TIHAN: Community Partner for May

TIHAN: Community Partner for May

CREATED May 6, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – A local group is stepping up to bring HIV/AIDS awareness to the community. Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network, or TIHAN, reaches thousands in the community every year.

More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and almost one in five of them have no idea they’re infected.

The founder and executive director of TIHAN, Scott Blades, tells 9OYS the goal of TIHAN is awareness and to help people live well with HIV.

“It used to be that a HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. It doesn't have to be the reality anymore,” said Blades.

Butch O’Daniel was diagnosed with HIV more than 30 years ago.  He said he’s been told twice over the years that he only had months to live.

“I was just sitting on the couch waiting to die,” said O’Daniel.

O’Daniel’s doctor recommended he check out TIHAN.

He said the recommendation saved his life.

“They brought me out of my shell. I wouldn't be here without the care team that TIHAN has provided for me.”

Besides emotional support TIHAN volunteers take O’Daniel to doctor’s appointments and the grocery store.

Joseph Loder was diagnosed with HIV a year ago.  He said TIHAN pulled him out of his depression.

“Whenever you need a hug, whenever you need someone to talk to they were here,” said Loder.

To learn more about TIHAN’s programs, volunteer opportunities or how to donate visit tihan.org.