July 23, 2020
Meet the faces behind SAGE’s HIV & Aging Policy Action Coalition
By: Diverse Elders

This article originally appeared on the SAGE blog.

On June 12, SAGE officially announced the formation of the new HIV & Aging Policy Action Coalition (HAPAC). Generously funded by Gilead’s HIV Aging Positively Initiative, the coalition aims to build a dynamic, diverse, and long-term survivor driven group. HAPAC’s mission is focused on publicly acknowledging, drawing much-needed attention to, and meeting the needs of long-term survivors and LGBT older people living with HIV. This coalition is driven by long-term survivors working alongside representatives from some of our country’s leading HIV and aging advocacy organizations and community and grassroots-based organizations. Below, meet the members of the coalition and learn more about their work:

TEZ ANDERSON (He/Him) – Executive Director
Let’s Kick Ass AIDS Survivor Syndrome

Tez Anderson is an HIV Long-Term Survivor. At 60, he’s lived with HIV since 1983. He founded Let’s Kick ASS—AIDS Survivor Syndrome “empowering HIV long-term survivors to thrive” in 2013. He coined the term “AIDS Survivor Syndrome (ASS)” to describe the aftermath and started HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day (HLTSAD) in 2014 to celebrate the resilience of people living longest with HIV/AIDS. A writer, speaker, and HIV/AIDS activist, he came out publicly HIV-positive in 1990 in People magazine. He’s the subject of a 2018 ten-minute documentary on NBC’s TODAY. Tez has appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air, documentaries on BBC TV, written for Time, POZ, and other publications. A consultant and patient activist on several HIV & Aging projects, panels and planning committees. He is based in San Francisco, but is an activist for national, international and local issues.

The Care Plan

Jacqueline Boyd brings passion and expertise to the field of aging and LGBTQ+ advocacy. A dynamic speaker, facilitator and entrepreneur, Jacqueline is the owner of The Care Plan. The Care Plan (www.the-care-plan.com) is the country’s first LGBTQ+ centered care management company. The Care Plan’s innovative model of client directed care provides advocacy, care navigation and advance planning for successful aging experiences. As part of The Care Plan’s leadership, Jacqueline has consulted with national and local organizations such as SAGE, Howard Brown Health Centers, AIDS Foundation Chicago, and Affinity Community Services to enhance the services offered to LGBTQ+ older adults.

MARK BRENNAN-ING (They/Them) – Senior Research Scientist 
Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging

Mark Brennan-Ing, PhD, is a Senior Research Scientist at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, Hunter College, CUNY. Their research focuses on psychosocial issues affecting older people with HIV and sexual and gender minority adults. They are Past-President of the State Society on Aging of New York (SSANY), a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), and a Fellow of Division 44 (Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity) of the American Psychological Association (APA). They were the Principal Convener for GSA’s HIV/AIDS and Aging interest group, a member of the American Society on Aging’s LGBT Aging Information Network Leadership Council, 2016 Chair of the APA Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, and an invited member of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Working Group on HIV and Aging in 2011. In 2017 they received the Walter M. Beattie Award from SSANY. They have authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles, chapters and books.

SEAN CAHILL (He/Him) – Director Health Policy Research
Fenway Institute

Sean Cahill, PhD is Director of Health Policy Research at the Fenway Institute, Affiliate Associate Clinical Professor of Health Sciences at Northeastern University, and Adjunct Associate Professor at Boston University School of Public Health. He serves on the Massachusetts Special Legislative Commission on LGBT Aging. He is Associate Editor at LGBT Health. He is author of three books and more than 100 articles, chapters and monographs on LGBT and HIV issues.

CECILIA CHUNG (She/Her) – Senior Director
Transgender Law Center (TLC)

Cecilia Chung, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Evaluations at Transgender Law Center, is a nationally recognized civil rights leader advocation for TGNC people and people living with HIV. Cecilia had had closed to 30 years of experience in policy, advocacy and organizing. She is one of the founders for San Francisco’s Trans March, the architect behind San Francisco’s first publicly funded economic development initiative for TGNC job seekers, the first transgender woman appointed to the Health Commission and the champion to make transitional related surgeries accessible to the uninsured in San Francisco. In 2015, Cecilia launched the Positively Trans, a project that uses data, stories and leadership to address health inequities and other structural discriminations face by TGNC people living with HIV.

