Philadelphia Inquirer (10.12.03) - Friday, October 17, 2003
The Ralph Moses House, which opened in October 2000 in
Chester, Pa., can accommodate up to 12 homeless HIV-positive
men. Ralph Moses, who advocated for seven years to get the
house built, is a former drug and alcohol addict who was
diagnosed with HIV in 1989.
In 1992, after a failed suicide attempt, Moses decided to
battle his addictions and help other people with HIV/AIDS.
Having once stayed in a transitional Philadelphia housing
program for drug and alcohol addicts, Moses envisioned the
same kind of program for people with HIV/AIDS in Chester, part
of Delaware County.
"I thought, 'How come we can't do it here? Just because we
have the virus, we don't have to lay down and die,'" he said.
Moses approached Family and Community Service of Delaware
County, whose officials agreed to help start a program to
train people to live with HIV, according to Alan Edelstein,
FCS executive director. "He had that vision. He was very
persistent, very upbeat and positive. He was an inspirational
person to all of us," Edelstein said of Moses.
The house's mission is to teach HIV patients to get treatment
and learn basic life skills to be self-sufficient. The house,
one of the first of its kind in the region, has a computer lab
and exercise room.
Since 1980, 1,162 AIDS cases have been documented in Delaware
County, according to state health statistics, giving it the
third-highest AIDS incidence in the state. Using the slogan,
"Respect yourself, protect yourself," Moses has handed out
condoms and literature, spoken to high school and college
students, and reached out to addicts in shooting galleries. In
addition to other outreach work, he drives patients to medical