November 29, 2016
I was asked to speak on World AIDS Day about the history of the AIDS activist movement, but my thoughts kept turning to something more contemporary -- that is, the current state of affairs regarding HIV stigma.
October 28, 2016
Every year come the reports about efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin), downwind from a time I will never forget. They are reminders of something I have known for over a decade: Side effects from this drug can include suicide, with clearly elevated rates in those who have concurrent mental illness or who use street drugs.
September 20, 2016
Luis López-Detrés is gone. Long Live Luis! If you're reading this and you're a family member, you may want to stop here. When a conversation turns to HIV, for gay men it generally turns to sex -- and that's what's about to happen here.
August 1, 2016
I have a friend who receives a hefty check every month for not going to work. Back in the 1990s when he found out he was HIV positive, he cashed in on an income insurance policy. Now, as long as he stays unemployed, he receives six figures every year. For many of us that would be a blessing, but I wonder -- can it also be a bit of a curse?
June 5, 2016
Every year on June 5, we remember those who died, and we celebrate those who are still living with HIV/AIDS. We call ourselves Long-Term Survivors. It is hard to translate this feeling in real time, with so much else going on in the world. To many, it feels like HIV/AIDS is over, but we know otherwise. We know that people are still getting HIV, and many are showing up in clinics and hospitals all across the world with full blown AIDS. We know it's not over, whether the world has moved on or moved over us, we are still here, and we are here for the duration.
March 8, 2016
There are deaths that compel us, deaths that trip us up, deaths that defy our conventions, and deaths that bring out the worst in us -- for me, Nancy Reagan's death is all of this. It sets off a gong if you are of a certain age. It should set off a gong in all of us -- even if you never lived through the eighties.
October 30, 2015
I work on a dairy farm. Now this may not seem the most ideal place to be if you're HIV positive. There's a lot of dirt, shit, danger, and stigma here-just like everywhere else I suppose -- but out here in rural Pennsylvania they don't know from HIV's limitations. What we know from is hard labor. You either gets up and do it, or stays at home and wish you had.
April 6, 2015
Someone dropped an oil lantern on Indiana -- kerosene runs from corner to corner -- trailed by a blue flame -- and you just sat down to lunch. That's how bad it is when the world should've moved quicker to avert disaster, but didn't. A duster moved southbound across the feed-corn pasture like a gray ratsnake. It just mauled a church. This is what Christians in Indiana must think of me -- their business owners and their flock -- they turned their backs and crawled into storm shelters to avoid me. What's going on with Indiana? Drug abuse, LGBTQ discrimination, HIV outbreak -- to name but a few things on the slate -- Indiana is now ground zero on a list of places people might choose to avoid.
November 29, 2014
One day the shame train arrived at the gates and out rolled another set of beats. In this particular crowd was a brick shit-house named Leo. He was six-five, layered in tats, and Cuban -- in other words fucking gorgeous. Vics arrived in their orange prison garb, some came in chains, and it was my job to take them downstairs to the lockers and get them "new-used" clothes.
October 28, 2014
Here is a story for you. In the spring of 2012, he walked the Appalachian Trail. He got on a train in Penn Station, took it to the last stop then started walking. My friend didn't bring a coat. He didn't bring any money, or food or buy a return ticket. This was going to be it -- the end, that final disappointment, as Peggy Lee would bemoan.