Alexander Smith is a teacher, licensed clinical social worker, coach, writer, speaker, actor, and artist. Living with HIV since 2003, he was diagnosed on St. Patrick's Day, and views that "lucky" day as the moment he began to live. In June of 2011, he was featured on CNN, commemorating 30 years of HIV/AIDS. Coming Out with his status has shifted the isolation, stigma, discrimination, and judgement that has accompanied his journey with the virus. Through this courageous and necessary action, more love, support, friendship, health, and abundance has graced his life. He is the vision behind Bless Your Virus, a movement and conversation aimed to inform and inspire. Its mission is to: Deconstruct shame, stigma and secrets, spread compassion, courage, connection, kindness and kinship and teach others a mindfulness as they learn to bless their fear, disease, and virus. 4.Speak the C Word (cure).
Josh Kruger, a child of the nineties, grew up in a rural town in Pennsylvania. In 2002, he moved to Philadelphia where he attended the University of Pennsylvania studying political science and anthropology. For five years, he worked in community and LGBT non-profit development, fundraising, and marketing. Diagnosed as HIV positive in his late twenties, he left the non-profit industry and started Emapwerks, his company focusing on writing, editing, and marketing, in 2012.
On Sunday December 30th James Breinig shared his story for the first time on POZ I AM Radio. James Breinig lives in southern NJ. James is 29 years old and on November 2, 2010 He thought his life was over. He tested positive for HIV at the Washington West Project in Philadelphia. Not knowing a lot about the disease, He was convinced his life from that point on would be one of pain and suffering. A little over two years later his life has absolutely changed for the better! As time went on he felt that he really wanted to share his story. Not because it is Hollywood material but because it is very similar to a lot of other HIV positive individuals. His hope is that it will touch someone newly diagnosed or someone who has been living with it for years, who may be afraid to tell anyone, and to let them know they're going to be okay.
On Sunday December 16th Ken Warnock shared his story on the POZ I AM Radio Show. Ken Warnock served three years in the Navy prior to being discharged for being gay before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was even enacted. As a Navy Hospital corpsman, he was involved in the roll out of HIV testing of US military personnel in the mid-80's. After the Navy, Ken used his military training as a Surgical Technologist to gain employment upon his return home to Michigan. As a result of his experience with discrimination, he became an advocate for gay rights and became involved in a number of local organizations. When DADT was being discussed, Ken was a common local media presence.
On Sunday December 9th Jason Villalobos shared his story on the POZ I AM Radio Show. Jason Villalobos is an HIV/AIDS activist and national spokesperson for the Greater Than AIDS Campaign. Diagnosed with AIDS some 8 years ago, he has since dedicated his life to helping eradicate the shame and stigma associated with the disease.
On January 6th at 9pm EST Jason King shared his story and spoke about AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Jason King, a transplant from Los Angeles, California, lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his partner. He started working for AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in 2010 in the organization's pharmacy division where he discovered his passion for patient advocacy.
On Sunday, Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. EST, Philip and Justin B. Terry-Smith shared about the love they have for each other and what it is like to be parents.
On Sunday, Nov. 25th at 9 p.m., Kari Farmer-Coffman shared her story. Kari lives near Fort Smith, Arkansas. She is the mother of a beautiful daughter. Kari was diagnosed with HIV on Nov. 4, 2010 and two days later was diagnosed with AIDS. She was told to make plans for her daughter and her funeral. Kari was not ready to quit. Two years later, she is still fighting and making a difference in the community. She is now undetectable. She is a full time student, an advocate and activist, and most importantly a better mother! She knows that she has a voice for this cause and she uses it to the best of her abilities.
Last week, Kathleen Gerus-Darbison shared her story and all about the Stitches Doll Project on the POZ I AM Radio show.
Kathleen is currently an adjunct professor in sociology at Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, Michigan and Macomb Community College in Clinton Township, Michigan. She teaches intro classes as well in the sociology of sex roles, modern social problems, race and ethnicity and marriage and family.
On Sunday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. EST we spoke with activist Jeff Allen on the POZ I AM Radio Show. Jeff Allen tested positive in 1985. He was a drug addict using heroin and cocaine and was reckless in his behavior. Jeff was homeless and living in his car for more than two months. Jeff lived in Key West with his partner of 12 years where the HIV community was small and compact. When it came to the end of his partner's life, Jeff wanted to leave and go where he was not so well known. After his partner's passing Jeff moved to Deland, Fla. right outside the Daytona Beach area. He was very frail and weak, but needed a purpose in his life. This is when Jeff first started volunteering for HIV/AIDS organizations in 1995.