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Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin's HIV Journal

How to Put on a Condom
April 28, 2013


2. Make sure the condom is pushed inside the wrapper opposite the end from which you are opening it.

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The Biohazard Tattoo and HIV Stigma
April 25, 2013

Last week I thought long and hard about the reason why someone would get a bio-hazard tattoo on their body, and then I asked myself why I would get one. I decided I would get a Biohazard tattoo not because I wanted to feel better about myself being HIV positive, but it was because I felt for the people that couldn't be open about their status. There are many reasons why a person cannot be open about their status: it could be because of their family, friends, partner/s, fear of persecution, death, etc. But a lot of these reasons come from stigma. Stigma of how one is treated when being open about their HIV status is very much alive and well. I got this tattoo for those mentioned above to help fight against HIV stigma.

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Majority of Newly Diagnosed HIV Cases in Philadelphia Already Have AIDS
March 24, 2013

Every three years, the CDC puts out its HIV Surveillance Report which gives a status on infection rates by city, state, region, etc. After the results of the report came out it was found that Philadelphia was ranked 24th among metropolitan area for new AIDS diagnosis. Over 75% of new HIV cases found were actually stage 3 AIDS. Currently there are about 12,000 people in Philadelphia living with HIV/AIDS.

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28% of South African School Girls Are HIV-Positive
March 22, 2013

According to the BBC, 28% of South African school girls are HIV positive. This is such a travesty. The South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is stating that young men are not infecting them but older men are. The South African Health Department put out this ad to engage the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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Lifting Ban on HIV Organ Donating
March 21, 2013

Bans Bans Bans!!! We have bans for a lot of things in this country, but one is about to be lifted. The Senate Heath Education and Pensions Committee have approved the HOPE Act, also known as the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act. The act would lift the federal ban on transplanting HIV positive organs to HIV positive recipients.

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Just*In Time: Deny, Deny, Deny
March 3, 2013

I'm somewhat of an "AIDS denialist." For all that I have researched, read, studied and learned, I have a hard time accepting what I've "unlearned." At the same time, the passing of a close cousin and Christine Maggiore has forced me to ask myself, "If I were HIV-positive, would I have the strength of my convictions to live the life I advocate, like Christine, or would I take the path that most people take?" My mind rejects conventional wisdom on HIV and the use of HIV medications, but I don't think I would take the "holistic" route, either. I just don't understand why there can't be an alternative clinical option. Let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks!

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Justin Goes Back to Basic Training
February 21, 2013

I was going through some old military things and came across a video of me in Basic Training. Of course, that was back in 1999 when I was just 19 years old. This was during the era of the policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Also, since it is dated, it was on a VHS tape. I thought to myself, "Wow, I've grown a lot since then." My foster son used to express interest in the military. He said, "Dad, I want to be a Marine." Of course, his father and I tried to persuade him to join the Air Force or the Army, since I'm prior Air Force and my husband is prior Army. After that discussion I think my foster son decided to change his mind about even going into the service, but who knows, he is a teenager and may change his mind later.

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Justin Learns to Relax
February 20, 2013

So, I've decided to take my doctor's orders seriously. When it comes to HIV, it is really important that one keeps their stress levels down and, unfortunately, it has been harder for me than not. I've decided to not let anything or anyone stress me out and if that means cutting people out of my life completely or putting them in another category, so be it. I also emphasize to always look after your own health. I've decided to go to bed earlier, drink less and really try to quit smoking.

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Doctor's Appointment, Hypertension, Cholesterol, Diet and New Book
February 20, 2013

Recently, I went to my doctor's appointment and saw that I had borderline hypertension. The doctor also said that my T cells had dropped as well. This is NOT good. But I'm still undetectable, which is good. All my vitals were good except of course because of hypertension. I'm only 33 and someone has told me I'm much too young to have this diagnosis. Since I'm in school for my master's degree, engaging in activism and writing and having a kid on top of that, stress has been at its highest I've ever had in my life.

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Spending Time With My Foster Son
January 27, 2013

Having a foster son has put a lot of things in prospective for me. Things such as the way you talk to a younger generation, facial expressions, and inflections in your voice, etc. But I know one thing that is, and always has to be, there -- and that is time.

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Justin's HIV Journal

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)

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