Seven Locals Recognized for Their Service in HIV/AIDS

The Paul Starke Warrior awards are presented each year in West Hollywood on Worlds AIDS Day to people and organizations that have made important contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS and to providing help to those affected by the HIV.

world aids day2014Paul Starke was a former member of the West Hollywood HIV & Substance Use Services Providers Consortium and an employee of Being Alive, which he also served as a board president. Starke, who died in 2001, dedicated himself to helping troubled young people, people with drug or alcohol abuse problems and people with HIV/AIDS.

This year’s winners are as follows:

Michael Barrett. Barrett is case manager for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) and a housing specialist for the City of Los Angeles. In the announcement of his award, Barrett was called out for providing “outstanding service and advocacy for fair and equal rights for people living with HIV/AIDS.”

Mikey Cativo. Cativo is HIV outreach educator for Friends Community Center. “As an HIV-positive gay male who experienced addiction issues and incarceration, Mikey is now privileged to be in a position to give back to men and women who are in the same position he was in at one time.”

Jesi Harris. Harris has worked since 2014 as a health education specialist at the L.A. LGBT Center’s Youth Center. Harris also is active in C.I.T.Y.xo Youth Group, helping recruit young people for prevention workshops, support groups and educational programs.

John Paschal. Paschal is a professional photographer who now lives in Palm Springs where he operates Snapshot Palm Springs, a photo studio, and Eight4Nine restaurant and lounge. Paschal has been very active in the”Best in Drag” show, a major fundraiser for HIV/AIDS causes, serving as a cast member, photographer and donor.

Juan Rivera. Rivera has worked on HIV/AIDS issues for 12 years. He was been an HIV psychosocial case manager and he started started an HIV benefits specialty program. He also was co-chair of the L.A. County HIV Case Management Task Force. Currently he assists HIV positive people and people interested in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in acquiring their medicine. He is an L.A. County representative for the California Planning Group at the state Office of AIDS.

Jeffrey Rodriguez. Rodriguez has worked with the L.A. LGBT Center for five years and now is program manager for its sexual health program. He has been given credit for a major expansion of the Center’s services, including the October opening of Center-WeHo, the testing center on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Mary Salazar. Salazar works with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s testing and outreach team, encouraging people to get tested for HIV. One of the team’s key resources is testing site in a van parked on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood on busy nights. She is praised for “coming up with innovative and imaginative ways of reaching the community.”

The awardees represent agencies that are funded by the City of West Hollywood and/or are part of the West Hollywood HIV & Substance Use Services Providers Consortium