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Cindy Allen, DIFFA board chair and editor in chief of Interior Design magazine, is surrounded by DIFFA grantees.

As January ends, we're finally catching our breath from all the holiday festivities. As we look back on the whirlwind of activities, one of the highlights for us was the DIFFA Thanks For Giving Cocktail Party at the Herman Miller Showroom in Midtown Manhattan.

DIFFA--Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS--was celebrating the 17 HIV/AIDS organizations that received a total of $225,000 in grants from DIFFA. These particular grantees are located in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia; combined, they offer an amazing range of services that cater to the HIV community.

Representatives from most of the groups attended the event, which gave us a chance to catch up on the important work they're doing--that is, when we weren't sidetracked by drooling over all the furniture in the Herman Miller showroom.

This year, World AIDS Day--a day dedicated to raising HIV/AIDS awareness and remembering those lost to the disease--landed on the same day as Giving Tuesday--a day dedicated to giving back. Keep that spirit alive this holiday with these gift ideas that raise awareness and give back to organizations that fight HIV/AIDS.

Sir Elton John's Holiday Classic Candle, $38
Looking for the perfect candle to light up someone's life this Christmas? Consider Sir Elton John's Holiday Classic Candle by NEST Fragrances. It's a blend of evergreen and balsam fir needles combined with rich woods and a sparkling citrus accord. (Other scents are also available.) A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation, one of the world's largest grant-makers for HIV/AIDS.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Bow Tie, $57
Tie one on with this classic bow tie that supports the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). The tie's pattern is an interpretation of the EGPAF logo, which was inspired by Ariel Glaser's painting of her vision of the world: as a beautiful garden kept bright with sunshine and surrounded by love. This bow tie not only raises awareness for HIV/AIDS, but also raises funds for the important work that EGPAF does around the globe.

World AIDS Day Key Key Ring, $275
How posh is this key ring? Posh enough for UNAIDS Global Goodwill Ambassador Victoria Beckham to include it in her fashion collection. The key-shaped ring is made of blonde gold and features a red World AIDS Day ribbon. All proceeds from its sale benefit the initiatives and organizations supported by UNAIDS.

Broadway Legends: Barbra Streisand Holiday Ornament, $60
The latest edition of the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) Broadway Legends holiday ornament collection is a tribute to the legendary Barbra Streisand. The ornament features Babs as Funny Girl's Fanny Brice in her iconic red, white and blue sailor outfit. You'll be the "greatest star" by giving this classic gift, which benefits BC/EFA. Since 1988, the organization has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people living with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Shantell Martin amfAR Towel, $40
This limited-edition beach towel designed exclusively for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, by British visual artist Shantell Martin, is a great accessory for any beach-lover. It features one of Martin's black-and-white illustrations and the inscription "Be Epic, Cure AIDS." All proceeds benefit the work of amfAR, including its goal of developing the scientific basis of a cure by 2020.

UNTIL Luggage Tag, $5
Looking for a gift for someone on the go? Check out this faux leather luggage tag that features an elastic loop strap and an elastic closure that protects the information card inside. Proceeds benefit Until There's a Cure, a national organization dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds to combat the pandemic.

Visual AIDS 2015 Tote Bag by Shan Kelley, $20
Create a conversation with those on your holiday list with this tote bag designed by artist Shan Kelley for Visual AIDS. The organization utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue and supporting HIV-positive artists. "Let's Hold Each Other Until It's All Over" is a sentiment worth sharing.

God's Love We Deliver Measuring Spoons, $10
You'll give someone a spoonful of good cheer this holiday with this set of four heart-shaped measuring spoons from God's Love We Deliver. The NYC-based organization prepares and delivers delicious and nutritious meals to people living with HIV or other life-altering illnesses.

MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus Lipglass, $15
We can't stop loving this new shade of Lipglass from Viva Glam spokesperson Miley Cyrus. It's a super-sexy bright orange hue with a sparkling pearl shimmer that will be sure to please any makeup connoisseur on your holiday list. Plus, every cent of each sale goes toward helping women, men and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.


On World AIDS Day, ONE and (RED) hosted an night of music at Carnegie Hall, titled "It Always Seems Impossible Until It's Done." The event included performances by U2's Bono and The Edge, Miley Cyrus, Jessie J, and Hozier, and highlighted the accomplishments made thus far in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It also served as a reminder that the work is not done, but it's clear we have the science and the tools to end the epidemic.

After the concert, Bono appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to kick off the first-ever (SHOPATHON) RED--a shopping extravaganza co-produced by VICE Media that raises money for The Global Fund. The Shopathon offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences with celebrity guests, including:

• Ride bikes with Bono and get ice cream in Central Park
• Watch filming and meet some of the cast on the set of Game of Thrones
• Join Snoop for the "Merry Jane Wellness Retreat" in Colorado
• Meet George Clooney and get complimented by him for 45 seconds
• Have Shaq be in your holiday card
• Get glammed up with Kim Kardashian and her glam squad
• Meet Meryl Streep on the red carpet

Each $10 donation gives you 100 chances to win one of the experiences. Larger donations give you more chances to win, plus other rewards. The deadline for most of the experiences is January 21. Visit to enter and for more information. Support (RED) this holiday season and you just might end up making someone's dream come true--as well as help save a lot of lives!

On December 1, hundreds of HIV/AIDS activists, politicians and community health leaders joined together at Harlem's world-famous Apollo Theater to celebrate the beginning of the end of AIDS in New York State--and to commemorate the more than 150,000 HIV-positive New Yorkers lost to the epidemic since its start in the early 1980s.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as several members of the New York City Council and the state assembly paid their respects at the morning's ceremony, and officially re-committed their efforts to support and promote New York State's official Blueprint to End AIDS by 2020.

