealous I don’t have one! LOL

“Your ‘shirt’ statement reminded me of what would happen in edgy New York or San Francisco in the past. It also showed how we as individuals can turn a negative situation into a positive one AND be proud. I am SO proud of all of you. Every one of you needs to pat yourself on the back (or where ever you want) and say ‘Great Job!’

“Second, being a photographer I am inspired by the beautiful Black and white photographs. They really add a diminsion to the feeling of the walk and the look of the shirts. Congratulation to the LIFE team and everyone who has benefited from this amazing organization.” – Jeff

I just didn’t think I was ready to wear the Shirt. I put it away deep in my closet so no one would see it. But once I arrived at the Vigil, my fears went away. I found Bob and he gave me a XL. I’m a small guy but it felt good on me. Afterwards I wore it at the Alibi. .”

“With each step I remembered each of my many friends who died and I celebrated them. I also celebrated the many POZ men around me who are my family.” – Micheal

“Walking I felt this incredible energy. Its been years since I last stood up. Amidst this crowd I felt the emergence of new leadership. And I am ready to stand with them. Jim & Joe, we are with you. Thanks!”

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“The ‘HIV POSiTIVE’ t-shirts made a very strong statement last night and I felt proud and privileged to be in such great company. Here’s to many more years of fighting the good fight!” – Doug

“I was really inspired by all the people who walked… and then disappointed by the Politician who spoke at the Rally. Its so clear that we can not depend upon these politicians for our rights and medical needs. But we can & must depend on each other!” – Gary

“I didn’t think I was ready to wear the HIV POSITIVE shirt. But wow, it was an awesome experience. I felt really empowered. I am now stronger today than yesterday.” – Paul

“I really expected to see only a few HIV POSITIVE shirts. But it seemed like there were hundreds. I felt really proud wear it.” – James

“I felt proud & empowered to fight the battles we still need to fight.” – James

Amidst the sea of black shirts there were Mothers & Fathers, Grandparents, and Children. I felt very inspired by all of those who walked with us.” – Terry

I felt so fortunate to be alive & holding hands with these incredible men. For me, it was a celebration of life.

When we walked up to the Names Quilt, I held back my tears as I thought about so many beautiful people who could not be with us to walk, but I felt their strength & energy jolt me. The Quilts spoke of their joys in life not the sadness of illness. I may have HIV but I am not dead and I choose to Live…Joyfully

“Thru all of this, I made some really amazing friends!” – John

“OMG, there were so many hot guys wearing those shirts!” – Roger

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“I drove down to the vigil in a rather somber mood, thinking about all the special people in my life I have lost to AIDS. This is the 1st World AIDS Day vigil I have had the courage to attend. I was afraid during the walk I might break down in tears, because my losses really have been that substantial. But having so many of my friends from the LIFE group around me took my mind off all that sadness. All the friends and loved ones I have lost to AIDS would have been proud to know we are still here, and still living off all the strength and love we shared while they were here with us.” – David

What a glorious sight when I arrived at Hagen Park. They were a hit. I got several inquiries as to where we got them and what PALS and LIFE were about.

“Personally, I felt free and proud – for one night at least, rid of the HIV stigma. It was right there on my chest for all to see. It raised awareness and I did get approached in Bill’s, Alibi and on the street by curious men who said they respected me and my choice to where the shirt.” – Ralph

“Nice work gentlemen. It was an amazing sight. I wanted to share a little something with you too. Jose, Eduardo and I were all wearing our Poz shirts standing together in Alibi afterwards and a guy none of use knew came over and insisted on a group hug. All he kept saying was ‘You guys are just amazing…just amazing.’ Sort of defined the night for me, and you know what? He is right! Thank you!” – Dave

“YES…It was an amazing evening. It was so great to see so many of our fellow LIFEers together wearing the shirts. For me, it was our Graduation! I’m so glad we were all able to share it together.

“Thanks Guys for making this happen and for sharing in this experience together.”

I can hardly express the joy and pride I experienced to walk with such amazing people who made me feel right at home even though I am HIV Negative. I walked mainly for my partner Rudyn to honor his strength and spirit but after last night, my extended family has been enlarged by quite a few special, loving and strong-willed people. Thanks for such an unforgettable experience!!!” – Carlos

To be continued…

– Photos by Bob R.

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At this morning’s World AIDS Day Ceremonies, The Community Foundation of Broward Awarded its Footsteps in the Sand LEADERSHIP Award to POZitive Attitudes Group Facilitator Steve Stagon. The award was presented by Sheri Brown who recognized Steve’s four years of leadership in support of the HIV/AIDS Community and his overall leadership of the POZitive Attitudes Group. She also noted that Steve is always there in support of the community as well as helping individuals with HIV/AIDS.

The Community Foundation of Broward also recognized Anthony Johnson with its Footsteps in the Sand Award for VOLUNTEERISM.

In accepting his award, Steve noted the the Men of POZitive Attitudes have had an enormous positive impact on his life…

“This is a great honor. Not just for me, but for my HIV support group Pozitive Attitudes, what we’re trying to do and the men who attend and have made my life 100 times richer.

Anthony Perkins, who played Norman Bates in the movie Psycho and died of AIDS in 1992 said; ‘I have learned much more about love, selflessness and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat competitive world in which I spent my life.’ That’s how I feel. I wish HIV/AIDS on no one and I urge every negative person to do all they can to stay negative. But for those of us who are positive, I tell you your life is not over, come out of your HIV closet and contribute to your community. The world needs you and you need the world.

“Find a job volunteering that you enjoy and your life will open up and renew itself. I love what I do and I thank you for recognizing my contribution.”

– Bob R.

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I was very proud of the group turnout at the ADAP Rally. We were well represented. It may seem minimal, but it is a first step for us to re-engage in activism and it takes a lot of courage for people to show up. With all the times we have talked about disclosure and stigma, it was great to see so many of us at a busy intersection supporting the need for ADAP funding, many wearing HIV Positive T-shirts. Please join us as we try to end this crisis.
!” – Tim

– Bob R.

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Good afternoon Men,

We are very excited to share with you the most recent effort by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services called “Facing AIDS” which is accessible at the following link: http://www.aids.gov/facingaids/

This program recognizes the importance of disclosure. As published on the site. “By Facing AIDS, you’re also supporting the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.” According to the Strategy, “The stigma associated with HIV remains extremely high and fear of discrimination causes some Americans to avoid learning their HIV status, disclosing their status, or accessing medical care.” (Sounds like a few of the co-factors we discussed in the L.I.F.E. program.)

Please visit the web site referenced and read about this innovative program.

Bob, Joe and myself will be at Alibi’s early Wednesday night (about 6:30 PM) to meet and walk with participants of this L.I.F.E. cycle & the POZitive Attitudes group members to Richardson Park. As promised, we will be wearing our “HIV POSITIVE” t-shirts to show support for those persons and organizations who are actively promoting visibility of the HIV positive population to end the stigma associated with this disease.

We encourage you to wear the “HIV POSITIVE” t-shirt donated this past Tuesday night to the participants, facilitators, and staff of PALS/L.I.F.E. Project. We are very glad we can help raise this awareness within our community while giving thanks to each of you for sharing with us your experiences. Please invite your friends/guests to join us and we will make additional shirts available as possible that evening.

We look forward to seeing you.

Our best for a memorable evening,
Jim Cooper, Joe Guerrero, Bob Risse

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