Triangle AIDS Network News

 

Triangle AIDS Network honors Albert Nolen as 2012 Red Ribbon Hero

The Triangle AIDS Network honored longtime advocate Albert Nolen with the 2012 Red Ribbon Hero Award Thursday night (Nov. 1, 2012) for his untiring efforts on behalf of persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Tam Kiehnhoff, client services director of TAN, announced the selection of Nolen to receive TAN’s highest honor during “Paint the Town Silver: Celebrating 25 Years of Service by the Triangle AIDS Network” at the Beaumont Country Club. The event is the nonprofit agency’s largest source of private funding.

Nolen was honored as a TAN advocate “who has supported TAN since the beginning – and whose energy is magical at any event,” according to the inscription on his award, a custom-framed rendition of the “Paint the Town Silver” invitation.

“Albert has been supporting the Triangle AIDS Network for as long as I can remember, and there’s no one better than Albert to help bring a party along,” said Jeff McManus, president of the TAN board of directors and co-chair and founder of Paint the Town Red. “His energy is always just magical at any event.

“He’s always been so great about fulfilling the theme, even sometimes coming in costume,” McManus said. “Albert is going to be out in the field, getting tables together and making this event sound as fun and as great as it always is.”

Nolen is a Realtor, retired educator and newspaper columnist. He was born and raised in Beaumont, where he attended school. He is a graduate of Lamar University, earning a bachelor of science in sociology in 1970 and a master of education in special education in 1975.

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HIV/AIDS epidemic taking heavy toll on the South, including east Texas

The Examiner August 2, 2012 — It could be your mother, brother, sister, neighbor or child – it’s the face of HIV/AIDS, and statistics show America’s saturation of persons living with the virus is on par with that of Third-World nations such as Uganda and Zimbabwe, somewhere around 1.2 million.

Alarming still for Southeast Texans is that the concentration is greater along coastal America, with southern states accounting for nearly half of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses annually, according to the Center for Disease Control. In Texas alone, more than 4,000 new diagnoses have been added every year for the last decade.

Beaumont, the 25th largest city in Texas, had the seventh highest number of new HIV/AIDS infections diagnosed in the state for 2011. Just an hour away in Houston, HIV/AIDS infection cases are skyrocketing, with more than 1,300 added in the first nine months of 2011. Barring a cure in the near future, Triangle AIDS Network (TAN) prevention specialist Lois Roy only sees those numbers gaining momentum in the years to come.

“The numbers are staggering,” Roy said, looking over Texas Department of Health reports covering HIV/AIDS in Jefferson County. “A lot of people don’t know a lot about HIV – or are not willing to learn. Everybody wants to have sex, but nobody wants to talk about sex. That’s why we’re adding new HIV/AIDS patients at a staggering rate.”

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Southeast Texas HIV/AIDS awareness workers say they have grown increasingly concerned about the virus …

Southeast Texas HIV/AIDS awareness workers say they have grown increasingly concerned about the virus – as well as other sexually transmitted diseases – spreading among seniors, including those in retirement communities and nursing homes.

A renewed sex life through erectile dysfunction drugs, combined with a lack of awareness, have put more seniors at risk, said David Asher, former (2006) prevention coordinator at the Beaumont-based Triangle AIDS Network.

Many seniors still believe HIV/AIDS only affects homosexuals, he said, and with pregnancy no longer an issue, some seniors don’t feel the need to use protection. Other seniors want to use protection, but have no access to it or don’t know how to use it, Asher said.

Officials from both Triangle AIDS Network and Project AIDS Land Manor said it is rare for them to be invited or allowed to give sex education programs and pass out condoms in retirement communities and nursing homes.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2003, the latest year for which statistics are available. Of those people, about one fourth are unaware of their infection. At least 40,000 people become infected with HIV each year, according to the CDC.

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Another “angel” for the agency during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike was the MAC AIDS Fund. The Fund, which was so instrumental in 2007 in providing help to the agency, again helped assuage some of the financial disaster of Hurricane Ike by giving TAN $30,000 to spend in its transportation program, a much needed boost since so much more gasoline and many more trips were needed to get individuals to medical appointments after the hurricane and displacement of so many clinics at UTMB Galveston.

Even now, the agency still finds itself renting vehicles and hiring additional help to take clients to League City, Texas City, Houston and Galveston since so many of the clinics from UTMB are now being held in different cities and in some cases, are not available at all. TAN has exhausted resources in trying to maintain some stability for indigent clients with their medical care, and when clients have their own transportation, it is helpful to them to get some assistance with the high cost of gasoline. The assistance of MAC AIDS Fund provided a very necessary boost.

Established in 1994 by M•A•C Cosmetics, the M•A•C AIDS Fund supports men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. Introducing its first VIVA GLAM lipstick that same year, M•A•C decided that every cent of the selling price of the VIVA GLAM lipsticks would go to the M•A•C AIDS Fund. With a total of six shades of Viva Glam lipstick and two shades of Viva Glam lip-gloss now sold worldwide, and through the annual Kids Helping Kids Card Program, M•A•C Cosmetics has provided over $135 million (US) to date for the M•A•C AIDS Fund. The M•A•C AIDS Fund is the heart and those affected by HIV/AIDS worldwide. The M•A•C AIDS Fund (MAF) has remained deeply committed to supporting diverse organizations across the country and around the world that are providing vital services to people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Their goal is to use their resources to improve the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS by strengthening prevention programs and direct services. 

At MAC AIDS Fund, they are always exploring ways to ensure that the grant making continues to be relevant, responsive and impactful. Over the past year, the Fund has engaged in a planning process to help shape and refine the overall funding strategy, priorities and programs. As part of this process, the Fund Directors met with leaders in the field, people on the front lines doing the work, grantees, and other funders. Based on their feedback, MAF leaders have decided that the best way to maximize the impact of the work and address the 250% growth in requests for funding experienced over the last two years is to narrow the focus of their grant making.

TAN may not be eligible for additional funding for awhile but deeply appreciates the MAC AIDS Fund was available in the pinch The MAC AIDS Fund remains committed to addressing the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS by providing general operating support to direct service programs while simultaneously supporting innovation and leadership in the field.

This is the third such award TAN has received from the MacAIDS fund totaling $160,000.