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Author Topic: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....  (Read 2268 times)

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Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« on: February 27, 2007, 04:57:18 PM »
Well, glory be, I made the annual "Community Section" of the locally Mormon owned paper, done once a year in February.  As a bit of introduction, I must caution not all the quotes are accurate, but then you all know that not all reporters take accurate notes, so some things may seem a tad bit strange, but all in all, it is a fairly good article.

For your pleasure.

STRESSING LIFE

     GENTRY BRASWELL
     
     It is impossible, one expert says, to run a border-area HIV/AIDS initiative without working both sides of the fence.  It is also not worth that activist's energy to rely on federal dollars, in light of unrealistic restrictions on such funding, said Tim Van Nattan, a Huachuca City resident and U.S. Army veteran.
     Tim was the executive director of the BorderLand AIDS Service Team.  He recently mothballed the BorderLand AIDS Service Team, after the stress of running the organization started to wreck his relatively tenuous health Tim learned he was HIV positive in 1983 and has been dealing with it ever since.
     "I was on a drug cocktail for about four years with great success," he said. "I got to the point where the stress of running the organization was affecting my health, and I had drug failure last year. The cocktail that I was on quit working, which happens - we're talking about a mutant virus."
His virus became immune to all the drugs in the medicinal cocktail that Tim previously relied on to keep his HIV at bay.  "I panicked, but my doctor didn't," he said.
     Believing the stress of running the local HIV/AIDS initiative is what caused his condition to decline, he decided he must concentrate his efforts on himself.  There are an estimated 1.4 million HIV/AIDS cases in the United States now, up from about 850,000 two years ago, he said.  "And I've got news for you, Gentry. It's going to get a lot worse," Tim warned this reporter.
     In a recent response to such dark predictions, Tim said, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has failed its patients because of the current U.S. executive administration policy.
    "One of the problems that sort of drove me away from local HIV work was the fact that combined with my age (60), and the frustration of not being able to really impact anything, is this administration has flat-funded HIV since its beginning," he said.
     Through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program administered through U.S. Health and Human Services, expensive AIDS drugs are funded for those who cannot afford them. The average cost of treatment these days ranges from about $32,000 to $46,000 per year. Tim's treatment is administered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
     "I've always had the VA, thank God," he said. "But the ADAP program has been administered so poorly in so many states, and people are beginning to die around our country because the ADAP program has been administrated so poorly in a lot of states."  For example, three AIDS patients died in North Carolina during the last quarter of calendar year 2006 because of waiting lines for AIDS treatment, he said.
     Tim believes the current Bush administration has a negligent policy, which at best passively encourages ignorance about the reality of HIV/AIDS, for the future of not only the U.S. population, but the world's.  Such requirements attached to federal funding for HIV/AIDS initiatives, which Tim finds incorrigible, include teaching abstinence as the only means for safety, as such a curriculum is unrealistic and in conflict with human nature.
     "Prevention is now under funded because abstinence is the only message," he said. "That's the only way you can get funded for anything HIV. I will not commit to that because it's asinine. They don't want to even talk about it, they don't want to understand that it will eventually affect their children, and them. If they think those are all gay infections, then they're literally walking around with their eyes closed. And their ears."
     After his HIV infection grew immune to the six-drug cocktail, his VA physician put him on a half dose of Zidovudine, often called "AZT."
     AZT was the first anti-HIV drug approved for use in the United States. Tim has a significant allergy to AZT, and that's why he wasn't taking it to begin with.  "He put me on half a dose and it worked. His hunch was right, and it worked," he said.  Tim still must cope with some pretty strong effects, but said he suffers those to stay alive.  "Currently, I'm living with nausea and bone pain, and 24-hour diarrhea," he said.  AZT is classified as a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, sometimes called a "nuke." The drug works by causing the HIV virus to produce faulty reproductive enzymes.
     "When I was at my worst, I was down to 20 (white blood) cells per micro liter, and the normal is 900 to 1,000. A very healthy person's going to have about 1,500" he said.
     All told, the BorderLand group lasted about four years from planning to closure. Even though Tim had to interrupt the organization, he still has the satisfaction of making what local difference he could.
"I know that for sure. I don't feel defeated at all, I feel victorious," he said. "And anybody in town can take it over if they want. It's unfunded."
     Again, he feels strongly that federal funding is restrictive in its unrealistic standards and requirements.  "I refuse to take government funding because government funding doesn't work for the rural Southwest," he said. "I learned very quickly that you can do much more without government funding than with."  Getting private funding is the answer, Tim said.
     In the days when he and his partner lived in New Mexico, they had success with a previous AIDS initiative group they founded, working with communities in Mexico and the United States. He noted a few of the most successful today with such interborder services exist in San Diego, Yuma and El Paso, Texas.  El Paso's International AIDS Empowerment is the most successful, he said.
     With government funding, initiatives can only work on one side of the border, and that is an approach doomed for failure, as the HIV virus does not heed political border lines.  An organization straddling the border is as important as a grassroots angle for such social work.
     "The reason why I have to lay off is there's no interest. There's no support. People don't care about HIV anymore," Tim said. "Essentially all you can do is to make your own neighborhood, your own environment your own world a better place."
     Van Nattan writes a regular column for the Herald/Review, and intends to continue with it.
"I do have a certain amount of readership, but most of them are already informed and most of them already care," he said. "The writing is a release, the writing works for me, and I hope people enjoy it. People learn from it."
      Often a receptive and understanding audience is found among youth and young adults, who tend to view such social endeavors with less superstition, and as less of a threat.  "They don't have as much prejudice as their parents," he said.
     If his AZT treatment fails, he could be in trouble. Another option that would remain is a drug called Fuzion, but it would require a skin injection three times a day.  "The drug is pretty effective, but it costs 50 grand a year," he said.
     In 1967, Van Nattan was drafted after his grades at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles fell below a "C" average. He served in Germany with the Signal Corps until 1970.  Without U.S. Department Veterans Affairs medical coverage, his ongoing battle with HIV would have been even worse.
     "When you're living with HIV, if you're not cognizant of it you're not going to survive," he said. "You cannot live with a naive immune system."
     The Greater Huachuca Area Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was one of the only bodies which helped Tim take the torch for local HIV/AIDS initiative, he said.
     "For me, it's a change of priorities. I have to preserve my own health," he said. "Stress will kill somebody with HIV faster than anything else."



