The 2012 Christmas party was, as always, a big hit among members of HIV Arkansas and invited guests. The essence of the Christmas Spirit filled the air from the moment your feet hit the decking on the front entrance of Michael and Heath’s home in Springdale. Lights in every window greeted each guest with a array of dazzling colors followed by the traditional red and gold wreath adorning the front door. Just inside, the first tree, decked in it’s whimsical ornaments made the first statement of “Merry Christmas” to all who entered.
Each guest was received by Michael or Heath who offered a glass of Michael’s Signature Holiday Punch, coffee or soda to start the evening off. In the main living room the tree was decorated in the traditional colors of Red and Green and was lit with over 2,000 lights in a spectacular display of elegance. Guest’s attending voiced their compliments of the décor and many said it helped put them in the “Christmas” spirit.
The soothing sounds of soft Christmas music was playing in the background as everyone enjoyed the splendid array of heavy hors d’oeuvres and homemade desserts. This year’s party was extra special as Willie Ming, a great friend of Michael’s and a fantastic pianist tickled the ivories while Michael serenaded the crowd and led them in Silent Night and Away In A Manger. This live entertainment set the stage for an evening not soon forgotten.
Following the food the Dirty Santa game became the focal point of all the fun as guests exchanged., or, rather, “stole” each others gifts. It was a riot at times as recipients were in the battle for the best gifts and working diligently for what they wanted to take home at the end of the night. Everyone attending the party had a great time and said they are looking forward to the next one. Our thanks to Michael and Heath for hosting the party.
Our 2nd Annual Positive Living Retreat was a huge success! Members from Fayetteville, Ft. Smith, Harrison, and new members from the Little Rock area gathered for a two day overnight stay at the Eureka Springs KOA Campground. The weather was great, and the atmosphere was very relaxing for all. Each day was filled with leisurely activities such as fishing in the White River, shopping and sight seeing in Eureka Springs. Michael Burks, Kristy Bengs and Mark Pitts served up some great meals! Our thanks to Michael, Heath, Kristy, Kyle, Dietrich, Mark and Brian Crane for all they did to make this year’s camp a success!
Each night there was a group activity in which we shared our experiences of living with HIV or told something about ourselves. Thanks to Mark Pitts we had a great open fire to roast marshmallows on. It was truly amazing to see the heartfelt comments and strength gained from telling our stories and hearing others tell theirs as well. No mater where you come from, what role you have in this life, where you are raised, where you live, or your status in this world, we all have some degree of the same story when it comes to dealing with HIV. It’s comforting to know we are so much alike when it comes to things that we fear, and think about and even the things that give us courage to carry on.
Eddie ward from Harrison (recently moved from Louisiana) played his guitar throughout the day and during a camp sing-a-long. He is a very talented musician and everyone loved his music.
Members and attendees of our HIV Arkansas POZ Only Meetings have expressed concern of using the name HIV Arkansas on marquees or door entrances for meetings. Many feel the name is too strong and compromises one’s confidentiality. The board of directors has taken this under advisement and have determined the best solution to address the concern was to develop a new name for our POZ Only Support meetings.
For years now we have focused our efforts on encouraging people to make positive choices for their lives and this is where the idea for the new name actually came from. That being said, we have renamed the POZ Only meetings to Positive Living Support Group Meetings. We have even adopted an additional slogan for these groups, “Real People…Living on the Positive Side”! So far the response has been great. People really like the new name, it’s vague enough that no one will ever know it is related to HIV and yet encourages folks to live positively.
The new logo (shown right) for the Positive Living Meetings was designed by Dana Luker and has captured the art of living on the positive side. Simple, yet expressive and exciting. We are very proud to have Dana, a wonderful supporter and asset. Her talent is unparalleled.
Positive Living meetings are held each month at the Rogers Public Library in the Gloztbecker Conference Room.
f you would like more information on these meetings please call 1-888-802-3332.
The more alcohol a person consumes, the more likely they are to have unprotected sex, according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada.
Researchers found that an 0.1 mg/mL increase in blood alcohol levels raised the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior by five percent. According to The Atlantic, this translates to four drinks for the average American female and five drinks for males, respectively.
Since alcohol abuse is one of the leading factors in HIV transmission, lead author Juergen Rehm said HIV prevention programs should put additional focus on reducing heavy drinking.
The full study, "Alcohol Consumption and the Intention to Engage in Unprotected Sex: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Experimental Studies," appears in the journal Addiction.
HIV Arkansas hosts events and functions that are alcohol free. Our purpose is to create a healthy atmosphere and to help folks understand that they can have a great time with friends and family without the influence of alcohol.
If you or someone you know has a drinking problem there is help available. Help is as simple as a phone call away. In the Fayetteville area call 479-443-6366 for complete listings of AA Meetings log on to www.aa.org
July was hot, but the heat did not affect the turnout for our monthly hiking group.
We had a total of 17 people hiking with us this day. The War Eagle Trail was our destination and those who participated really enjoyed the views.
Along the trail we found the War Eagle Cave, (shown below) a hidden treasure you would not expect to find. Once inside, the cave opens into a dome that is quite large. A natural spring is running in the cave that flows into the War Eagle river, with a temperature of about 50 degrees.
Some members could not resist the chance to indulge in the cool water and plunged off the side of the cliff into the river below and reported the water to be frigid but great!
Wonderful ridges with scenic overlooks, as pictured here (to the right), are just a few of the natural things that we find on our hiking trips. Heath Lance our nature guide knows many things about the Arkansas hills and hiking trails. He has succeeded in taking us on excursions that have left us amazed and wanting more of the natural state!
If you have not joined us for one of our hiking trips, you should! Getting out the normal routine, getting some fresh air and seeing the beauty that is all around us is invigorating and a positive experience.
Hiking! This is just another way that Positive Links helps people “Live Life on the Positive Side.”
Thanks Heath for the great hike again.