Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jeff Allen - Positive CHampions

On Sunday November 11th at 9pm EST we will be speaking with Activist Jeff Allen on the POZ I AM Radio Show. Jeff Allen tested positive in 1985. He was a drug addict using heroin and cocaine and reckless in his behavior. Jeff was homeless and living in my car for more than two months. Jeff lived in Key west with his partner of 12 years where the HIV community was small and compact. When it came to the end of his life he wanted to leave and go where he was not so well known. After his passing Jeff moved to Deland Florida right outside the Daytona Beach area. He was very frail and weak, but needed a purpose in his life. This is when Jeff first started volunteering with HIV/AIDS in 1995.

Living with no T-cells for 3 years and a viral load 1,650,000 Jeff contracted MAC (Mycobacterium avium complex) from potting plants in my yard. “MAC,” is the name of a group of germs. These germs can infect people who are living with HIV. Jeff had to go on an IV drip for 5 days.

Then Jeff got involved with his local Ryan White consortium (Partnership for Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Planning PCHAP) he ended up chairing the consortium for 7 years. He then decided he wanted to make a difference on the national level. Jeff knew he wanted to get involved with the homeless in some capacity since he was previous homeless. Jeff also knew that he wanted to help improve the quality of care that HIV/AIDS patients receive. So he applied and was accepted in several different positions

Then in 2011 working with his consortium, they needed to address the out of care numbers of clients that they have in the local area. After conducting focus groups and soliciting surveys, it was decided that the real issue was the fear and stigma that is associated with HIV/AIDS. People did not want to get tested in areas know to treat or counsel HIV positive people for fear of being associate with having the disease or being gay. So Jeff created the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau to deal with fear and stigma.

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