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Sherri Beachfront Lewis


In Defense of Louise Hay
November 14, 2017

In New York City in the spring of 1987, at the age of 33, I was shell-shocked after being told by a doctor over the telephone that I was HIV positive. As was my habit, I went to my regular 12-step meeting and shared my devastating news with the group. Many have since told me that to do so was brave. It wasn't. I was desperate. I needed help. I wanted to live. I was told that there would be no viable treatment in my lifetime. I felt as if I'd been handed a death sentence and was desperate to find anything to save my life.

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My HIV Diagnosis Became My Opportunity to Say 'Yes' to HIV Activism
July 25, 2017

I left New York in 1987, three weeks after my diagnosis. I had just gotten married, and my husband and his son lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, so it was part of the plan. That was about the only thing that went as planned. As a newlywed and now stepmother who was newly diagnosed, I just wanted to relish the time I had left to experience being a wife and a mother. My career as an entertainer seemed impossible now. But, in front of me was a gangly, pimply-faced, six-foot-four teenage boy with a scar causing his eyelid to droop, which made him look even sadder than he was. Since his mother had left him as an infant to be raised by his father, he was waiting for a mother and there I was. Though the terror and trauma of suddenly being handed a death sentence, I often wanted to jump out of my husband's moving car as we drove across the Longfellow Bridge. He would reach across my chest, like my mother used to when I was a child before seat belts, to keep me inside and safe. I kept going to my recovery meetings, hoping to stay alive long enough to see my stepson graduate high school.

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The First Generation to Age With HIV: Taking a Look at Long-Term Survival
June 23, 2016

June 5 marked 35 years since AIDS was first identified in 1981. It is now HIV Long- Term Survivors Awareness Day. A long time ago, I tried to think positive about living positive by putting my headphones on, listening to Louise Hay and her soothing v …

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What Is HIV Stigma?
March 26, 2016

What is stigma?

Is it when your daughter dies of AIDS but you don't want to talk about it and her obituary says she died of a rare cancer?

Is it when President Reagan won't say the word AIDS in public, letting thousands die?

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I Am
December 24, 2015

It's always a bittersweet time of year with its mash up of war and politics, terrorism -- the new virus that threatens our lives ever changing its madness. Holiday shopping and memories of those here, those lost and new life being born. So we celebrate. Life comes first.

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Being Alive
November 24, 2015

What a dramatic year-end 2015 has been!

On the homestretch, we have actor Charlie Sheen's disclosing his HIV status and bringing HIV back into the news along with all the needed controversy about stigma causing activists to raise their voices loud once again and educate the public.

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Stories I Lived to Tell
December 8, 2013

World AIDS Day 2013! I'm still here, blessed with perfect health. A miracle.

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Reclaiming My Life, Beyond HIV -- and Finding the MAGIC!
November 18, 2013

It's been a long time since I've blogged for my inner DIVA on behalf of HIV. I took a much-needed break from almost all things HIV for more than a year, with a few rare exceptions. In doing this I freed myself up, relieved my own stigma from living a life that was focused primarily on HIV.

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Imagine, Visualize, Act
November 30, 2011

In 1983 I crawled into detox off the streets of New York. AIDS was not in my consciousness or that of any of the doctors that were treating me. They tested my liver and found I had non-A non-B hepatitis. I was devastated.

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Walk, Talk and KLEAN
October 25, 2011

On October 16, AIDS Walk LA is packing the streets with walkers! Like so many AIDS Walks throughout cities in the United States, it's always a reminder and a statement of an epidemic that is still here. Wouldn't we all like to hang up our sneakers already?

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Sherri Beachfront Lewis was diagnosed HIV positive in 1987 after a routine blood test for her marriage license. She was one of the first women to be diagnosed with HIV in the United States and still be alive and well. In the past 20-plus years, Sherri has worked with and coordinated numerous HIV/AIDS research and advocacy efforts. She's been a columnist for Arts & Understanding Magazine, a national HIV/AIDS publication, highlighting the stories of women living with HIV/AIDS. She has graced the cover of POZ Magazine and been featured in the Washington Post. Sherri has performed with Sheryl Lee Ralph and Patti La Belle at DIVAS Simply Singing, and with Broadway CARES/Equity Fights AIDS in her hometown of New York City.

Sherri recently reclaimed her entertainer's identity as Sherri Beachfront, an 80s pop diva, as the host of Straight Girl in a Queer World -- a series of 60 podcasts for Here! Networks in which she interviewed a wide range of fascinating guests between 2007 and 2008. Download and listen to Sherri's podcasts!

Become friends with "Straight Girl in a Queer World" on Facebook!

Speaking engagements: Sherri Beachfront Lewis is available to speak to groups. Contact Sherri about speaking at your organization or event!

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Interviews With Sherri:

Former Pop Star Sherri Lewis Talks About Living With HIV (October 2009)

This Month in HIV: Tips and Tricks for Coping With HIV/AIDS (November/
December 2007)

Washington Post Profiles HIV/AIDS Advocate, Singer Sherri Lewis (December 23, 2008)

A Brief Disclaimer:

The opinions expressed by's bloggers are entirely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of itself.