2015 World AIDS Day Awards were also presented to Housing Works CEO Charles King, Harlem United's Kimberleigh Joy Smith, CK Life's Mister Cris, and Zil Garner Goldstein, a family nurse practitioner at Mount Sinai-Beth Israel hospital.

For more about the event, check out our photos below, and remember to share the hashtags #WorldAIDSDay2015 #EndAIDSNY2020 #BeHIVSure and #Vision2Reality to help raise awareness, fight stigma and remember those lost to and living with HIV/AIDS.

wad2015_intro.jpeg"From Vision to Reality" was the theme at the Apollo's World AIDS Day 2015 ceremony, a callout to New York State's plan to end the epidemic by 2020.

wad2015_1.JPGGovernor Andrew Cuomo said the state will dedicate another $200 million toward ending the epidemic, calling for the former AIDS "epicenter" to lead efforts to end the disease.
wad2015_2.JPGReality TV star Carmen Carrera opened up about how her own family has been affected by HIV/AIDS, and introduced the NYC Department of Health's new sex-positive HIV-prevention campaign, #PlaySure.

wad2015_3.JPGNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also committed an additional $23 million toward combatting HIV/AIDS in the five boroughs by the end of 2020, and called on the state to provide more funding.
 wad2015_4.JPGLong-term survivors from ACT UP, ACRIA and the 2015 POZ 100 took the stage to remember the early days of the epidemic, and those lost to HIV/AIDS over the past three decades.

The ceremony ended with a stunning dance performance by members of the Kiki Coalition, a ballroom group of LGBTQ youth of color working to fight HIV/AIDS in their own communities.
To acknowledge and raise awareness of the new reality that more than half of all people living with HIV in the United States are older than 50, Walgreens teamed up with The Graying of AIDS project to launch the Well Beyond HIV program to inspire dialogue, eradicate stigmas and amplify the voices, faces and stories of those over 50 living with HIV.

As part of the program, a pop-up art installation that features the gripping portraits and testimonials of HIV positive men and women over the age of 50 has been making its way across the country. POZ has joined its New York City debut to celebrate our sixth annual POZ 100 list that will honor long-term survivors--inspirational and courageous individuals diagnosed with HIV in 1995 or earlier.

The exhibition will be on display at Rogue Space Chelsea between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21. Look for a special publication from POZ highlighting all six years of the POZ 100 only available at the gallery. Hope to see you there.

By Jennifer Morton (Managing Editor, POZ/AIDSmeds/Hep)

The Sero Project recently published Turn It Up!, a single-issue magazine for people living with HIV and/or hepatitis who are incarcerated.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of diagnosed HIV infection among inmates in state and federal prisons in 2010 was more than five times greater than the rate among people not in prison. People living with HIV and other health conditions often face stigma and discrimination, and when they are behind bars, they often have little or no resources or help.

Turn It Up! offers personal stories and advice from those who have been on the inside. It provides basics on HIV, hepatitis and diabetes, as well as information on nutrition, exercise, meditation and more. The issue also includes a 12-page resource guide.

Turn It Up! is much more than just a magazine. It's a labor of love from a committed group of advocates who understand how tough it can be for those serving time. It's also an empowerment tool to help those incarcerated improve and protect their health and welfare.

Click here to take a look:

For single or bulk copies of the one-time publication, please contact the Sero Project at or P.O. Box 1233, Milford, PA 18337.

The Sero Project is a network of people with HIV and allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. For more info, visit

By Nicholas Olson (POZ Intern)

Al_Franken_Official_Senate_Portrait.jpgRecently, U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced anti-bullying legislation that seeks to add a provision to the No Child Left Behind renewal, called the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, which is under debate. Franken's amendment would provide federal anti-bullying coverage to LGBTQ students in K-12 education throughout the nations' schools. This policy could help relieve LGBTQ students from the traumas of bullying. Such trauma has been linked to riskier behavior in gay and bisexual men, which in turn has been linked to an increased likelihood of contracting HIV.

Franken's amendment, known as the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), would include LGBTQ identities in school policies that protect kids from bullying based on race, religion, gender and other identities. Teachers and administrators would be required to handle LGBTQ-based bullying in classrooms in the same way as race-based hate speech and violence.

Unfortunately, the bill faces some difficulty in the Senate. The bill needed a supermajority of 60 votes to overcome a filibuster on the legislation, but it only got 55 votes. All of the Senate Democrats and a group of eight Republicans voted in favor. It seemed like an obvious "yes" to many senators, especially following the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed with 64 votes.

Bullying and HIV have a stark correlation, though. A recent study from Child Abuse and Neglect examined the relationship between HIV-positive gay men and childhood trauma from bullying. They found that 91 percent of their sample of 171 men had experienced trauma from bullying before age 18. They also found that that trauma was linked to behavior later in life that put the men at high risk for HIV. "Exposure to bullying must be considered in any intervention aiming to reduce trauma symptoms or improve mental or physical health among HIV-positive populations," the study concludes.

It can be difficult to determine why there might be a correlation or what might cause risky behaviors in men. The study describes how drug abuse, "difficulties with mood" and emotional stress, and "symptoms of trauma" experienced earlier in life persist into adulthood. So it appears emotional stress from childhood bullying leads to further psychological issues in men, indicated by behaviors that are at higher risk for contracting HIV.

Reducing bullying in schools is crucial to reducing stigma and trauma related to marginalized identities. As such, school policies like Franken's Student Non-Discrimination Amendment could do more than prevent bullying--they could also lower HIV risk among LGBTQ people. There is still hope for Franken's amendment, but it first must break through the filibuster on the measure to be added to the Every Child Achieves Act. That can be difficult, and it is unclear when the bill will be presented on the Senate floor next.

You can find and contact your Congressional representatives to support this bill using this tool. 


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