Mark S. King
My Fabulous Disease
When People With HIV Became Suicide Bombers
April 2, 2014
Maybe we should blame the criminal prosecutions of people with HIV on the mythical legend of Gaetan Dugas, also known by his slanderous nickname, Patient Zero. Dugas was a gay flight attendant from Canada who, according to Randy Shilts' 1987 book And the Band Played On, was among the first people with HIV in the United States.
Will HIV Ever Be Safe Enough for You?
March 11, 2014
There is a classic episode of Oprah from 1987 that can still raise my blood pressure. That year, the tiny town of Williamson, West Virginia, became part of a national discussion about AIDS when Mike Sisco, who had returned to his home town to die of the disease, dared to step into a public pool.
Our Problem With Being "CURED" of HIV
February 28, 2014
In the late 1980s, I let this odd, fussy man into my office at LA Shanti, my first AIDS agency job. He seemed earnest and harmless and he just wanted a few minutes of my time. "I have the cure for AIDS," he politely announced. Sadly, he wasn't the first person to say that to me, but we practiced more suspension of disbelief during that wretched decade so making such a statement wasn't immediate cause for removal from my office.
The Sound and Fury of the HIV Prevention Pill Debate (and the Facts to Win It)
January 27, 2014
When the drug Truvada achieved FDA approval in July of 2012 as a medication to prevent HIV infection among people who are negative (a strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP), it's as if the ghosts of naysayers from the 1960s rose from their resting places, delighted and re-energized, and began drilling their mid-century objections into the hearts and minds of contemporary society.
HIV Treatment Activist Nelson Vergel Faces Down Cancer
January 9, 2014
"You are probably wondering why I have been so quiet the last few weeks ..." the message began. Vergel, a trained chemical engineer who devoted himself to HIV treatment advocacy after testing positive in 1985, had a troubling explanation for his online absence. A diagnosis of cancer.
Erasing Gay Men From AIDS History
December 17, 2013
Kenneth Cole's appearance on Chelsea Lately last week was meant to promote the documentary he produced about the history of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (The Battle of amfAR). Instead, the shoe designer insulted gay activists everywhere.
Honoring Our AIDS History -- Without Punishing Younger Gay Men
November 23, 2013
Lesley was my closest friend to become sick in the 1980s, and he fought bravely until his death from AIDS. Today, World AIDS Day is an opportunity to remember Lesley and honor his struggle -- although I call up memories of Lesley, my first friend lost to the epidemic, nearly every day.
Support on the High Seas: Aboard the 2013 HIV Cruise Retreat
November 12, 2013
Another year, another magical Caribbean adventure with a happy community of people living with HIV and our loved ones. It could only be the annual HIV Cruise Retreat, also known as "the Poz Cruise."
A New, True Film of AIDS in the 1980s: Dallas Buyers Club
October 22, 2013
In the first minutes of Dallas Buyers Club, the astounding new film about the darkest years of the AIDS crisis, rodeo cowboy Ron Woodroof (a gaunt and barely recognizable Matthew McConaughey) is punched in the face. He has it coming. The self-serving crook has a lot of enemies.
Two Minutes of Advice on Testing HIV Positive
September 29, 2013
This is a clever social media campaign: Healthline, an online health community, has asked people who have been living with HIV to create videos for those who have recently tested positive, known as "You've Got This." Think of it as "It Gets Better" for those with HIV.
My Fabulous Disease
Mark S. King has been an active AIDS activist, writer and community organization leader since the early 1980s in Los Angeles. He has been an outspoken advocate for prevention education and for issues important to those living with HIV.
Diagnosed in 1985, Mark has held positions with the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, AID Atlanta and AIDS Survival Project, and is an award-winning writer. He continues his volunteer work as an AIDS educator and speaker for conferences and events.
Speaking engagements: Mark King is available to speak to groups. Contact Mark about speaking at your organization or event!
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June 20, 2017 - Finally! The Sexy Gay PrEP Video We've Been Waiting For. A Blog Entry by Mark S. King
June 13, 2017 - Those Offended by #NoJusticeNoPride Should Learn LGBT History: A Blog Entry by Mark S. King
June 2, 2017 - The True Love Story Behind Larry Kramer's Novel Faggots: A Blog Entry by Mark S. King
May 23, 2017 - AIDS, Love and Desperation at the Louise Hay Ride
May 2, 2017 - A Second Chance at Death: A Blog Entry by Mark S. King
Interviews With Mark:
Mark King Looks Back at the AIDS Epidemic's Darkest Hour in the U.S. (May 14, 2008)
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