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The film adaptation of The Normal Heart is set to air May 25 on HBO. Written by Larry Kramer and set in New York City at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the play originally debuted off-Broadway in 1985. The Broadway production won Best Revival of a Play at the 2011 Tony Awards. The HBO cast includes Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch and Joe Montello. Kramer wrote the screenplay and Ryan Murphy directed.

Watch a short trailer:


By Cassidy Gardner (Editorial Intern)

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This year marked my first Creating Change experience. Glorified as the nation's premiere LGBTQ conference and an attraction for the head honchos of nonprofits and the organizers who follow them, Creating Change hosts a plethora of workshops, social gatherings and networking opportunities for all us queers. The conference spanned five days, ending on February 2, and was held this year in Houston at the Hilton.

I arrived on Friday afternoon with just enough time to register and get a glimpse of what was going on for the short time that I was able to attend. Then I led a presentation representing QUEEROCRACY on HIV criminalization advocacy and activism along with Robert Suttle and Reed Vreeland from the Sero Project. Afterward, as I rushed from floor to floor to get my quick fix of gay mayhem during my limited free time, I was overwhelmed and uneased by the amount of rainbow flags and corporate sponsors--not to mention all the free pens given away by lesbian and gay police officers and sheriffs recruiting queer youngins, a move that felt like a poor and dangerous substitution for real radical change. Even many of the HIV/AIDS vendors seemed unable to come up with anything more creative and attention-grabbing than a bowl of condoms and some tootsie rolls strewn across the table.

After solemnly perusing the vendor aisles, I checked out the schedule of events for the remainder of the day, hoping to make it to a few other HIV-related events after my presentation before I had to leave the next morning. But to my surprise nearly all of the HIV/AIDS presentations were being given at the same time on the same day. If building a stronger HIV/AIDS coalition and broadening your knowledge of that movement were your main objectives, then Creating Change was not going to let that happen easily. Among the incredible sounding workshops that I missed were "Action Plans Addressing Late HIV Testing in Latino Communities," "Lesbian Activism and Leadership Within the HIV/AIDS Epidemic" and "I Like it Bareback: Black Gays, Barebacking and the New Blue Pill," just to name a few. Although I'm sad to have missed them, I'm grateful that these topics had a chance to re-enter LGBTQ movement dialogue.

In the end, I was happy with the crowd of folks who came to our presentation on HIV criminalization, especially since it is rarely a topic that gets to sit at the table in such highly corporatized and neoliberal conferences as this one. I was happy that the HIV/AIDS community was also represented among the plenary speakers for the conference; these included Phil Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, and Michael Kaplan, president and CEO of AIDS United.

My advice for Creating Change 2015 would be to make more room for the grassroots and give HIV/AIDS a proper and much more welcoming reintroduction into the minds of LGBTQ activists young and old alike. 



My, How Time Flies!

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By Kate Ferguson (Editor-in-Chief, Real Health; Senior Editor, POZ)

This week, as I sifted through my email inbox, I clicked on an alert from Hydeia Broadbent. For those unfamiliar with this young lady, Hydeia is a petite dynamo who has been working hard--for practically all her life--to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Every so often, I get a hit from Hydeia announcing her latest appearances at events and on programs and panels where she's ready to talk very passionately about a subject that's been a part of her since birth.

Hydeia was born HIV positive in 1984; when she was 3, doctors diagnosed her with AIDS. (She defied a diagnosis by doctors that she wouldn't live past 5.) Today, Hydeia is still defiant. She's an outspoken advocate against a disease that many people believe has been cured. But that's so not the case.

Today, Hydeia appeared Oprah: Where Are They Now? According to Hydeia's press release, it's been 20 years since she first appeared on Oprah Winfrey's iconic talk show.

When I read that statement, it floored me! Has it really been that long? Inside my head a voice asked, And still there's no cure? Wow! How quickly time flies.

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In our company's archives, I found a picture of the October 1997 issue of POZ. Hydeia is pictured on the cover. At that time, she was a cute little girl, her hair in neat braided rows as she looks over her shoulder. She's carrying a yellow, smiley-face bag that's bigger than her head, and she flashes the reader a million-dollar smile.

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Today, Hydeia is a beautiful young lady of 29. She still has that million-dollar smile and, yes, her passion is still there. If anything, Hydeia is even more on fire and committed to raising awareness about HIV. She's also a spokesperson for the "Until There's a Cure" campaign. She appears on one of the organization's public service announcement posters and declares, "We have grown complacent in America. And in our complacency we've failed to educate our youth. There's so much misinformation. People think there's a cure...There is no cure."

This time, when she visited Oprah, Hydeia tweeted live and led a discussion online about "an epidemic that may no longer be in the headlines, but is still very prevalent right here in the U.S."

