State Health Commissioner Marks 20th Annual World AIDS Day at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center Today at Noon

Awards presented for HIV/AIDS Contributions

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 27, 2007 ) - State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., will mark the 20th year observance of World AIDS Day, today at noon at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center by honoring individuals and organizations statewide for their outstanding contributions in the field of HIV and AIDS.

"Today we will honor those individuals who have committed their efforts to reaching out to those with HIV/AIDS and making our struggle against AIDS their own," said Dr. Daines. "This year's theme, 'HIV affects us all and together we can make a difference' is true now more than ever before. The individuals we are honoring today are a testament to how we can all make a difference."

New York State reports 172,051 AIDS cases as of December 2005 or nearly 18 percent of all cases in the United States, more than any other state. Additionally, 111,597 New Yorkers were reported living with either HIV or AIDS.

Dr. Daines will present 17 awards in today's World AIDS ceremony at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, where panels from the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt are on display through November 30. Award nominations were submitted from Ryan White CARE networks throughout New York and by the State Health Department AIDS Institute staff. Awards were presented to the following:

New York City:

Central Harlem -- Escott Solomon is the Chair of the Central Harlem HIV CARE Network's PLWH/A Advisory Committee. Under Escott's leadership, the Committee has doubled its membership and continues to recruit other Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH/A).

East Harlem -- Ofelia Barrios was instrumental in implementing an adolescent HIV prevention program in East Harlem and co-founded Mexicanos Unidos, whose mission is to provide HIV prevention services to Mexican communities in New York City.

Queens -- Teresa I. Scott has brought HIV/AIDS awareness to youth in Far Rockaway for the past five years. She has assisted in getting youth involved by mentoring and guiding them.

Bronx -- Daniel Vaddy is the Activities Coordinator and a volunteer at the Bronx HIV CARE Network and Montefiore Medical Center and also assists the Bronx HIV CARE Network.

East New York/Brownsville -- Felicia Carroll is an active voice for the community in her position at the Advocacy Department at Housing Works. She is also a member of the East New York/Brownsville CARE Network and the chair of the Community Awareness workgroup.

Bedford Stuyvesant/Crown Heights -- Shari McCalla serves and advocates for people living with HIV/AIDS who are primarily Caribbean immigrants, with a particular emphasis on trying to aid the undocumented population.

Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick -- Nadine Juste-Beckles has been involved with the HIV/AIDS community for more than 13 years and is the Executive Director one of the Housing Works Adult Day Health and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Haitian-American Health Alliance

Staten Island -- Delphine Butler serves on the Network Steering Committee and is the co-chair of the Staten Island CARE Network PWA Advisory Group.

Long Island:

Nassau-Suffolk -- United Way Long Island's HIV/AIDS Grants Management Department has shown its unwavering commitment to the HIV community on Long Island for the past 10 years. Staff has assisted hundreds of individuals in accessing emergency financial assistance, case management, housing, rental assistance, transportation, social services and health care needs

Upstate New York:

Lower Hudson -- Trevor Payne is an Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services Program Coordinator at the Westchester County Department of Mental Health and has been involved in AIDS prevention since 1995.

Mid-Hudson -- Tracy R. Moran has been advocating for people living with HIV/AIDS for 15 years and serves as a Co-Chair for the Ryan White HIV CARE Network Mid- Hudson Region;

Northeastern New York (Capital Region) -- Richard Hahn has been a member of the HIV CARE Network for almost 10 years and is a volunteer at Albany Medical College AIDS Treatment Center.

Central New York (Syracuse) -- Lynn Atwood is a role model for other HIV-positive women. She is actively involved in the Central New York HIV CARE Network.

Southern Tier (Binghamton/Tri-County) -- Alfreda Archie teaches parenting classes at the county jail and leads discussions about HIV/AIDS. Alfreda is well known in the community and has served as a board member of Planned Parenthood and volunteered for numerous other HIV/AIDS advocacy agencies.

Finger Lakes (Rochester) -- Priscilla Hardy is an Outreach Educator at the AIDS Community Health Center and an active member of the Executive Committee of the Rochester Area Task Force on AIDS, the regional Ryan White Network and numerous other HIV/AIDS advocacy groups.

Western New York (Buffalo) -- Deborah Graf is employed at the Erie County Medical Center's Immunodeficiency Services department. She is an active member of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and provides community education through the HIV Clinical Education Initiative.

Faith Initiative Award -- The Rev. Dr. James A. Lewis, III is the director of Pastoral Care at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, where he trains other clergy to respond compassionately to the needs of persons who are sick or injured and are in need of spiritual care and nurturing, including persons with HIV and AIDS.

"Every hour in the United States, two young adults under age 25 become infected with HIV; and one of them will be from New York, because New York has the highest number of AIDS cases of any state," said Dr. Daines. "Over 172, 000 individuals have been diagnosed with AIDS in New York State and approximately 69,716 people are living with AIDS and 41,881 have tested positive for HIV. Your work has contributed to the great strides New York has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS."