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U.S. News

New York: A Night Out With the HIV-Positive

May 17, 2010

About 30 people gathered one recent Thursday evening at the Vlada gay bar in Hell's Kitchen for POZ, a party for HIV-positive men and their friends. Event producer and promoter Jacob Pring created the free weekly gathering to enhance the men's social life and dating prospects. Pring brought the concept from Washington, where he has hosted regular parties for HIV-positive gay men since November.

POZ -- which is not affiliated with POZ Magazine or its Web site -- advertises itself as offering a "comfortable, affirming environment with lots of very friendly guys."

"Being HIV-positive, people are scared to go out," said Pring, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2003. "They're depressed: Every time they meet somebody and tell them they're HIV-positive, it's a big hoopla."


"I'm an attractive guy, confident and cocky," Pring said. "But I meet the perfect boy, have a great night out and tell him, and he's like, 'Sorry, I can't handle it. Have a nice life.' That's happened to me like 20 times over the last seven years. It's taxing."

"I don't deal with guys who are HIV-negative," said Tad Barnes, a film producer. Barnes thus avoids the "huge amount of fear, stigma and ignorance" involved with disclosing his serostatus, he said. "It's hard enough to find HIV-positive guys in a bar. It's not like everybody has a little red plus-sign on their foreheads."

Several attendees said the POZ gathering is further evidence that people with HIV are capable of dating and being open about their status.

In addition to New York and Washington, POZ regularly hosts a party in Philadelphia and plans soon to expand to Chicago. For more information, visit

Back to other news for May 2010

Adapted from:
New York Times
05.06.2010; Erik Piepenburg

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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