RICK GUASCO (He/Him) – Creative Director
Test Positive Action Network (TPAN) / Reunion Project

Rick has been living with HIV since at least 1992, when he developed Kaposi sarcoma. He discovered TPAN was an invaluable source of life-saving information; through the agency’s publications he found a clinical study to treat his KS, and served as art director of the agency’s magazine, Positively Aware, 1995-97. He returned to TPAN in 2010, and has been designing Positively Aware ever since. Rick created the magazine’s annual anti-stigma campaign, A Day with HIV. In 2016, he was diagnosed with anal cancer, and successfully underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment two years later. A self-avowed science fiction geek, he loves Star Trek and Doctor Who, and is an unrepentant Apple fan boy.

RICARDO JIMENEZ (He/Him) – Director of Vida/SIDA
Puerto Rican Cultural Center

I am a Human Rights Activist for decades and now in particular for Human Rights for the LGBTQ Community with emphasis on the Latinos who are far behind in education, acceptance and integrated the LGBTQ Communities in our perspectives countries where Machismo dominates. In our Latinx communities I also work for the acceptance and integration of the LGBTQ Latino communities to inform, educate and bring to light the latest in HIV services and developments, updates such as PrEP and U=U which I along with many have commenced with I=I which is Spanish for U=U.

STEPHEN KARPIAK (He/Him) – Senior Director for Research
Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC)

Stephen Karpiak PhD is the Senior Director for Research at the ACRIA Center on HIV & Aging at GMHC. He was on faculty at Columbia University Medical School for 25 years, conducing NIH/NSF funded research in Neuroscience and Immunology.  Stephen next engaged community-based HIV work in Phoenix, where he was the Executive Director of an agency providing congregate housing for the homeless with HIV/AIDS. Returning to NYC, he was the Executive Director of Pride Senior Network, which focused on aging LGBT issues. In 2002 he joined ACRIA (AIDS Community Research Initiative of America). There he launched ROAH, the seminal Research on Older Adults with HIV, and supervised clinical trials for HIV drugs. His research resulted in bringing HIV & Aging onto radar screens resulting in the establishment of an HIV and Aging Awareness Day, a White House Conference on HIV & Aging, and US Congress & Senate Hearings. He is a member of the Einstein-Rockefeller-Hunter Center for AIDS Research, the HIV-AGE initiative of the American Academy of HIV Medicine and the American Geriatrics Society, and, a member of the UN Aging Committee. Stephen is Adjunct Professor at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and has published over 150 peer reviewed scientific papers. He is the Co-Principal Investigator on the multi-site ROAH 2.0 (Research on Older Adults with HIV). Recently he became the Director of the National Resource Center on HIV and Aging.

JULES LEVIN (He/Him) – Executive Director/Director of Programs
National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project (NATAP)

Jules founded the non-profit National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project (NATAP) in 1996. He has been and remains the Executive Director. The NATAP mission has always been dedicated to “improving the health and longevity” of people with HIV. NATAP is a very unique organization whose goal is to provide the highest quality & most timely information on care and treatment for HIV and hepatitis. NATAP’s comprehensive high scientific vigor in conference coverage and reporting is the hallmark of the NATAP website www.natap.org – which has the highest readership globally of any website in HIV and hepatitis. The daily listserve to many thousands daily provides live real time unparalleled conference coverage, for which NATAP is well known. These are the reasons why NATAP has been so well known globally in HIV & hepatitis. As well, Jules has singularly led with NATAP select key advocacy initiatives that were crucial: years of policy and advocacy and education have been dedicated to Aging and HIV and Hepatitis C confection. In 1998 Jules was the first to recognize the coming HCV-HIV coinfection problem and led the effort with NYC to provide HCV programs in NYC budgeted with millions of dollars. Jules designed and funded the $2 million, first HCV major city screening and linkage program around 9 years ago called “Check HepC”. Jules led efforts to put HCV & HBV language in the 2006 reauthorized Ryan White Care Act, and worked with the Kennedy Office in the Senate to write the language, which is still in the Care Act. Around 12 years ago Jules recognized the coming aging and HV problem, and approached federal & NIH authorities about the coming Aging and HIV problem –  the ACTG (AIDS Clinical Trials Group) and the OAR (Office of AIDS Research), asking the OAR to form a panel to design research initiatives and to fund Aging an HIV research which they have been doing now for many years with tens of millions of dollars. Since then Jules and NATAP have been dedicated to Aging and HIV policy and education on a broad scale. Jules and NATAP remain  dedicated to Aging an HIV policy, advocacy and education as this problem remains under appreciated and remains the leading threat to the life and health of older aging PLWH.

