The AIDS Foundation of Chicago has hired AIDS activists Jim Pickett as the agency's director of public policy. Pickett, who is HIV-positive, arrives at AFC after having completed a five-year consultancy with the Chicago Department of Public Health's Division of STD/HIV/AIDS, leading its Faces of AIDS public education campaign and working on the city's syphilis elimination project, among other activities.
Pickett writes a regular column called Pickett Fences for Positively Aware, operates an e-mail listserv on HIV prevention and care issues, and speaks across the country about the importance of microbicide research, especially among gay men. Pickett will work closely with AFC's director of state affairs, Karen Reitan, and other AFC staff members to advocate for increased government resources for HIV services and science-based prevention strategies. He also will work to enact public policies and laws that help decrease AIDS stigma and protect the rights of people living with the disease.
"We are thrilled to have Jim on board," said AFC associate director David Munar. "His skills in grassroots activism and policy communications will enhance AFC's ability to lead the fight against HIV/AIDS and improve the lives of people affected by the epidemic at the local, state, and national levels."