Duane Quintana, HIV/AIDS activist and founder of Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS, recently kicked off a new education initiative called Duane Was Here. The goal: to collect 1,600 stories from people living with HIV in Idaho. That number reflects the estimated number of Idahoans who are HIV positive. Currently, said Quintana, the state has a confirmed 1,250 cases with a likely 25 percent unaccounted for.
In order to get the message out about Duane Was Here, Quintana will spend 44 weeks traveling to all 44 counties in Idaho seeking out stories by talking to groups all over the state and sometimes, simply leaving flyers like this one in his wake.
Last Saturday at the market was Quintana's first outing with the flyer and he admits, he was scared to death.
"I knew what was on that flyer and I didn't know how they would respond to it," said Quintana. Most of the crowd took the flyer without paying much attention, said Quintana, and when he did get a reaction from people, it was positive.
"One woman said 'you're courageous' and another chased me down, grabbed my hand, shook it but didn't say anything and just walked away."
If you have a story to share, or know someone who does, visit duanewashere.org to contribute.
In other ALPHA news, on Saturday, Aug. 28, the organization will hold its Seventh Annual Forever RED (Remember Every Day) HIV and AIDS Awards Show at the Double Tree Riverside. This year's theme is "French KYS" (Know Your Status) and tickets are still available. For more information, visit alphaidaho.org.