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My Fabulous Disease

Dab Garner's 30-Year Story of Survival

A Video Blog

By Mark S. King

June 17, 2011

Storytelling is a crucial part of our culture, and not simply for entertainment value. Sharing our stories can heal our pain, educate others, and help us relive our happiest triumphs.

This video is quite simple, really. One man explains to you what happened to him, from becoming one of the first AIDS patients in San Francisco to his life today in the service of others with HIV. Dab Garner has clearly put things into perspective, and his calm manner shows a man at peace with his fate, his survival, and the ghosts around him.

Episode 33: Dab Garner's 30-Year Story of Survival

It's an amazing story, actually. And considering the importance of passing our history down to younger people, it might not be a bad idea to share this video with someone you know, maybe even someone under 35 years old.

But for now, let's let Dab Garner simply speak for himself.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.


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See Also
20 Years of Magic: How One Man's HIV Disclosure Inspired Others
More on the 30th Anniversary of AIDS

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Geno Pensanti (Vancouver. Washington) Sun., Jun. 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm UTC
In 1981 I joined a group of men volunteering time and service to a new disease called GRIDS, that later turned into APLA. I stayed with them until 1985, when I moved to San Diego because of burn out. I met the love of my life who died of AIDS 5 years later. In 1991 I became an "end stage care giver", because there didn't seem to be a group that cared for and stayed with the dying. I have been with over a dozen men at the time of their death. I found out I was POZ myself in 1985, when I moved to get away from the disease. There is much more to this story, but it is the same story of us all. I survived. I am now a "lone" survivor out of all of my former friends. I now live in the northwest fairly isolated from a condition far more isolating than HIV, called "old age". Our community seems to fear old age far more than the now fear AIDS. That being said; this is one of the best parts of my life and I am living a life better than anything I could have imagined. OH, did I neglect to tell you......I am now 76 years old, and could not be more at peace with life than I am at this moment. Geno
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Comment by: Gary H. (Jacksonville, FL) Fri., Jun. 24, 2011 at 8:06 pm UTC
Dab you never fail to make me cry...I know how amazing you are and what you do not only for our community but planet as well. You are selfless, never ending, restless, motivated by your heart and your genuine compassion, strength and determination to get it "ALL" done just astounds me to no end. He is at 24/7, I kid everyone NOT. He WILL NOT Stop even at times to his own detriment.

You know how much I care, love and admire you. You saved me from myself 7 years ago and I can never thank you enough for that. This man is AMAZING and I wish others in our community would take just 1/100th of a percent of what he has and does and would help this man as he is only one man, but a brave, kind, loving, AMAZING Man. I ask you for the gazillionith time; Please take some time to get a little bit of rest.
(pass this acronym along. Dab and I started this between us and everyone we know uses it. BBH Stands for "Big Bear Hug"!) Just more positive, loving energy coming from this man.
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Comment by: Michael (Jacksonville, FL) Wed., Jun. 22, 2011 at 6:53 am UTC
This is an awesome video. I really appreciate you sharing your entire story Dab. I know you indirectly and never appreciated the entire efforts that you have done for those with HIV/AIDS. I lost my brother to AIDS in 1991 and it was the most difficult loss I have ever faced. He was my best friend! At that time there was little hope for those infected. I also found out that I am HIV+ the same year and through new drugs the support of local organizations I still survive 20 years later. Thank You for all that you do!
Keep up the great work!

Big Bear Hugs to you!
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Comment by: sunnie (Los Angeles, CA) Wed., Jun. 22, 2011 at 12:25 am UTC
Heartwarming and so reminiscent of my experiences with friends... then and now. Dab thank you so much for telling your story and thanks to for creating a wonderfully edited story.
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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.

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