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The March 2015 issue of POZ magazine is online.

Here's an excerpt from my editor's letter:

The virus disproportionately affects trans women, especially trans women of color. Sadly, this isn't news to folks in the know.

One of those folks is Octavia Lewis, our cover gal. As an HIV-positive trans woman, she knows all too well the common struggles of other trans folks living with the virus. She also can relate to trans folks like her partner, Shawn Lopez, who are trying to stay free of the virus. Click here to read about their love story as a serodiscordant couple.

All women--cisgender and transgender alike--are welcome at the Positive Women's Network United States of America (PWN-USA), a national membership group of women with HIV/AIDS. The group builds leadership skills and advocates for social justice and human rights.

Barb Cardell is currently the chair of PWN-USA. Based in Colorado, she has been HIV positive since 1991. Click here to read our Q&A with Cardell. She shares her personal journey of being diagnosed and living with HIV, her experience with stigma and her belief in self-empowerment.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.
creating_change.jpgCoordinated by the National LGBTQ Task Force, the 27th National Conference on LGBT Equality, a.k.a. Creating Change, was held in Denver, Colorado, from February 4 to 8.

I had the privilege of attending and presenting. It was my first Creating Change and it didn't disappoint.

AIDS United and Gilead sponsored the nine HIV/AIDS sessions held during the conference. The sessions covered pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, HIV awareness campaigns, HIV criminalization, black gay men's HIV advocacy in the South and much more.

I presented during the pre-conference day-long institute coordinated by AIDS United titled "Relight the Fire: Bringing the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS Communities Back Together, Building Leaders for a Reunited Movement." This was a new institute for Creating Change.

As the title implies, the institute aimed to get people interested in bridging these movements by sharing stories and strategies, as well as strengthening leadership skills. The interactivity certainly seemed to motivate participants to engage.

My presentation, which turned mostly into a Q&A session, was giving advice on using the media to help bridge both movements. After lots of history and reflection, it seemed that folks were ready for some practical takeaways by the time I had the floor. Thanks to AIDS United for letting me participate.

I hope folks found my presentation of value, but frankly I was struck by how much I got out of the experience, not only from my presentation but from the whole day. I was reinvigorated with hope that these two movements just might get back together after all.

The air was full of hope. Apart from the HIV/AIDS programming, I had the pleasure of seeing familiar faces from HIV/AIDS advocacy. I also was heartened by the inclusion of HIV/AIDS in the "state of the movement" speech by Rea Carey, executive director of the Task Force.

Without rehashing old gripes about why the LGBT and HIV/AIDS movements drifted apart, I do sincerely hope that what I felt at Creating Change becomes more than just a feeling. We need each other now perhaps more than ever.
The January/February 2015 issue of POZ magazine is online, in which we explore HIV and incarceration.

Here's an excerpt from my editor's letter:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 7 persons living with HIV pass through a correctional facility each year. Philadelphia FIGHT, an HIV/AIDS group, became aware of that statistic after realizing that lots of people seeking its services were arriving from jail.

Benjamin Green, a former inmate and our cover guy, regrets walking by FIGHT's open doors years ago. "I let that opportunity pass because of my own prejudices and fear," he says. Green overcame his concerns in 2013 by co-founding the Positive Men's Initiative, a group for straight men living with HIV.

Advocating for HIV peer education programs in and out of prison is a key part of what Green and others believe can make a difference in the epidemic. Click here for more about their efforts.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.
lgbt_icons.jpgLGBT History Month, an annual project of the Equality Forum, honors an LGBT person, living or dead, each day of October. In 2014, there were five HIV-positive honorees. Nominations for 2015 are being accepted. The deadline is Friday, December 12.

The 27 HIV-positive honorees to date are certainly impressive: Zackie Achmat, Alvin Ailey Jr., Reinaldo Arenas, John Boswell, Glenn Burke, Michael Callen, Tseng Kwong Chi, Michel Foucault, Rudy Galindo, Keith Haring, Bill T. Jones, Cleve Jones, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, Greg Louganis, Robert Mapplethorpe, Leonard Matlovich, Freddie Mercury, Paul Monette, Simon Nkoli, Marlon Riggs, Vito Russo, Randy Shilts, Lou Sullivan, Sylvester, Tom Waddell, Phill Wilson, and Pedro Zamora.

Sean Strub
Sean Strub
Peter Staley
Peter Staley
However, there do seem to be two names conspicuously absent: Peter Staley and Sean Strub. I admit to being totally biased about this, but I also think it happens to be true. Both of them should be on the list.

I submitted their nominations, but I encourage everyone to do the same. And, of course, there are countless more deserving HIV-positive LGBT folks to be nominated, so please submit those as well. Click here to submit.
For the 2014 Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which is commemorated annually on November 20, the It Gets Better campaign has partnered with Gender Proud to encourage trans people to share their stories.

Watch the video:

TDoR was founded to fight back against transphobic violence and hate. Countless trans people around the world are killed and attacked for being who they are.

Click here for a list of names from 2014 of trans people killed. Click here to read a 2012 POZ cover story on how HIV intersects with violence against trans people.

Click here to find a TDoR event near you.

We Are Young

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The December 2014 issue of POZ magazine is online, in which we introduce the 2014 POZ 100.

Here's an excerpt from my editor's letter:

Having spent my youth expecting to die, I admire the courage of young people living with or at risk of the virus who have joined the HIV/AIDS fight. Their hope for a better tomorrow is based on their belief in being part of the solution today.

Even if a cost-effective cure and vaccine were here now, we still would most likely not get to the end of this epidemic without the leadership of the next generation. We must encourage them to lead. To that end, it is my great honor to introduce the 2014 POZ 100, which celebrates youth power.

Our fifth annual list spotlights the efforts of 100 unsung heroes under the age of 30. These young leaders come from across the country--and some from around the world. Some have HIV and some do not, which seemed appropriate. Regardless of their HIV status, everyone should be encouraged to join the struggle. Click here for the list.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.



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