Nebraska AIDS Project
Positive since 2010
Tommy Dennis first came to the Nebraska AIDS Project (NAP) as a client when he was diagnosed with HIV. He now serves as one of NAP’s most notable speaking volunteers and advocates for the cause. As a young, black man, Tommy is an instrumental spokesperson for those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in the community, especially within his demographic. He shares his story and provides education to reduce stigma in a primarily conservative community in the Midwest. Tommy helped develop and continues to maintain NAP’s young adult support group, WHAAT! (Whoopin’ HIV and AIDS Together). He helps NAP with its mission to fight stigma and has educated many people in the Omaha area about HIV/AIDS.
Founder and Director
The Issue of Blood
Positive since 1986
Penny DeNoble has been an educator, community activist and HIV advocate for 15 years. Her organization, The Issue of Blood, is an outreach and consulting service that aims to bring awareness, education and information about the prevention of HIV and other STIs and unplanned pregnancies. She collaborates with other AIDS organizations in the Denver area, and she sits on the board of The Greater Denver Interfaith Initiative and is the vice-chair of the Denver HIV Resources Planning Council. Penny is a member of the 2020 Leading Women’s Society, The White House Project’s MAC AIDS Fund Advisory Committee, Positive Women’s Network, Treatment Advocacy Group and AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families. Her goal is to help HIV-positive women reach their communities through education, leadership development and advocacy.
UAB 1917 Clinic/AIDS Alabama
Positive since 2006
Ruth DeRamus was diagnosed with HIV when she was in her 50s. When she found out she was positive, instead of retreating in isolation, she decided to use her story and experience to help educate others. Ruth has a smile that immediately puts one at ease, which is useful in her job as a peer educator and advocate at UAB’s 1917 Clinic. She serves as a representative on UAB’s advisory board and is the bridge and anchor for many HIV-positive people. Ruth helps individuals manage their HIV and gives them the opportunity for prolonged life and health with good decision-making.
Mental Health Therapist/Director
Los Angeles, California
Positive since 2001
Jorge Diaz is a mental health therapist and director of the mental health and substance abuse programs at Bienestar. He provides individual therapy to the HIV-impacted community and facilitates a support group for HIV-positive gay and bisexual men. Three years after he was diagnosed with HIV, Jorge joined Hope’s Voice and traveled the country speaking to thousands of college students about HIV/AIDS. He then went back to school and received his master’s degree in social work and dedicated his career to helping individuals living with HIV/AIDS and addressing the related issues that affect the Latino community. By sharing his story, Jorge continues to break down barriers and address the issues of shame, guilt and stigma.
South Mississippi AIDS Task Force
Positive since 2003
Sheila Dillon has been a volunteer at the South Mississippi AIDS Task Force for 10 years, dedicating more than 5,000 hours to the agency during that time. Sheila volunteers on the HIV/AIDS hotline weekly, and she also works tirelessly in the community providing HIV/AIDS education. A certified HIV/AIDS educator through the Mississippi State Department of Health, Sheila always goes the extra mile as an advocate and as a volunteer for those affected by HIV/AIDS.
Director of Community Organizing
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Positive since 1994
Deloris Dockrey is the director of community organizing for Hyacinth AIDS Foundation. She directs the successful One Conversation Project—a public education, AIDS prevention and community action campaign to raise awareness and encourage action to address the social crisis caused by HIV. She has trained and mobilized individuals to advocate for policies that impact their access to health care, treatment and support services. She holds a master’s in public health and has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the Ryan White Program legislation and HRSA mandates. Deloris serves on numerous boards, councils and committees and was the first woman to chair the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS. She’s also a member of the Positive Women’s Network and represents North America on the International Steering Committee of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS.
Development Officer and Website Administrator
AID Atlanta Inc.
Positive since 2004
Ed Doolittle has volunteered his time and talent with several HIV/AIDS service organizations over the years. He currently serves as the development officer and website administrator for AIDS Atlanta. Ed has served the community by delivering meals and has helped fundraise for HIV housing through his office. He has also worked with various organizations to provide toys and school supplies for children who are living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Ed is a firm believer in harm reduction for HIV prevention, and he’s a big supporter of education and testing efforts.
Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention
Positive since 2008
Daniel Driffin has made an impact by helping lead and shape critical conversations about the lives of black gay men—especially those younger than 30. In 2009, he was selected as a recipient of the CRIBB Fellowship from NAESM (National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities). Daniel focuses on HIV prevention, and he has helped shape the HIV research agenda through his work as a project manger on the Think Twice: An MSM Serosorting Project with the Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) at the University of Connecticut. He has also facilitated numerous evidence-based interventions such as Many Men, Many Voices (3MV), d-up: Defend Yourself! and Mpowerment geared to young African-American men who have sex with men. Daniel serves as chair of the Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership Initiative, a national movement of young black men addressing issues disproportionately affecting peers around HIV prevention, care and treatment.
The Living Affected Corporation
Positive since 2010
Kari Farmer-Coffman was diagnosed with AIDS in November 2010 and told she was going to die. Two years later, she became undetectable and has been sharing her story ever since. She’s posted it on YouTube and joined the RiseUpToHIV campaign. Last year, she volunteered at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. Working with The Living Affected Corporation in Arkansas, she helps HIV-positive women find jobs, health care, food, education and housing. Kari is a member of Campaign to End AIDS, the Arkansas HIV/AIDS Minority Task Force and the Positive Women’s Network, and she sits on the board of the River Valley Equality Center. She says her 8-year-old daughter gives her the strength to keep fighting.
Baton Rouge AIDS Society
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Positive since 2002
Millicent Foster is a fierce 53-year-old advocate for HIV/AIDS. Since going public with her status, she has been interviewed several times by the local news in Baton Rouge. She has participated in the Louisiana Public Broadcast Public Square Forum on HIV/AIDS and is presently taking part in a documentary about HIV/AIDS in Louisiana. Millicent sits on the board of directors of Baton Rouge AIDS Society. As a member of its “Keepin’ It Real” crew, she has spoken publicly on issues surrounding HIV and how it has affected her life. She is the founder of a female monologue group titled Phenomenal Women With Voices. Their main show, titled FREEDOM, highlights the social and personal issues that women face. The group has presented at numerous events throughout the South.
To read the 2012 POZ 100, click here.
To read the 2011 POZ 100, click here.
To read the 2010 POZ 100, click here.