Dear PCVT Family,
With much excitement, but also sadness, I will be moving on from my role as a GLAM Coordinator at the Pride Center of Vermont to accept a new opportunity at Fenway Institute in Boston. I’m thrilled to continue my work in the field of HIV/AIDS Prevention & Services, and hope that I will continue to be surrounded by the rockstars that are fighting to put an end to this terrible virus that has affected so many beautiful people around us.
Over the past year, I’ve been truly blessed to be involved with the GLAM guys. By creating fun, social events around the Champlain Valley (and beyond), we’ve been successfully building community and life-long friendships while spreading information on safer sex to gay/bi/trans men that are most affected by HIV transmission in Vermont, providing free, anonymous HIV/HCV testing and free safer sex supplies within PCVT and across the state, and connecting rural Vermonters to important resources to provide safety and well-being. A majority of new HIV infections in Vermont are found within the community of men who have sex with men, and GLAM is one of the few remaining prevention programs in the state that specifically fights to eliminate this disproportionate epidemic amongst MSM.
We make HIV prevention sexy… wouldn’t you want to take condoms from a group of handsome guys dancing in their underwear at a bar? Or how about hosting a party at your house where Mike Bensel and I offer HIV testing in a bedroom while you and your boys eat delicious food we’ve provided and goof off in the living room? And don’t make me grab the silicone body orifice in my office and demonstrate how Insertable Condoms can be used anally. Yes, we’ve done all of that, but most of what we’ve done is things like hiking, river tubing, or playing some volleyball while making solid bonds with each other, all of which can build healthy, sober relationships and also prevent HIV transmission!
It’s not all about prevention, though. When someone finds out they are HIV positive, feelings of hopelessness, or worse, can creep over them. Mike and I have been fortunate to be able to show newly diagnosed people that the option to stay healthy and have a long, fruitful life is very real, as long as you access services and take care of yourself. Making the best decision for yourself can be overwhelming, and GLAM is here to help you get connected to the care you need.
One of my favorite accomplishments this year involved helping Twin States Network set up LifePLUS, an HIV Social Support Group that provides a confidential, friendly environment where HIV positive Vermonters can gather twice a month and socialize, share stories and find support in one another. Living in rural Vermont can be isolating; adding in an HIV diagnosis can further deepen isolation and make it extremely difficult to stay away from depression, which then can make it difficult to stay healthy. Hearing the stories, lending a helping hand when I could, and seeing happiness on faces as participants realize they are not alone has made everything worthwhile.
I’m so thankful for all of the experiences I’ve been through at PCVT and to have been a part of the team of LGBTQ superstars that work and volunteer here. I hope others will be inspired to become a part of the PCVT family and continue to help provide essential services to LGBTQ Vermonters for years to come!
Health and Wellness Coordinator
Pride Center of Vermont
For more information on GLAM or LifePLUS, hit up our website, email glam@pridecenterVT.org call Mike at (802) 860-7812.
Click here for Full Job Description