JIM MEADOWS (He/Him) – Executive Director
SAGE New Orleans (NOAGE)

Jim Meadows, LMSW, received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of New Orleans, and his M.S.W. from Tulane University. He has practiced as a licensed social worker in a variety of healthcare settings, and has worked extensively with older adults. He is a columnist for Ambush Magazine, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana. As Executive Director of SAGE New Orleans, Jim is working to ensure that all LGBT+ New Orleanians, regardless of age, have the opportunity to live their best lives with the dignity, respect, and good health that they deserve.

Health Equity Institute, San Francisco State University

Jesus Ramirez-Valles is a public health leader, scholar, and filmmaker. He started his career as a community organizer in the US-Mexico border and over the last two decades has devoted his research to health equity here and abroad. His work is rooted on the social and behavioral sciences and on community-engaged research, and is concerned with understanding and changing the negative health consequences of social exclusion –such as stigmatization and racism. He has led academic programs in public health and worked on recruitment and retention of scholars of color. Professor Ramirez-Valles is the Editor-in-Chief of Health Education & Behavior.

SHELDON RAYMORE (He/Him) – Deputy Director
The American Indian Community House (AICH) / Health Elders Network (HEN)

Sheldon Raymore is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and lives in New York City. Since 2014 his mission has been to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, sexual health education, and accessibility of PrEP services for the Two Spirit community and beyond. He’s the creator of www.PrEPahHontoz.com which provides an enriching awareness experience, with culturally competent and appropriate methods of increasing PrEP awareness. The PrEPahHontoz Tipi project decreases social and cultural stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS, and HIV Prevention. It also disseminates correct information about HIV and its history in the Native American community, while utilizing “culture as prevention.” He currently volunteers for the American Indian Community House and serves on a Native American “Ending the Epidemic” Advisory Group with the AIDS Institute of New York.

MALCOLM REID (He/Him) – Program Manager
Thrive SS Inc. / Silver Linings Project

Malcolm Reid has been working with THRIVE SS to support black men living with HIV for the last 4 years. He is a co-author and Program Manager of the Silver Lining Project; a program to support and advocate for black gay men over the age of 50, living with HI.

MOISES AGOSTO-ROSARIO (He/Him) – Director of Treatment
National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC)

Moisés is a longtime treatment advocate and educator for people living with HIV/AIDS. Moisés has played a crucial role in ensuring that communities of color have equal access to care, treatment, and lifesaving information. He is currently the Director of Treatment for NMAC. Before joining NMAC, he worked as program manager for the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) with the HIV Collaborative Fund for HIV Treatment Preparedness, a project of the Tides Foundation. In this role, he was responsible for the grant making activities in Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Africa. Previous to ITPC he served as the Vice President and Managing Director for Community Access, a Nelson Communications Company and member of the Publicis Healthcare Group. Moisés served as the editor of SIDA Ahora, the Spanish publication of the People with AIDS Coalition of New York, and was an active member of ACT UP. Moisés graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras with a B.A.

MICHAEL SENSION (He/Him) – Medical Director
Community AIDS Network Community Health (CAN)

Michael G. Sension, MD, is currently  Medical Director for CAN Community Health in Broward County, Florida.  Prior to taking that position in 2017 he served for 24 years as the Medical Director of HIV Clinical Research and the HIV/AIDS Primary Care Practice at the Comprehensive Care Center for Broward Health in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, where he was awarded the Dean’s Research Award and served as Senior Investigator for the Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. For his research, he received the Harold Lamport Biomedical Research Prize, awarded for outstanding research study of HIV infection and measles in hospitalized African children, Project SIDA.  Dr Sension completed his residency and internship at Cornell University, New York Hospital Department of Medicine, New York, NY.

Dr Sension served over 5 years in clinical and educational programs overseas in Central and Eastern Africa, Asia, and Switzerland. He has presented abstracts on his work nationally and internationally, as well as contributing to numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals.

JOSEPH TERRILL (He/Him) – Director of Global Advocacy & Community
Partnerships AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Joey Terrill is a formative figure in the Los Angeles based Chicano art movement and AIDS cultural- activism. When AIDS hit the Latino/Artistic community in the 1980s he embraced political advocacy with a passion that included making art work that reflected its impact on his community.

As a volunteer with the Stop AIDS Quarantine Committee in 1986, he assisted in defeating Proposition 64 a measure on the California ballot which called for quarantining all people with HIV. Upon defeat of Proposition 64, that volunteer – advocacy group incorporated as AIDS Hospice Foundation to advocate for the first HIV specific hospice in Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter they reincorporated as AIDS Healthcare Foundation, focusing on prevention, care, and treatment.

In the early 90s he coordinated the HIV and Vision Loss Program at the Center for the Partially Sighted, created to meet the needs of individuals who were going blind as they faced end stage AIDS complications. His work in case management continued working with the dually diagnosed homeless mentally community at the organization, LAMP on skid row in Downtown, LA.

