Mark Garrett, a peer advocate at the Spokane AIDS Network, has been named to the “POZ 100,” a compilation of “unsung heroes” in the fight against AIDS.
The magazine released its list in advance of World AIDS Day on Sunday.
For the first time in its four years, everyone on the list has or had HIV, according to a news release from POZ, which publishes HIV-related news and features online and in print.
Garrett, 58, of Spokane, also noted that for the first time everyone on the POZ list was still living when they were nominated, although he knows of one person who’s since died.
“Far too often, it’s an honorarium, after they’ve passed,” he said. “That just points out the hope we have out there. Whether you’re active or not in the advocacy part of it, you have opportunities to live a longer, healthier life.”
Garrett was diagnosed in 1988. His experience – “having walked the path” – is helpful as he works on planning groups and mentors future advocates, he said.
Garrett has contributed to numerous planning and advocacy groups, including the Washington HIV/AIDS Community Advocacy Network and the Spokane Regional HIV/AIDS Speakers Bureau.
He said he’s also proud of his work with the Centers for Disease Control Medical Monitoring Project. He and others interview people living with HIV and study their medical records to determine how well their medical care is being delivered and identify gaps in services.
Free rapid HIV tests offered
The Panhandle Health District is offering free rapid HIV tests at all five of its North Idaho offices in recognition of World AIDS Day.
The test used by the district is similar to a pregnancy test, but it uses blood from a finger stick instead of urine, according to a news release.
If the result is positive, blood will be drawn from the patient for a confirmation test.
Appointments are required. Test dates and whom to call:
• Sandpoint, 1050 Michigan St., on Dec. 2 and Dec. 5. For an appointment, call (208) 263-5159.
• St. Maries, 137 N. Eighth St., Dec. 2 and Dec. 16. Call (208) 245-4556.
• Hayden, 8500 N. Atlas Road, Dec. 4 and Dec. 6. Call (208) 415-5270.
• Kellogg, 114 Riverside Ave., Dec. 6 and Dec. 13. Call (208) 786-7474.
• Bonners Ferry, 7402 Caribou St., Dec. 6 and Dec. 13. Call (208) 267-5558.
The health district reported that 78 people with HIV and 67 with AIDS were living in the five northern counties as of June.
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in five people living with HIV don’t know they have it. The CDC recommends people ages 13 through 64 include an HIV test in their annual physical exams.
World AIDS Day is Sunday.