Often it feels like time flies, yet some things still remain the same. Sometimes that's a good thing, like when people such as Hydeia continue to work to raise awareness about the virus. Sometimes it's not, like when there's still no cure for HIV/AIDS.

The Role of an Actor

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By Jennifer Morton (Managing Editor, POZ)

There's a debate brewing on Facebook and some entertainment websites about the lack of mention of HIV/AIDS by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in their respective acceptance speeches for their roles in the film Dallas Buyers Club at this year's Golden Globes ceremony.

Many took the duo to task for the omission, while others chalked it up to nerves during their acceptance speeches or the fact that the Globes are notoriously a drunken affair and no place for social messages.

Here are a few comments from a recent Facebook post:

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Perhaps the two actors listened to the backlash about the Golden Globes speeches. Here are the statements they each released about their Academy Award nominations yesterday morning.

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Both McConaughey and Leto won for their roles at last night's Critics' Choice awards, and they reiterated their new talking points during their acceptance speeches:

"Today you not only honor me but also all those around the world living with AIDS and all those we have lost to this disease. Thank you for recognizing them and recognizing their struggle through Dallas Buyers Club. This was a fascinating story told by a group of incredibly passionate and committed filmmakers who wanted to create something special and shine a light on a unique and important story."
--Jared Leto

"I share this with the entire Dallas Buyers Club family of filmmakers, cast, and crew--and the real-life Ron Woodroofs and Rayons who continue to fight and live with dignity. Thank you."
--Matthew McConaughey

Is it the responsibility of actors and filmmakers to advocate for the causes they depict on film? Sure, it's great when they do, but don't the movies they make have far greater impact than an awards speech?

Despite the brouhaha, the multiple award wins for McConaughey and Leto continue to generate buzz for the movie--and hopefully for continued awareness of HIV/AIDS.

If McConaughey and Leto end up winning an Oscar at the Academy Awards, will they advocate for HIV/AIDS in their speeches? I hope so and will be tuning in on Sunday, March 2, to find out.

Doge: Need Cure, Want Now

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Have you ever thought about what the internal monologue of a dog might look like? You're not alone. The Internet meme Doge (the pronunciation is under debate, but we'll go with "Dohj") answers that question using an adorable Shiba Inu pup with a very limited and nonsensical vocabulary.

doge-sun-meme.jpgSince they went viral in 2012, images of Doge have led to a humorous butchering of the English language with phrases like "much happy" and "such sleepy." The internal monologues are mostly in Comic Sans font, a popular font from the 1990s (especially among young teens rebelling against Times New Roman).

Although Doge often serves as just a way to save you from a case of the Mondays, we couldn't resist the opportunity to enlist Doge for HIV/AIDS awareness. He has shown us that sometimes just a few simple words will do. So, in that spirit, repeat after us: Very HIV. Much AIDS. Need cure. Want now.

Please share our POZ Doge cover to help us spread message!

doge-poz-cover.jpgTo learn more about Doge's rise to stardom, click here.

2013 Gifts That Give

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By POZ Staff

Need some holiday shopping ideas? Then check out these suggestions from the POZ staff. These gifts spread holiday cheer while giving back to groups that raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS.

men_of_fred.jpgMen of Fred 2014 Calendar, $20
Earlier this year, our favorite furry friend from Fred Says commandeered his fans online to vote from a selection of male models to be included in a sexy annual calendar to raise awareness for HIV-positive youth. Every cent you spend on Fred, the tiny Yorkshire terrier, and his impressive entourage will go into a self-sustaining charity fund that ensures HIV-positive teens receive the care and services they need for a healthy, positive life.

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Mondo Guerra's SEE Eyewear Collection, $99-$319
The 2010 Project Runway star has teamed up with trendy glasses brand SEE Eyewear to design 11 frames and six styles of sunglasses that are sure to turn heads this holiday season. Even better, Guerra, who revealed that he is HIV positive while on the show and who is now a fierce HIV/AIDS advocate, will be giving a portion of the proceeds to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

gyft_cards.jpgGyft.com Immunity Project Gift Cards, $5-$250
Through the month of December, turn holiday gift cards into HIV vaccine research funds with the click of your mouse. A tech-savvy partnership between online gift card retailer Gyft and Immunity Project, a group investigating a promising new HIV vaccine, is trying to raise $1 million by the end of the year to advance its research into Phase I human trials. Gyft will donate to the project 100 percent of the proceeds from gift cards for over 200 retailers, including Target, Gap and Amazon.