In 2004 he returned to AIDS Healthcare Foundation as an employee, working at the Carl Bean House hospice as Activities and Volunteer Coordinator, transitioning into Public Affairs and US Domestic Advocacy around cuts to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and initiatives to increase access to testing and treatment for the underserved and communities of color. For the last two years he has taken on the role of AHF Director of Global Advocacy & Partnerships collaborating with the AHF Global Advocacy & Marketing Team to support the work of the global teams in the 43 countries in which AHF has a presence.

1989 was the year he tested positive for HIV. His doctor determined his sero-conversion occurred in 1980 when he lived in New York City just as the epidemic was infiltrating the gay and artistic community. In 2020, he will celebrate 40.

DAN TIETZ (He/Him) – Independent Contractor
Housing Works

Daniel W. Tietz is an independent consultant delivering mission-driven guidance to nonprofit health, human services, and housing organizations providing vital services and public policy advocacy for communities in need. Mr. Tietz previously served as CEO of Bailey House, Inc. (BH), a CBO with a 35-year history of providing housing and essential supportive services to individuals and families with HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions. With a $21 million budget, BH serves 5,000 low-income NY’ers annually. In early 2019, Tietz finalized a merger between BH and Housing Works, Inc. that created a new supportive/affordable housing enterprise that retains the BH name and established new primary care in East Harlem. Prior to BH, Tietz served as Chief Special Services Officer for New York City’s Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration. Mr. Tietz oversaw programs focused on the most vulnerable New Yorkers. With a $10 billion budget and 15,000 employees, HRA assists 3.5 million New Yorkers annually with an extensive range of programs, including food and income support, rental assistance, and Medicaid. For an 18-month period, Tietz also oversaw day-to-day shelter and intake operations for NYC’s Department of Homeless Services. Immediately prior to DSS, Mr. Tietz served as executive director of ACRIA, a national HIV research, education and advocacy organization. Following the 2006 release of its groundbreaking Research on Older Adults with HIV (ROAH) study, he created the ACRIA Center on HIV & Aging. A registered nurse and lawyer, Mr. Tietz has long-advocated on behalf of LGBTQI rights and social justice concerns.

TIM’M WEST (He/Him) – Board Member
LGBT Institute

Tim’m T. West is an educator, poet, youth advocate, and hip-hop artist who has spent decades traveling the nation, speaking about issues at the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and social justice. A graduate of Duke University (BA), The New School for Social Research (MA) and Stanford University (MA), he is the author of several books and hip-hop projects, and is widely anthologized. He has also appeared in multiple documentaries at the intersection of hip hop and black masculinity. Prior to joining Teach For America in 2014, Tim’m served as inaugural faculty at Oakland School for the Arts, impacted educational outcomes as an English teacher and basketball coach at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School for Public Policy, and more recently as Director of Youth Services at Chicago’s Center on Halsted. A Board member of the LGBT Institute located at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Tim’m was named one of 31 icons during LGBT History Month in October of 2015.

JOSEPH R. VARISCO (He/Him) – HIV & Aging Coalition Coordinator

Joseph Varisco is a public programming producer focused on HIV within underrepresented and underserved populations. Varisco is the creator of the QUEER, ILL + OKAY (QIO) arts and education series, which explores the contemporary experience of living with HIV/AIDS and served as Public Program Director at Alphawood Gallery (Art AIDS America, Then They Came for Me). Varisco is the recipient of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, and Visual AIDS grants and was included in 2016’s TimeOut Chicago’s Pride of Chicago issue.

AARON TAX (He/Him) – Director of Advocacy

Aaron Tax is the Director of Advocacy for SAGE. He advocates for LGBT-inclusive federal aging policies that account for the unique needs of LGBT older adults.

Until June 2011, Aaron served as the Legal Director at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the leading organization challenging “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) in Congress and in the courts. He started there as a staff attorney in 2006, and for nearly five years at SLDN, he took part in a multifaceted approach to advancing the civil rights of LGBT servicemembers through law, policy, outreach, and education. As the Legal Director, Aaron was responsible for running the legal services program at SLDN, the only organization providing free legal services to service members impacted by DADT and related forms of discrimination, including those who are HIV positive and/or transgender.

Prior to joining SLDN, Aaron spent three years working for the Department of the Army in the Office of EEO and Civil Rights, the first two years as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). As a PMF, he worked for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany, and served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where he tried more than two dozen cases. A graduate of Cornell University with honors and distinction and the George Washington University Law School with honors, he currently resides in Washington, DC.



The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.