I hope you enjoyed the read, and the photo below was right at the top of the page, in about a six by eight inch photo.

Love.


[attachment deleted by admin]
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline thunter34

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,324
  • His name is Carl.
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2007, 05:05:54 PM »
Great read, Tim!  And I LOVE your photo!
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline aztecan

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,429
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 05:08:41 PM »
Hey Tim, just a quickie because I'm at work.

Great story. I have a few critiques for the reporter, but, well, what can I say. Old habits die hard.

Love ya,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2007, 05:18:08 PM »
Thanks Tim,

Thanks Mark.  I KNEW when I saw you reading that you were just twisting in your seat at all the fragmented sentences, thoughts and text, but then I wasn't going to re-write the whole thing.  After OCR into Word, it took me about an hour to make it presentable for here, but then this is the southwest and we take what we can get.  The paper itself is very professional, but this particular reporter is not terribly attentive. 

Thanks again guys.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline poet

  • Member
  • Posts: 934
  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2007, 05:22:40 PM »
Tim, it's always nice to find our fellow posters/members in the news, making news, changing the way things work, moving this along or ahead.  Congratulations! Best, Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline thunter34

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,324
  • His name is Carl.
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2007, 05:31:16 PM »
With all apologies to Moffie, if I may verge off topic for a moment. 

Mark, I just noticed your latest avatar...


I shall have to invite you to my Exclusive Outdoors-Indoors Luxury Barbecue with finger buffet.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 05:34:02 PM by thunter34 »
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2007, 05:36:03 PM »
If you do without inviting both of us living in this house, you will be severely beaten, and you will never be invited to one of ours.

Hmmmmm.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Bucko

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,947
  • You need a shine, missy!
    • The Spin Cycle
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 05:52:34 PM »
Thanks for the great read, Daddy Tim.

Hopefully the message will get out despite the reporter's poor approach.

hugs,
Brent
(Who finds that style can sometimes trump content)
Blessed with brains, talent and gorgeous tits.

The revolutionary smart set reads The Spin Cycle at least once every day.

Blathering on AIDSmeds since 2005, provocative from birth

Offline Andy Velez

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 25,358
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 06:08:58 PM »
The reporter's duhs notwithstanding, it still gets some important messages out there, Tim. Well done!

In reading your comments about the government I was reminded of an ACT UP chant of yore, which still fits so many situations: "It's a lie! It's a sham! "And it won't work!!"

I'll know there's a real shift in the government's intentions when they hire you and others who know the real deal to start and run effective programs. That won't happen today but I haven't given up hoping.

Good to hear from you,  Tim.

Andy Velez

Offline jkinatl2

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,007
  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 06:11:07 PM »
Moffie, almost everyone on this forum owes you a debt of gratituude. Most don't even know the length and breadth of your service. Many are alive because of you, and will never, ever know it.

For what it's worth, I am grateful.


"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Elizabeth

  • Member
  • Posts: 62
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2007, 06:12:45 PM »
Great article Tim.  You inspire me!

Not all who wander are lost.

Offline MSPspud

  • Member
  • Posts: 613
  • Joined Mar 2005 - Formerly UofMurbs
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2007, 06:22:59 PM »
Nice article, Tim.

I'm kind of curious as to whether Prezista may be an option for you (especially if combined with Fuzeon and maybe even the new integrase inhibitor)?

Hang in there, mister! 

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2007, 06:48:37 PM »
Geez, you guys humble me very much. 

First off, thanks Win as I didn't do so earlier,

Yes Brent, there is nothing that surpasses style is there.  Also a modicum of understanding of grammer is part and parcel of Style.

Thanks Andy for reminding us of the "substance" of Act Up.  We always need reminding of where we have been so we can see where we are going.

Jonathan, I am just so very glad you are still here, still kicking, and still making a difference.  I loved your recent post on drugs and how they have significance to this very population.  Bravo!

Elizabeth, please call whenever you think I can be of service, and be sure, we do inspire each other and give each other strength beyond what we might think.

Thanks Spud for the hint.  So far the half dose of Trizivir is mysteriously working quite well.  Of course that is also combined with Kaletra, Tenofovir and that is all at this point.  I will keep Prezista in mind, and the Fuzeon is also there for the asking.

All in all, the health is doing quite good but the sides are really difficult and I find myself sitting far too much, but the energy level is just not there.  I am boosting my energy with Guarana, and Alpha Lipoic Acid, and it helps when I need to move dirt, pour concrete, or do some sort of other construction work.

Love.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Basquo

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,277
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2007, 07:20:48 PM »
Quote
waiting lines for AIDS treatment

WTF??  Did I miss the "soup kitchen" announcement from our current administration?

Other than that,

Well done, Tim. Thank you!

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: WHAT IS NEWS, IS NEWS.....
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2007, 05:50:56 AM »
I guess you did Creghton, I still don't know if all the states have done away with their ADAP waiting lists, but someone here should be able to fill us in.

Thanks guy. 
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

 


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