SOUTHWEST AIDS COMMITTEE
Southwest AIDS Committee, Inc. has experienced a great deal of growth in the past year and we felt it was time to update you on our programs, policies, staffing, volunteers and our
funding programs. We have been providing education and services to the El Paso Gay Comrnunitystal984 aixl expert to continue to r^
That time will come when there is a cute for AIDS!
Levi Strauus Foundation - $36,000 - this grant provides education in english and Spanish to the
El Paso community. The public service announcements you have seen on TV are part of thai grant.
SAFE has provided us with additional funds to produce these for the movie theaters. Pari of an
additional grant Irom the Chicago Resource Center also paid for this production. The Levi grant
also provides us with a paid educator.
Hightower Foundation - $7,500 - provides us with an Administrative Assistant - $1.800 - Women,
Children and AIDS Workshop al UTEP School ol Nursing.
AIDS Medicaid Waiver Seed Grant - $20,000 - this particular gram from the stale of New
Mexico Department of Human Services provided us with funds to purchase our telephone system,
office furniture, computer equipment and start up salaries for this important program. Under this
program SWAC employs a Case Manager for PWAs in southern New Mexico.
New Mexico Department of Health and Environment - $57,000 - under this grant, we hired a
Hispanic educator lor southern New Mexico and executed a number of projects including posters
and billboards. We also produced in Spanish and english a 15 minute video production on AIDS in
the Hispanic community.
Community Development Block Grant - $10,000 - this is one of the most important fundings lo
date in that this is the FIRST time the city ol El Paso has openly recognised the need lor
organizations such as SWAC. This grant will allow us to continue our assistance to diagnosed and
newly diagnosed HIV positives and those with ARC and AIDS.
We do not compete with other El Paso organizations for funding. Much of our support comes in the
form of private donations from concerned citizens like yourself and your friends. Mosl of our grants
are specific and directed towards areas of the community where no one has had the foresight to
allempt to reach. For instance, SWAC feels that there is a great need to better educate Gay men
about Safer Sex and has written a large funding request to do a one year program to properly
educate those thai wish to be educated and have tun at the same time. We have also requested
some $700,000 to provide an aflernative care facility for PWAs and a home for the indigent stricken
with AIDS. Ambitious, yes! Necessary, yes!
SWAC and Confidentiality
We have worked very hard to set up a system whereby we can effectively protect the identity of HIV positive individuals, persons with ARC and AIDS. SWAC never releases the name of
any individual without specific permission. Occasionally, someone will ask "How's my friend doing?" or "Is so and so positive?" and we are unable to answer. Confidentiality is of the highest
concern to us and we make every attempt to keep that information strictly limited lo those persons who have an absolute need to know. We caution everyone to know who you are dealing
with before you release your health siatus to them. It is a violation of the Texas Communicable Disease ACT to release the name of any individual who is HIV positive or has AIDS lo anyone
without the specific permission of thai individual. That law is to protect everyone.
Advocacy Program which utilizes volunteer "Buddies* to assist with day to day functions of PWAs; social work assistance program which finds resources within the community to which
PWAs might avail themselves; food bank which was started in a major way with a donation of $1,000 from SAFE and continues operation by Metropolitan Community Church of El Paso;
Adopt A Patient program under which local churches agree to assist an individual PWA; Dental Clinic which will be available at no cost to PWA or SWAC on a monthly basis; case
management under the State of New Mexico's Medicaid Waiver Program which pays for patients' medicines, doctor visits, nursing and homemaker services; Medical Advisory Board which
will assist in finding physicians willing to work on a sliding scale; Psychological Assistance Program whereby psychologists are available on a free or sliding scale basis; Speakers Bureau
which does presentations on AIDS to the community; AIDS in the Workplace Educational program; PWA support groups; Loving Others Support Group (friends and relatives ol PWAs);
and Case management of HIV/AIDS individuals who attend weekly HIV Clinic at Texas Tech School of Medicine; and, of course, SWACs on-going condoms/education project for Gay Men.
The majority of our programs are established for both English and Spanish speaking individuals.
SWAC continues to seek volunteers from all walks of life. Judy Bunten, our Director of Volunteer Services is herself a volunteer. Doug Carnell, Chairperson of SWAC received the 1988
Volunteer of the Year Award from the Volunteer Bureau of United Way ol El Paso. The rewards in doing volunteer work are great and we encourage all of you to get involved now.
Without our volunteers we would be unable to provide many of our programs.
All Ihe SWAC staffers are underpaid and overworked but believe by doing more than is required
they can and do make a dillerence.
