Justin B. Terry Smith: Achieving My Dream of a College Degree (Video)
"It took me a while to get my degree, BUT I finally got it. ... This was emotional for me because, when I was diagnosed, getting my education was the last thing I would ever think of doing. BUT you have to stay strong and go for your dreams; DO NOT STOP!"
Brooke Davidoff: Grass Is Greener
"The grass is greener on my side, finally. ... We finally have more money coming in than going out. I had forgotten how nice it is to have enough money. To be able to pick up your meds and NOT cringe. To go grocery shopping."
Richard Cordova III: Why I Ride
"I am saddened when I meet so many HIV positive individuals who live in fear of rejection. Living in self-imposed isolation is no way to live. I do what I can to be a positive role model for those impacted by the disease. My participation in the Ride for AIDS Chicago is one such way I make a difference in my community."
Rae Lewis-Thornton: Gettin' My Groove Back
"If you had seen me walking down the street yesterday pushing my grocery cart, you would have thought I had won the lotto or something. ... It hit me as I was walking up and down the aisles yesterday that it's been months since I've been able to do this simple chore. ... Walking has been an issue for me in the months past."
And, my thirst was quenched.
My whistle was wet.
Our muscles, they flexed as
Our bodies, they sweat.
--From "Raw," by Jermaine Wright
To mark National Poetry Month in the U.S., we're posting our readers' poetry submissions about living with, or being affected by, HIV/AIDS!
Anything you write is fair game. Pieces can be literal or abstract, serious or funny, short or long (but hopefully not too long) -- whatever you want. Select poems will be featured on our site and in email newsletters all this month. Click here for more detailed information on how you can submit your poem (anonymously, if you'd like).
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES
Frequently Asked Questions: Nutrition, Exercise and Supplements for People With HIV
Every day, new questions pour into our "Ask the Experts" forums from people seeking more information about how to live a healthier life with HIV. We've compiled our experts' responses to many of the most commonly asked questions.
Attack of the Killer Couches, or Why People With HIV and Neuropathy Need to Get Off Our Backsides
The pain and discomfort of neuropathy can sometimes make any movement seem like more work than it's worth. But Dave R. explains why exercise -- even just minutes of exercise -- is a must: "Think of it as prolonging your life, maybe just by minutes, or hours, or days -- and maybe for years!"
Side Effects Overview: The Dark Side of Antiretrovirals
HIV treatment used to be a trade-off: The meds kept you alive, but often came with potentially brutally side effects. These days, HIV meds are less toxic than they've ever been, but they still carry some risk for side effects; Positively Aware summarizes them in this chart.
More Headlines on HIV Treatment and Health Issues:
Andrew (From Ohio) on "Life Expectancy Increases for North Americans Living With HIV"
"I can understand your frustration with pharmaceutical companies, but let's give at least some credit where credit's due. Their drugs work. Obviously we've all faced some very difficult times in the past, and we can only try to make ourselves more educated in the future. We've allowed them to become rich off of the poor and sick, but don't they deserve it more than any celebrity you see on television? It's like biting the hand that feeds you."
Read the rest of this comment and join the discussion on this article!
HIV NEWS & POLICY
Ten Black HIV/AIDS Advocates Who Are Making a Difference
As HIV/AIDS continues to affect black people more than any other ethnic group in the U.S. and around the world, we have seen some amazing advocates rise out of this troubling epidemic. To honor that work, we want to highlight some amazing leaders whose tireless work continues to inspire us all.
Community Speaks Out Against NYC Department of Health's Cuts to HIV/AIDS Programs
A wave of budget slashing has crashed ashore in New York City, washing over a number of HIV-related programs. "These choices were made behind closed doors," Roger Kimpton writes; "no public hearings, no consultation with the experts in the trenches of the fight against the disease."
HIV Medicine Association: "People Living With HIV Need Health Care Reform Law Now More Than Ever"
Last week's U.S. Supreme Court hearings over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brought U.S. health care back into the spotlight. Though many Americans are not fans of the act, the HIV/AIDS medical community generally backs it. In this statement, Judith Aberg, M.D., of the HIV Medicine Association explains why.
More News & Policy Headlines:
"The Light at the End," 2002
Luna Luis Ortiz
Visit the April 2012 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, "Borders/Crossings," is curated by Liz Barr.
OPINIONS & PERSPECTIVES
Spreading Knowledge: Four Women Report Back From HIV Conferences
If you haven't had many opportunities to attend HIV-related conferences, you might wonder just what happens at these gatherings. Four women in our community wrote about their experiences at various conferences over the past year, and shared some of the information they gathered.
The Power of Sharing Our Stories
"After learning that I was HIV positive, I realized that I wouldn't survive long unless I confronted the mental anguish that my diagnosis had caused," writes Vanessa Johnson, J.D., for Black AIDS Institute. "Black women living with HIV should tell our stories as often as we need to. Over the years, my storytelling has gotten deeper and richer; I no longer start or end with HIV."
Poetry Month at TheBody.com: A Message From Your Poetry Editor
"I've very much enjoyed reading and editing all the pieces that have come in since we started doing Poetry Month at TheBody.com two years ago," our associate editor Warren Tong writes. "As much as people write for themselves, writing is meant to be shared. Especially if the subject matter is as serious as HIV."
More Opinions & Perspectives:
HIV+ Senior Women: You're Not Alone!
(A recent post from the "Women" board)
"I have never done this before -- posted, I mean. I have been living with HIV for nearly 14 years without acknowledging to anyone but my doctor and my daughter that I am infected. But at the age of 62, in otherwise perfect health, I realize that perhaps I can bring encouragement to other women who are living with the disease in silence and fear. ... I haven't found a lot of support groups that cater to people like me, who work every day, who are not gay, who have never used injected drugs, but who was married to a man who led a secret bisexual life and gave me the disease."
Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!
To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an email address) -- click here to get started!
HIV/STD TRANSMISSION & EDUCATION
Mixed Findings Paint a Tricky Picture for HIV Serosorting and Similar Risk-Reduction Strategies
Instead of using a condom for anal sex, some HIV-negative men choose strategy: for instance, only have sex with people they think are negative, or make sure to always be the top. But as new research shows, these "seroadaptive" strategies aren't all they're cracked up to be. (On TheBodyPRO.com)
More HIV/STD Transmission & Education Headlines:
ON THEBODYPRO.COM: HIV CARE TODAY
What TheBody.com is to HIV-positive people, HIV-affected people, activists and the general public, TheBodyPRO.com is to HIV health care professionals. Here's a sampling of recent posts from TheBodyPRO.com's HIV Care Today blog.
Latest Guidelines Recommend HIV Treatment for All
"It's important to remember that what was widely considered a 'public health' benefit of ART seems to have personal benefits for most individuals as well. People prefer being less contagious to others."
Positive Living 15: Connecting Hearts and Minds
"As professionals, we must recognize that the spirit of our patients also needs to be nurtured, because it retains the hurt and shame and fear that accompanies HIV."
More Confusion on Anal Cancer Screening
"Not to beat a dead horse here, but the fact remains that just because we can screen for precancerous lesions, doesn't mean we should."