February 28, 2012
On Sunday, Feb. 19, Robert and Jeromy spoke with HIVCruises.com founder Paul Stalbaum. Paul was born and raised in suburban Philadelphia and attended Penn State with a B.S. in psychology. He went to Villanova law school and discovered after one year he hated Torts so he left school to join the family business, a travel agency. Through his and his bother's efforts his agency grew to be the 11th largest in the country with seven offices and 175 employees.
Paul has been HIV+ for 30 years and remains healthy and asymptomatic. He uses both a Western medical approach combined with alternative methods and maintains a positive attitude towards HIV. In fact, while in Philly he became an HIV counsellor and founded what became the most well attended peer-led support which he called Positive Attitudes.
After selling his business, he moved to sunny Ft. Lauderdale and was surprised to find that no support group existed in a community with such a large HIV population. So he volunteered to start up a new Positive Attitudes support group at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. As word spread once again it was overwhelmingly successful with as many as 60 to 70 showing up on any given night.
In 2005 he decided to combine his two passions, travel and supporting the HIV community, by founding what has become an annual GLBT Poz Cruise. The cruise grows larger each year with many who have attend virtually every year. The cruise offers an opportunity to participate in a relaxing and affordable vacation while having the chance to attend workshops led by HIV experts such as Nelson Vergel, Dr. Michael Wohlfieler, Dr Charles Steinberg and Mark King.
This vlog by Mark King shows a glimpse into what the HIV Cruises are all about: