Spokane Man Wins Recognition for AIDS Work

By Paige Browning

Just in time for World AIDS Day, a magazine for people affected by the disease has named its 100 unsung heroes of 2013. For the first time, all heroes are HIV or AIDS positive, and one is fighting his battle in Spokane.
 
Mark Garrett says he was honored to hear that a co-worker nominated him for the POZ 100 list of unsung heroes. He said we was surprised "because there’s so many deserving people working in this field.”

The award winning POZ Magazine, releases it’s 4th annual list in the December issue. Mark Garrett is a peer advocate at Spokane AIDS Network. But his involvement began on the other end. He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 in California, and eight year’s later, became a client and volunteer at the network.
 
Garrett: “Effective treatment hadn’t come out, so I essentially was coming to Spokane to live my last few months or maybe years closer to family.”
 
But as more effective treatments have been developed, Garrett’s health has improved and allowed him to work, as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on HIV-AIDS, Lifelong AIDS Alliance’s Statewide Public Policy Committee, and other roles.
 
The Spokane AIDS network now focuses on testing. Prevention Coordinator Kyle Richardson says 40 percent of cases in Washington are late-diagnosed, meaning the person’s HIV has developed into AIDS once they get tested. There are about 450 living with the virus in Spokane County, and 11,000 statewide, according to Richardson.

For World AIDS Day December 1st, the Spokane AIDS Network is hosting an event to honor those who have or are battling the disease. The commemoration is Sunday from 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at Stella’s Café in Spokane.

Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio
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