Terry Call. Execulive Director was approved to lhal position in June of 1987. This was a lull time
volunteer position until February ol 1988 when sulficienl lunds were received to pay a minimal
salary. Favorite quote, a professor from Vanderbill University speaking to the Presidenl's
Commission on AIDS: 'We can all talk about AIDS until we are all dead." He believes there will be 3
cure for AIDS but until there is we must all do what we can to help.
Ramon Flores, Case Manager/Educator was a SWAC volunteer until this position became
available. Ramon is hard working and dedicated lo providing service to those wiih AIDS. Ramon is
also a Board Member of Melropolilan Community Church.
Judy Bunten, Director of Volunteer Services is herself a volunteer. Judy came to SWAC after a
"lamous" El Paso drag queen friend told her about whal we do and why we do if. Judy spends many
hours each day helping SWAC provide service lo Ihe community.
Edith Franco. Case Manager lor Ihe New Mexico Department of Human Services AIDS Medicaid
Waiver Program and the firsl paid stall person hired by SWAC. SWAC was introduced to Edith at
a dinner party given by a SWAC volunteer who has AIDS. When Ihis position became available
Edith was hired and has proven to have outstanding abilities. During a recent Medicaid Audit, the
Auditor commented lhal Edith's case management records were the best they had ever seen.
Felipe Luna, Hispanic Educator for southern New Mexico had very little knowledge about AIDS
when he was hired in February of this year. He is now considered an authority on Hispanics and
AIDS and has attended numerous seminars. His openness and honesty in dealing with AIDS has
helped all the SWAC staff realize thai AIDS is a concern for all of us.
Keith Wilkinson, Administralive Assistant, came lo SWAC Irom Ihe US Army. Keith helps us in
every way imaginable in the office. Ask and he knows where it is or al leas! where it's supposed to
be. He also coordinates day to day activities for the staffers.
SWACs Board of Directors is a listing ol Who's Who of AIDS in El Paso. The Board members are:
Douglas R. Carnell, Chair; Mr. James Carr, El Paso businessman; Earl W. Gorby, M.D. retired Irom
El Paso City-County TB Clinic; Frank Osbourne, Jr., El Paso businessman; Lawrence Banegas, AIDS
prevention specialist with Dona Ana County Health; John Karr, El Paso civic leader; Lynn McNicho!
RN. AIDS nurse at William Beaumont Department of Inlectious Diseases; Terry Pasqualone, Attorn;;;'
al Law; Paul Casner, M.D., Director ol Ihe HIV Clinic al Texas Tech; Robert Bonaventure, El Paso
businessman; Yvonne Flores, RN, Texas Department of Human Services; and Tony Bengert, El Pas?
You and AIDS
The AIDS epidemic may or may not be affecting you righf now. If it isn't you are one of Ihe lew Gay El Pasoans who have not in some way been affected. Today, tomorrow or sometime in Ihe near
future AIDS will surface in your life. You may be HIV positive, or have a friend or lover who is infected. You may have a friend who will be diagnosed with AIDS. You will be affected!
What Can You Do
Now, today, start laking better care of yourself. Do all of those things your mother always told you were good tor you. Recognize who you are. know your friends, support those around you. If you
drink, do so in moderation. If you smoke quit or cut down If you smoke pot, do so in moderation or quit If you use cocaine get some help and quit. Eat right everyday. Exercise and gel proper rest
II you have stress in your life try lo deal wilh il in an effective way and gel rid ol it. II you are in a relationship make it monogamous or praclice Saler Sex without fail. If you meet someone you want lo
have sex with talk about Safer Sex before going home. II they don't believe in Safer Sex explain lo Ihem that your life and theirs are too important lo risk ml practicing Saler Sex. Lei them know lhal
unsale sex means no sex. Conduct yourself as though you and your partner are HIV positive. Never practice unsafe sex because your partner insists or because you donl have a condom. Learn
about your sexuality and make every allempt lo be comfortable wilh lhal sexuality.
Somelhing else you can do is lo gel out and help. SWAC and our community need you. Volunteer for SWAC, SAFE, MCC, RBA, Ihe El Paso Alliance or any other community group a lew hours a
week or monlh II you donate lo charity consider Ihese groups when you donale. If you are involved in politics, remember human rights and how Ihey are obtained. Gel involved in your community for
il we don't help ourselves how can we expect help from others'
The Last Wnrrl
SWAC is here lor you in whatever way you might need us If you have ideas for programs, see a need that's not being mel, have a question about our funding, need information, want to help, or just
want lo see whal we are about, plaese call our office 915/ 533-5003 or slop by (916 Easl Yandell) and we will gladly assist you in any way we can. We're here lor you!
The space for this article was paid lor by a friend of SWAC
GAYPULSE / August 1988 7