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The December 2015 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

The honorees on the 2015 POZ 100 list are fellow long-term survivors. Diagnosed with HIV in 1995 or earlier, they all were living with the virus before effective treatment. Most of them got HIV as adults, but some of them seroconverted as teenagers and a few were born with the virus.

In addition to sharing all that comes with living with the virus, they also share a commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS. They aren't meant to be the definitive group of long-term survivors, but they're a great representative subset. They come from across the country and all walks of life.

The POZ 100 honorees on our cover--Fred Hersch, Luna Luis Ortiz, Erin Secker, Lolisa Gibson-Hunte and Ron Simmons--are fine examples from the list. They show the diversity of the list while representing its commonalities. Click here to read about them and the other honorees.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.
The October/November 2015 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

Being a gay man in uniform back then was difficult enough, but being HIV positive made me want to leave. I'm not the only one. According to a report from the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, about half of those service members diagnosed with HIV eventually leave. The report doesn't shed light on why, but stigma and discrimination are my most likely suspects.

Despite great strides forward by the U.S. military--abolishing racial discrimination, advancing roles for women and ending "don't ask, don't tell"--only recently has improving the circumstances of those serving while HIV positive made the radar...

In honor of Veterans Day, click here to read about our cover gal, Heather Arculeo, a former Marine; Michael Subra, a current Coast Guard recruiter; Aaron Laxton, an Army veteran; and other service members, past and present, who are living with HIV.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.
I'm happy to highlight an NPR interview featuring two very deserving HIV/AIDS advocates -- Mark S. King (a POZ blogger and a 2011 POZ 100 honoree) and Guy Anthony (a POZ blogger and a 2014 POZ 100 honoree).

In the wake of the recent HIV outbreak in Indiana (click here for an in-depth article by former POZ editor-in-chief Walter Armstrong on the aftermath of that outbreak), NPR wanted to get an update on the epidemic in general.

Mark, as a long-term survivor, and Guy, as someone diagnosed two decades after Mark, offer their respective insights. It comes as no surprise to me that both cite stigma as a persistent obstacle for people living with the virus.

From the interview:

"It's my firm belief that as medications have improved, and as the lives of those of us with HIV have improved, social stigma has risen," King says. "In the early years, we were doing everything we could just to help the dying, and there was no time to point fingers or blame or judge people ...

"Now, if you were to test positive today, how did that happen? What a disappointment you are. Why weren't you listening to all these prevention messages that we've been giving you all these years? You must be a terrible person."

That rings true for Anthony.

"I was more so afraid of the stigma attached to the disease than the actual disease," he says. "You know, because every day I have to sort of wake up and deal with the fact that I am a black gay man in America. And that's difficult in itself. So, to add, HIV positive serostatus onto that, it can be a lot."

Please listen to the full interview.

The September 2015 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

Fighting for justice was and still is what superheroes represent.

Despite not really knowing the source material, I did love watching Saturday morning cartoons, especially Super Friends, which featured Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. Their aggression was trumped by their teamwork (and their skintight outfits).

The Undetectables--a new program from New York City's Housing Works that helps participants reduce their viral loads--taps into that superhero spirit. The program uses a comic book series to educate participants about HIV treatment adherence. That series was the inspiration for our cover.

The Undetectables comic books include fictional characters, but our cover and the accompanying feature article include real participants in the program. Click here to read how London Gray, Benjamin Ball, Adonis Porch and Ervin Rogers are lowering their viral loads without superpowers.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.
The July/August 2015 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

So I admire people who take the heat--literally and figuratively--every day in the Southern United States, the hot spot domestically for HIV/AIDS. It is no exaggeration to say that the South, on virtually any bad HIV/AIDS statistic you can think of, is sadly at or near the top of the list.

Despite the heat, there are bright spots in the fight against the virus in the South. A peer-to-peer program at AIDS Alabama called Living Well is one excellent example. The program employs HIV-positive advocates to help break down barriers to care and treatment for fellow HIV-positive people.

Three of these peer advocates grace our cover--Andrew Ballard, Debra Richards and Tommy Williams. Their journeys living with the virus are in themselves inspiring, but their commitment to helping others with HIV/AIDS is uplifting. Click here to read more on them and the Living Well program.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.
The June 2015 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

So it is with coming out that the things you disclose often aren't as terrible as you feared, yet the unburdening is even more freeing than you imagined. Such was the case for our cover gals, Whitney Joiner and Alysia Abbott. Each lost her gay dad to AIDS in 1992--and Whitney didn't know anyone else who had lost a parent to the virus until she met Alysia about 15 years ago.

They stayed in touch, but the years passed by. Then, in 2014, an event co-sponsored by Visual AIDS about the children of parents lost to AIDS spurred Whitney and Alysia to launch the Recollectors, a group dedicated to remembering parents lost to the virus. Click here to read more about the Recollectors and remembrances of their loved ones.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.



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