For its annual special issue highlighting individuals making an impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS, POZ Magazine sharpened its focus on a specific region of the United States.
The American South, while comprising just 37 percent of the country’s population is home to 44 percent of people living with an HIV diagnosis. In this year’s “Poz 100” issue, the magazine selected people from the 16 states designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as “South” who are leading the charge against the virus.
“In this presidential election year, our choice of a POZ 100 theme was clear,” said Oriol Gutierrez, POZ’s editor-in-chief. “We can’t end the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic without addressing the impact of the virus in the South, so we wanted this year’s list to spotlight the efforts of those who are already leading the way.”
Six South Floridians made the list. They are: Angel Camacho, Miami, Stephen Fallon, Wilton Manors, David Fawcett, Wilton Manors, Arianna Lint, Fort Lauderdale, Michael Rajner, Wilton Manors and Ken Rapkin, Fort Lauderdale.
Here is a little bit more about the six:
A Miami-Dade activist, who for years has been a leading force in organizing activities that help fight HIV/AIDS. Known as Angel Infiniti in social and health care circles, he brings people together in modern ways.
Camacho presently works as a peer prevention case manager at Borinquen Medical Centers of Miami-Dade and is on the Care and Treatment Committee of the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Partnership.
Fallon is the co-founder of Latinos Salud, an HIV prevention, testing and support organization with offices in Miami Beach, Wilton Manors and Kendall.
He has been an AIDS researcher for much of his adult life and holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Florida.
In the summer, Fallon’s agency created “DiveriSafe” an intervention effort targeting the LGBTQ Latinx community.
Fallon, who is HIV negative, was a member of the 2015 SFGN Out 50 group and owns the health care consulting firm, Skills4.
A publisher author, psychotherapist and long-term survivor, Fawcett has most recently been recognized for his efforts in raising awareness of the methamphetamine epidemic among gay men.
His book, “Lust, Men and Meth” analyzes why gay men engage in “chem sex” and the harmful consequences.
At Pride Center, Fawcett created the “Couples Speak” program, which brings same-sex couples together to better their relationship skills and reduce HIV transmission.
A transgender Latina refugee, Lint immigrated to the United States 15 years ago from Peru, where she had graduated from law school but her activism forced her to seek safer shores.
Lint, who has been HIV positive since 2006, serves on the Positively Trans National Advisory Board. A past member of the SFGN Out 50 list, Lint occupies a seat on the board of the Trans United Fund and is the CEO of Arianna’s Center, which empowers the trans community of South Florida.
Michael Emanuel Rajner
Rajner wears many hats in the activism community. From challenging Wilton Manors to provide transgender inclusive healthcare benefits for city employees to routinely speaking out on behalf of people living with HIV, Rajner is a recognized face in the HIV/AIDS community.
Some of the boards Rajner serves on: Broward County HIV Services Planning Council, Florida AIDS Program Assistance Program Advisory Group and Broward County Human Rights Board.
Rapkin directs the Campbell Foundation, an HIV research organization. Under Rapkin’s guidance, the Campbell Foundation provides grants to scientists developing methods to eradicate the virus.
For more than 20 years, the Campbell Foundation has helped fund research and offer better treatment options for HIV patients.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Rapkin, who is HIV negative, received a degree in criminal justice from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.