POZ magazine has named Foote to its “2015 POZ 100” list for her work teaching “countless students how to think about HIV — compassionately and unconventionally — and how to get involved in HIV activism.”
Once a homeless injection-drug user addicted to heroin, Foote, 46, is now a respected sociology scholar and director of graduate studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. She was diagnosed with HIV in 1988.
“I am honored,” Foote said of her inclusion on the POZ list. This year’s list celebrates U.S. residents who are long-term survivors of HIV, defined as having been diagnosed in 1995 or earlier, before effective treatment was available.
Nominated for the list by IUPUI students, colleagues and community partners, Foote said she is focused on reducing the stigma associated with having HIV/AIDS.
“The social stigma associated with being HIV-positive is the main barrier to our being able to end this epidemic,” she said.
Foote’s current research includes a project with the Indiana State Department of Health and the CDC regarding the Scott County, Ind., HIV outbreak among injection-drug users.
POZ celebrated its sixth annual “100” list in conjunction with the Nov. 19 New York City debut of a traveling pop-up art installation featuring pictures and testimonials of HIV-positive men and women over 50 years of age. That exhibit, part of a Walgreens-Graying of AIDS project, “Well Beyond HIV,” ran two days at Rogue Space Chelsea gallery in New York.
Foote’s activism will be evident on World AIDS Day 2015 as her sociology class AIDS and Society will host longtime HIV survivor and advocate Sean Strub as a guest campus lecturer. “An Evening with Sean Strub: The Criminalization of HIV” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, in Room 450C at the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. Author of “Body Counts: A Memoir of Activism, Sex and Survival,” Strub will hold a book-signing immediately following his talk. The event is free and open to the public.