mac_lipstick.jpgRuPaul's MAC VIVA Glam I LipStick/LipGlass Combo, $30
RuPaul has reclaimed her role as the face of MAC Cosmetics' VIVA Glam makeup line 20 years after its official entrance into the fashion world. Ru is bringing back her signature burgundy lipstick from the original '90s campaign, plus a new matching lipglass to update the look for the 2013 holiday season. As always, the VIVA Glam campaign will donate every cent of its sales straight to the MAC AIDS fund, which goes toward helping women, men and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

awearness_boot.jpgAWEARNESS by Kenneth Cole Electric Rain Rubber Boot, $98
This winter, keep your loved ones' feet dry and hearts warm with these awesome rubber boots from Cole's original "Save a Hide, Wear a Rubber" charity fashion campaign. The handsome rain boot is designed to look and feel like a classic leather boot so you don't have to sacrifice fashion for function this winter. And 100 percent of the net profits from these boots will be donated to the AWEARNESS Fund, which promotes and funds social change initiatives, including HIV/AIDS treatment and awareness.

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Broadway Cares Red Ribbon Unisex Watch, $85
This classy timepiece features a red ribbon on its face to show your support for HIV/AIDS awareness. It's adjustable, water-resistant, made of stainless steel with a brushed silver finish, and a portion of its proceeds goes directly to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Since the BC/EFA holiday catalogue's inception 20 years ago, more than $225 million has been raised in gifts to help provide essential services for people with HIV and other critical illnesses.

dsenyo_dolls.jpgDsenyo Collection of Handmade Dolls, $19.99 each
The 12 stuffed animals in this collection are meticulously hand-stitched by a women's cooperative in Malawi, Africa, to help benefit the Mwayiwathu HIV Support Group, comprised of AIDS widows who are living with the virus. The fair trade, handmade toys are 100 percent cotton African fabric with a soft jersey knit and are also washer/dryer safe for the kids. Gifting these little friends to your loved ones will help these women attain meds, get to the hospital, buy food and even purchase fertilizer to grow crops in their communities.

onehope_merlot.jpgOneHope 2012 California Merlot, $18
For your staple holiday wine gift, pick a brand that also gives back to HIV/AIDS. OneHope's 2012 California Merlot has a bright cherry color and subtle notes of tasty spice that come from aging Napa, Sonoma and Coastal county grapes in a combination of French and American barrels. OneHope will donate half its profits from every bottle to the Keep a Child Alive foundation. For every two cases sold, a child with HIV/AIDS is provided with lifesaving medicine for one month.

dallas_buyers_album.jpgDallas Buyers Club -- Music From and Inspired by the Film $11.99
Relativity Music group and Project (RED) have teamed up to bring you the music from one of this year's Oscar favorites, Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Gardner. The film follows the story of real-life hero, Ron Woodroof, a redneck recovering homophobe who helped people with HIV access alternative treatments in the 1980s. The album features tracks from Thirty Seconds to Mars, My Morning Jacket, Teagan and Sara, Cold War Kids, Capital Cities and more. In addition to bringing attention to HIV history and awareness, 10 percent of net proceeds from every album sold go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

radko_ornament.jpgChristopher Radko "Claus for a Cure" Ornament, $50
Santa Claus can now support HIV/AIDS awareness on your tree with distinctive red ribbons and a gift of charity to match. Because it's one of 12 disease-awareness ornaments in designer Christopher Radko's 2013 Charity Collection, a portion of the proceeds from this mouth-blown glass tree decoration will benefit charities for HIV/AIDS awareness. Each year's selection of ornaments are unique from other years, making them collectible family heirlooms that can commemorate and celebrate loved ones who have been affected by the virus.

azana_necklace.jpgAzana Long Charm Bullet Shell Necklace, $112
For the jewelry lover on your list, check out Love 41's six-strand, beaded and charmed necklace. It's made from melted bullet shells and recycled metals such as brass, copper and silver found in Africa and sourced by Raven and Lily, a socially responsible brand that empowers impoverished women around the world through design. These specific necklaces are made by HIV-positive women in Ethiopia, who use the money from their wares to help pay for health care and education for women and children in their communities.

chucks_brownies.jpgChuck's Famous Brownies, $19-$75
For almost 20 years, "Chuck the Baker" has been making life a little bit sweeter for the clients at God's Love We Deliver, an NYC-based charity that provides meals to people living with HIV or other life-altering illnesses. Your purchase of these decadent, homemade brownies will help support the organization's latest expansion campaign, which aims to provide vital nutrition services to thousands more clients in the tri-state area during the next 25 years.

theron_toms.jpgCTAOP Outreach Women's Classic Toms, $58
For the 2013 holiday season, TOMS shoes has partnered with the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) to create sunny, limited edition shoes that will help support the organization in keeping African youth safe from HIV/AIDS. Featuring TOMS' patented popular design plus an embroidered CTAOP logo, and a liner with the message "Look Within. Think Beyond. Reach Out," these shoes will keep you and your loved ones both comfortable and proud of your contribution to HIV prevention efforts.

Happy holidays!


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