Remaining AIDS aware in Eagle County |

Remaining AIDS aware in Eagle County

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – HIV is not a huge problem in Eagle County, and that’s the local Red Ribbon Project wants it that way.

As part of Vail Restaurant Month, the local organization promoting AIDS awareness is joining Belvedere Vodka, Grappa Fine Wines and Spirits and Masters Gallery to host a reception Friday.

“There’s still a need for education because young people are still getting infected,” says Paula Palmateer, who helped launch the local Red Ribbon Project in 1996.

“It’s not a huge problem in Eagle County, and we want to keep it that way,” Palmateer said.

The local Red Ribbon Project was started when a group of locals realized there was no HIV education anywhere in Eagle County, Palmateer said.

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“In 1996 the epidemic was still raging. It has slowed down only because the medicines are allowing people to live longer,” Palmateer said.

Young people tend to think they’re invincible and that it cannot happen to them, Palmateer says.

It can, and if it does it’s as awful as it has always been.

“They’ll say that there’s medicine, but the medicine is horrible. It’s toxic and terrible and you’re on it for the rest of your life,” Palmateer says.

Belvedere Vodka is part of the RED campaign for Global Fund to Fight AIDS. Money raised during Friday’s Masters Gallery event goes to the Red Ribbon Project. That’s the local HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and education organization.

“We are excited about this event and the opportunity to participate in Vail Restaurant Month, especially since we will be raising money for a local non-profit that brings the global effort to fight AIDS to the local community’s needs. This is a good partnership for all,” said Rayla Kundolf, Masters Gallery director.

Some of the money could also go to the Belvedere Red global fund to fight AIDS in Africa. That fund was launched by Bono, lead singer for the rock band U2.

And to make sure you do your part of help raise some money, four mixologist: from Kelly Liken, La Tour, La Bottega and Frost, will be mixing new recipes provided by Belvedere. The Vail Chophouse will be partnering to provide some of the food.

If you purchase artwork, 10 percent goes to the Red Ribbon Project of Eagle County. If you just want to hand them a donation, that’s fine, too.

As they were putting the event together, it was brought to their attention that they could not take donations for the global nonprofit, but only for an Eagle County nonprofit.

The local Red Ribbon Project was the most logical beneficiary, Kundolf said.

Every day, 1,000 babies are born with HIV, according to RED, an international organization helping lead the fight against AIDS.

Their goal is to get that close to zero by 2015, beginning an AIDS-free generation, and stop the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies.

The movement has reached the business world. Some retailers are selling RED products, from which 50 percent of the profits go to the global fight against AIDS.

“The Red Ribbon Projects is thankful for the generosity of Masters Gallery and Belvedere (RED) to help support our mission of HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, education and support for residents of Eagle County,” said Denise Kipp, Red Ribbon Project director. “Funds raised at this event will go directly back into the community to help support our free HIV testing program and Youth Skills Building Educational Program.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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