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Sexual Healing

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The April/May 2014 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

In this issue, we'll explore sex from a few angles. We won't be sharing tips on how to satisfy your partners, but what you read may wind up pleasing them regardless.

One of the most problematic areas in discussing sex is how to teach sexual education--or if we should at all. To this day, laws exist in several states that require schools to stress the importance of abstinence. Three states--Alabama, South Carolina and Texas--require schools to teach only negative information about homosexuality.

Although sex ed is stuck between science and politics, educators and advocates across the country are struggling to break it free. One of them is on our cover, Jason Villalobos. As a person living with HIV, he brings sex-ed knowledge and personal experience into the classroom as a substitute teacher in Santa Barbara, California. Click here to read more.

Another tricky subject when it comes to sex is HIV risk. What are the odds of getting HIV from fill-in-the-blank circumstance(s) and/or act(s)? Does it really matter what the odds are? Playing the HIV numbers game is less--and more--risky than you think. We drill deep into the data starting here.

To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.

Justify My Love

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The March 2014 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

I believe being a role model should not mean anything more (or less) than being an example for others, more often than not ...

The women on our cover are wonderful role models. They've overcome HIV and many other painful obstacles. Click here to read how they grew the HIV intervention Common Threads into a microenterprise.

Taking control of your wallet is important for your financial health, but taking control of your body is important for your general health. To that end, condoms can be just as important as diet, exercise and moderation.

Nevertheless, the condom conundrum cannot be ignored. Condom use remains about 50 percent for men who have sex with men, and about 30 percent for straight men. Many men like them, but many just do not.

The answer? Make a better condom, of course. There are numerous hurdles, but researchers and entrepreneurs are taking up the challenge to build better barriers for both men and women--and all types of sex. Click here to read about the new search to improve an old prevention tool.

To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.

Houses of the Holy

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The January/February 2014 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

For better or worse, religion holds a key role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We know all too well that many doctrines hamper us. Countless examples reveal how that is so. What we do not acknowledge often enough, however, is that many people of faith help us in the fight. They need our support.

The Reverend Savalas Squire Sr. is one of them. Living with HIV since 2010, he leads his Baptist church in North Carolina in song, in prayer--and in education on the virus. Click here to read how Savalas and others across the country are helping the black church take a seat at the HIV/AIDS table.

Sean Strub has had a seat at many tables. From AIDS activist to POZ founder, from politics to business, his titles and domains abound. He also was raised as a Roman Catholic, and this played an important role in shaping his views and actions. We learn that and so much more in his new book ...


A memoir excerpt details the launch of POZ and its aftermath.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.

Your Song

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The December 2013 issue of POZ magazine is online.

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

We spotlight HIV-positive unsung heroes--people making a difference, but who've not gotten the widespread recognition they deserve.

Although their contributions certainly merit the attention, we by no means present these 100 people as the only ones deserving recognition. They are stand-ins for all the unsung heroes in our HIV/AIDS community. Click here to read their stories ...

December 1 is World AIDS Day. To mark this annual awareness day, click here to read our Q&A with Dylan Mohan Gray, the director of
Fire in the Blood, which warns advocates that the global fight for access to low-cost drugs isn't over. Then click here to read about Florence Ngobeni-Allen of South Africa. Despite being HIV positive, she is the proud mother of two HIV-negative sons.
To read my complete letter from the editor, click here.
puam_fgt.jpgThe Princeton University Art Museum is currently exhibiting billboards of the same untitled photo by the late HIV-positive Cuban artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996). They'll be on display through December 16.

The work depicts an empty, unmade bed still with the indentations of having been slept in. He created the work in 1991 as an elegy for his partner Ross Laycock, who died that same year. Gonzalez-Torres died in 1996. Both passed away from AIDS-related complications.

When he originally created the work, he mounted the image on 24 billboards. The museum has mounted the image on 12 billboards in New Jersey from Trenton to New Brunswick.

As a gay HIV-positive first generation Cuban-American living in New Jersey, I can't help but feel an intense connection to this exhibit. If you're driving through the state sometime soon, make an effort to see it.

For a map of the billboard locations, click here.

To read a 1998 POZ article about Gonzalez-Torres, click here.

For more information about his foundation, click here.

Vito Russo

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vito_russo.jpgBorn: 1946
Died: 1990

"You can't plead tolerance for gays by saying that they're just like everyone else. Tolerance is something we should extend to people who are not like everyone else."
- Vito Russo


Vito Russo is an official honoree today for LGBT History Month 2013, which this year has several HIV-positive honorees.

Vito Russo was a U.S. LGBT activist, film historian and author best known for his book and live lecture presentations of The Celluloid Closet, a comprehensive project that looked at how the history of motion pictures and Hollywood portrayed the LGBT community.

Russo originally published The Celluloid Closet in book form in 1981, after developing his early material from fundraiser screenings of camp films by the Gay Activists Alliance, an early gay rights group in the late 1970s and early '80s. Between 1979 and 1982, he gained fame by presenting lecture and film clip presentations at colleges, universities and independent cinemas across the country.

In 1983, Russo wrote, produced and co-hosted the Our Time series, the first LGBT hard news documentary video shown on U.S. public television, which aired on WNYC in 13 episodes tackling issues such as gay history, drag, alcoholism and AIDS, featuring Larry Kramer.

Russo also was a co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a watchdog group that monitors representation of the homosexual community in the mainstream media.

The filmmaker also was an active member of ACT UP in its early days after being diagnosed with HIV in 1985. Russo died from AIDS-related complications in 1990.

In 1996, The Celluloid Closet was posthumously made into an HBO documentary, which was narrated by Lily Tomlin. It won several awards, including four Emmys, the Peabody Award and the award for Freedom of Expression at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival.

Go to lgbthistorymonth.com ffor more information about Russo and the other honorees.


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