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Personal Stories

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Black woman vaccine

How One Black Woman Wrestles With Vaccine Hesitancy

What to do if you’re unsure about getting a COVID-19 vaccine? Go to reliable sources of health information, as Candis Y. McDow does here, inviting all to join in on her journey.

By Candis Y. McDow
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Dealing With a Lifetime of Body-Image Problems During the Coronavirus Pandemic

A Black gay man living with HIV, Monte J. Wolfe has strived to navigate body shaming his entire life. But since COVID-19 lockdowns began, his coping mechanisms have been strained to the limit.

By Monte J. Wolfe
Raif Derrazi

Bodybuilding and Fitness Helped Raif Derrazi Cope While Living with HIV

Like many people, bodybuilder Raif Derrazi is trying to find balance during the stress of COVID times. His balance just happens to include his social media presence and living with HIV.

By Katherine Abando
HariZiyad edit

Hari Ziyad’s Memoir ‘Black Boy Out of Time’ Is a Spiritual Look at Growing Up Black and Queer

What is the experience of growing up Black and queer in America? Hari Ziyad’s new book Black Boy Out of Time offers a story that is part memoir, part theory, part manifesto, and part prayer.

By Mathew Rodriguez
woman looking at prescription

I Had to Get Past the Stigma of Having HIV. Then I Had to Do the Same for Mental Illness

A Minnesota HIV activist recounts her epic tale of overcoming not one, but two, diseases that can destroy us if we don’t accept—and treat—them.

By Mariah Wilberg
SeanColeman diptych

Sean Coleman Made His Dream of Housing for NYC’s Trans/GNC Sex Workers Come True

Even amid COVID, the City Council–funded Bronx supportive residence is open for business—and reflects just the beginning of Coleman’s plans.

By Tim Murphy
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First PrEP, Now the COVID-19 Vaccine: Why I Faced Medical Mistrust Head On

Black communities have many reasons for mistrust of medical authorities. But getting vaccinated can help us get to a place where we can be together again, safely.

By Michael Chancley Jr., M.S.W.
Hebert Untitled from the Disembodies series 1 2020

I’m a COVID-19 Long-Hauler, HIV Activist, and Artist. Here’s How I Navigated 2020

“I don’t know what healthy looks like anymore,” says Pato Hebert. “I know what I thought it was. I have fantasies of what it could be.”

By Pato Hebert
I'm Still Surviving About

This Digital Exhibition Uses Oral Histories to Break the Silence for Women Living With HIV

I’m Still Surviving is a collaborative digital and print exhibition that launched in December 2020, featuring hundreds of excerpts documenting the stories of 39 women living with HIV in the U.S.

By Terri Wilder, M.S.W.
stately butt

I Got a Colonoscopy; If You're Over 50 and Living With HIV, Please Do It Too

A colonoscopy is gross, uncomfortable, and utterly uncool. But it could save your life.

By Charles Sanchez