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Aaron Laxton

My HIV Journey

How Jimmy Kimmel's Story About His Son Relates to HIV Health Care
May 3, 2017

This week Jimmy Kimmel announced on his show Jimmy Kimmel Live regarding the birth of his newborn son and a rare heart condition that would ultimately require his son, Billy Kimmel, to have open-heart surgery. If you were like me, you found yourself being drawn into his story and wanting the best for Jimmy, his son and the entire family. Huge shout out to Jimmy for sharing this painful and scary moment; thank you for sharing this piece of your life with us. As of right now, more than 4.5 million people have viewed this heartfelt message on YouTube. Jimmy uses his story to highlight the brokenness of our healthcare system. This, however, is not a new fact. In the video, Jimmy jokes, "First they check your wallet and then they check your pulse."

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My HIV/AIDS Activism Includes Fighting for Racial Justice
July 8, 2016

The ding on Facebook alerted me to a new reply to a post I had put up hours before, responding to the news that two more men of color had been assassinated at the hands of police in two different U.S. cities, hours apart. It feels as if the details don't even matter, since in the end an investigation will reveal that the police were completely justified in their use of deadly force. Below is the comment that the person chose write:

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This is More Than the Orlando Shooting
June 13, 2016

Today, I feel sad. I feel blah and numb. Today, I question all of the strides which we have moved us forward. As an older LGBT community member, I remember a time when it was not okay to be gay. It wasn't acceptable to hold hands or kiss in public. I also remember outing myself under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in order to stand up with other soldiers who were being discharged from the military simply for being gay.

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8 Ways to Fight Poverty to End HIV
April 8, 2016

If we are serious about ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic, then it is time that we look at the whole picture. Each of us are the sum of everything that makes us who we are. HIV is merely one tiny piece of the lives that consumers have to deal with. For some it is a tiny piece, while for others it is a gigantic piece that is all-consuming. While we are focusing on prevention strategies, we must also turn our eyes towards the whole person -- and this should include more education and robust strategies to end poverty, not only for those of us living with HIV/AIDS, but also for those at risk of acquiring HIV.

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Panic Over HIV Infection While on PrEP Is Not Necessary
February 26, 2016

Social media has been abuzz today, with people sharing the news that a gay man who was taking Truvada as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) has contracted a drug-resistant strain of HIV. I can only imagine that this is the news that Michael Weinstein has been wringing his troll-ish hands in gleeful anticipation since 2012. There is only one small problem that people are failing to recognize -- this is not surprising.

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Considering Gender When Exploring HIV-Trauma Therapy Interventions
January 21, 2016

Living with HIV can be traumatic on multiple levels. For each person it can be extremely different and the treatments must be adapted to each situation and case.

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Falling Short: Where Charlie Sheen's Interview With Dr. Oz Didn't Hit the Mark
January 13, 2016

This week Charlie Sheen sat down with everyone's favorite television physician, Dr. Oz. As Charlie spoke with Dr. Oz, I jotted down notes. I found as the interview progressed there was a recurrent theme: "Charlie is sharing his truth however that truth is not everyone's truth."

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Charlie Sheen's Disclosure Brings Exploitation of HIV-Positive People to Light
November 18, 2015

Right now is the moment for the light to shine on thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS who have been killed, bullied, tortured and more, simply for being HIV-positive.

Charlie Sheen, an A-list celebrity, was bullied into disclosing his status.

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Charlie Sheen Has the Right to Privacy
November 16, 2015

Today the media and tabloids are circling around Charlie Sheen reporting that they are going to disclose information about his health. It is my belief that every person has the right to privacy when it comes to their own health information, HIV or otherwise.

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An Open Letter to Danny Pintauro
October 7, 2015

I am going to share with you a lesson which I had to learn the hard way. When in the public eye, whether by choice or circumstance, be mindful of your actions and statements because you can easily derail the work of others before you.

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My HIV Journey

Aaron Laxton

Aaron Laxton

I am simply a guy who on June 6, 2011, received the news that over 33 million people have received: I am HIV positive. I decided in that split moment to record the journey that I was embarking on so that I might help others as they receive that news.

I am not a doctor and I do not endorse any agenda other than simply living a healthy life. I am an activist and advocate and simply want to make the world a better place. I hold a degree in sociology and psychology. I am a product of the Missouri Foster System and this is one of my main passions, second only to the work I do with HIV/AIDS outreach and prevention.

I embrace a sex-positive model. People are going to have sex; it is a natural part of who we are. However we need to make sure that it is safe. I can be found on weekends throughout St. Louis, Missouri, passing out condoms and safe-sex kits.

I am now an M.S.W. student at Saint Louis University's College of Public Health and Social Justice and the School of Social Work.

Whether in St. Louis, D.C. or around the nation, I always jump at the chance to help change not only policies to better serve those that need help but to also change the landscape of the society that we live in.

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