POZ’s C2EA countdown

Five years ago, HIVer JoeRattner, now 38, ditched New York City for Hawaii—hoping the beachesand laid-back lifestyle would be healing. Instead, he found rampantdrug use and poor HIV care. Rattner fought back, founding the West OahuHope for a Cure Foundation. A state caravan organizer for October’sCampaign to End AIDS (C2EA; visit www.c2ea.org), Rattner is helping HIVpositive islanders get to LA and caravan to Washington, DC. Be there.Aloha.

Why are you marching?
HawaiiHIV care is nowhere near New York City’s. If you’re on ADAP but don’tqualify for Medicaid and need testosterone or pain killers to manageside effects, you’re screwed.

So it’s not exactly paradise?
It’sMormon country here—students are using drugs even though they believein [substance] abstinence. These are small islands with lots of HIVstigma—word gets around quickly.

How will the Hawaiian delegation get to the mainland?
We’reholding a PBS inter-island fundraising telethon October 1 for peoplewho can’t afford airfare to LA or DC.  We’ll have ancient andmodern hula dancers performing on-air.