Sherri Lewis had the time of her life in the 1980s. As Sherri "Beachfront," she was in a popular band called Get Wet, and had a cool bisexual boyfriend. Then, in 1987, she decided to settle down and get married. One of the things that she did before her wedding was get tested for HIV. A friend had died of AIDS and, although she had no reason to think she was positive, she thought it would be great to start her new marriage with a clean slate. Plus, she was looking forward to starting a family.
To her astonishment, her HIV test came back positive. The diagnosis changed everything. Back then, if someone tested positive for HIV, "it was a death sentence," she says. Despite her fears that her fiancé would leave her at the altar, the marriage went on as planned. "We were told we couldn't kiss, that saliva had HIV in it. I remember telling my husband under my wedding veil, 'Don't kiss me.'" No surprise that the marriage didn't last. "I felt like he made a very bad deal. He signed up for a happy life, with children. All of a sudden, he wasn't going to have children, and I was going to be a dependency, instead of flourish in a career. When he met me I had an agent. I had just landed a runner up for an off-Broadway show. And everything fell apart."
After that, she did pre- and post-HIV-test counseling and facilitated a support group and individual counseling. For the tenth anniversary of her diagnosis -- and in a happy new relationship -- Sherri wrote and performed a one-woman show in Boston.
These days she is writing a book about her early years in the music business, as well as her experiences with HIV/AIDS, medications, aging and being a long-term survivor. She speaks publicly and writes a magazine column focused on women and AIDS. In addition, she's active in a synagogue in southern California, where, she says, she feels "the power of prayer in the community of my religion. ... I didn't give up before the miracle, and the miracle showed up. My health is my miracle."
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Sherri Lewis reports that she has no significant relationships to disclose.