Matt Ebert is an American writer who lives and works on a dairy farm in Sheshequin, Pennsylvania. In 1987, at the age of 22, he joined the AIDS activist group ACT UP, and has remained committed to a cure for AIDS ever since.
He pursued a film career, and worked on many groundbreaking gay films including: My Own Private Idaho, Longtime Companion and Parting Glances. In 1995, at 29, he tested positive, and received an AIDS diagnosis later that year. Gratefully, this was right before the deployment of triple combination therapy, which saved his life. That same year, he left film for a career in technology, and pursued jobs at Microsoft, Dell and finally Apple.
In 2013 he left all that behind, and at age 48, changed everything up and started writing short prose, essays, and is currently working on pulp fiction novels in the genres of crime and science fiction. He hopes to publish his first book in the next year.
Categories Covered:Legal Issues, Living Well With HIV, Substance Use and Harm Reduction for HIV, Gay Men, HIV Treatment and Medical Care, Mental Health, Sustiva (Efavirenz, Stocrin), HIV Advocates in the Spotlight, Financial Issues, People Over 50, HIV-Related Policy Issues, HIV in Film, TV, and Media, Other Populations, HIV Stigma and Discrimination, History of HIV/AIDS, HIV Prevention and Transmission, HIV in the Trump Era
"If I am not compassionate for the man who is afraid of HIV, how can I expect compassion myself?" Matt Ebert writes.
Reports on higher rates of suicide or self-harm in people with HIV on efavirenz -- particularly among those diagnosed with mental health conditions -- don't surprise Matt Ebert, who says he lived through it, but barely.
As he remembers Luis López-Detrés, a dedicated HIV activist who died on September 9, Matt Ebert is moved to speak openly of the "emotional truth" of gay men, sex and HIV risk.
Matt Ebert says that work has its own rewards for people with HIV. From community building to self-sufficiency, work can be a teacher and a healer, he says, and HIV shouldn't keep you from a career or a passion.
"By incentivizing participants with resources, skills training and cash 'bonuses,' the Ticket to Work (TTW) program helps you achieve employment and education goals," Matt Ebert writes.
"We know it's not over, whether the world has moved on or moved over us, we are still here, and we are here for the duration," Matt Ebert writes for HIV Long-Term Survivor Awareness Day.
Who will make the grade and get Matt Ebert's endorsement for the HIV/AIDS policy most likely to succeed during the next presidential administration? And who is sure to fail?
"Porn is one industry in which zero HIV transmission is a reasonable goal," Ebert writes, but says that producers have excuses for failed safety standards -- including AHF head Weinstein's push for condom mandates.
"Seeing a picture of the Reagans in 2016, I am reminded what a terrible time that was for so many of us," Ebert writes. " Nancy Reagan, in her blood red dresses, was the embodiment of a new ruling class of conservative thought."