Justin's HIV Journal

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: U.S Congress & President Obama Repeal Don't Ask Do...



This video was taken when the Senate voted to repeal the, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy”. That was on Saturday. Today on 12/22/10 President Barack Obama fulfilled a campaign promise that he now repealed DADT.


Definition:

Don’t’ Ask Don’t Tell is the policy that restricts the United States military from efforts to discover or reveal closeted homosexual or bisexual servicemembers or applicants, while barring those who are openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual from military service.


Origin:

DADT was introduced by then President Bill Clinton in 1993. At the time in the Department of Defense Directive 1332.14 stated, “that homosexuality is incompatible with military service and persons who engaged in homosexual acts or stated that they are homosexual or bisexual were discharged”

The full name of the policy at the time was "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue." The "Don’t Ask" provision mandates that military or appointed officials will not ask about or require members to reveal their sexual orientation. The "Don’t Tell" states that a member may be discharged for claiming to be a homosexual or bisexual or making a statement indicating a tendency towards or intent to engage in homosexual activities. The "Don’t Pursue" establishes what is minimally required for an investigation to be initiated. A "Don’t Harass" provision was added to the policy later. It ensures that the military will not allow harassment or violence against service members for any reason.


My Opinion:

DADT was total bullshyt. I AM A GAY AIRFORCE VETERAN. I hated not being able to put a rainbow sticker on my car. I’m damn proud of who I was and am. When I was in the military several personnel knew I was gay, and guess what THEY DIDN’T GIVE A RATS @$$. BUT in basic training I was the target of harassment, sexual harassment. In basic training we all had our own beds and one of my jobs was to go past each bed and collect used hangers from each person. There was a particular group of young men that I would have to go past everyday. One of them shouted, “You got a lot of your mother in you, don’t you?” I didn’t know what that meant at all. They continued to snicker as I would walk by everyday. Then one day when I thought everyone left the barracks I had to be there alone cleaning up because I had missed drill, and as punishment I had to clean. Two men from the group previously mentioned came into the barracks and began to taunt me and grope me. I DID NOT LIKE IT. I couldn’t tell anyone about what happened because I was fearful about getting kicked out of the military. It went on for a week and I remained silent.

DADT is gone THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT and CONGRESS.

If I could go back in the military I would.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: Marriage is STILL an option



When I found out I was HIV positive I wasn’t thinking really about if I was going to ever get married. But just my luck, which was good, I did get married to the most beautiful man in my life, Dr Philip B Terry-Smith. This past summer Phil & I were approached by students at University of Maryland to take part in documentary. The documentary was about marriage and the different kinds of marriages and how they work. The documentary profiles four couples; one couple profiles a heterosexual man and bisexual man, and older couple, a couple which met through internet dating, and gay couple (us). The documentary shows that there are differences and similarities, but also shows that there shouldn’t be a “cookie cutter” of what marriage should be.

The couples in the documentary have a lot of differences like one couple is wise. They have an experience that none of the other couples have and that is time. They have seen things that none of us will see or have to see because they were raised in a different time. One of the other couples is a man and woman who have foster children and they have a lot of love. Their story was so interesting and you can see that they have a lot of love between them and their children. Another couple is a young couple that met on an online dating service. They are very different and seem to take life as it goes which seems to work for them just fine. Then there is my husband and I and well, I don’t know, take a look at the video and there you can see how we met and how we work.

On a traditional marriage in America you have a man and a woman, but in my opinion I don’t have a traditional marriage and I don’t have to and I don’t want one. The only people that define my marriage are me and my husband (the people that are in it). There are people in this world that constantly say that same-sex marriage is not right. They constantly use the Bible as their defense on why same-sex marriage is against god. But whose God are they talking about? They are certainly not talking about my God. My husband and I are not Christians and it seems to be okay with our Gods that we are married. We just want equal protections under the law that heterosexuals take for granted.

I ALSO want to state that just because you are HIV positive doesn’t mean you will never get married. Do not give up on love and it will not give up on you. Love will happen eventually sometimes it take 2 hours, 2 days, 2 months, 2 or 2 years. I’m very optimistic when it comes to love because it is and always will be the most powerful thing in the world. Love has started and stopped wars and so it is my belief that love will last forever even if only in one’s heart.

Well take a look at the documentary and I hope you all like it

Friday, December 10, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: HIV/AIDS Questions & Answers from George Mason Uni...

Justin's HIV Journal: HIV/AIDS Questions & Answers from George Mason U Students

Hello everyone

Another World AIDS Day has come and gone. This year was a little different for me. I was actually asked to speak at George Mason University about HIV/AIDS. I was soooo scared about speaking in front of them. I must admit it had been a long time since I had spoken at a college. So before I made my way to George Mason University I had many thoughts going through my head. I had hoped the students would like me and most of all listen to me. So in the car on the way there I had made notes, my husband said, “Don’t worry about it, you’re a natural. You will do fine”. Well I’m a skeptic on some things so I didn’t believe it.

I have always enjoyed speaking at schools. I had always told myself that I wouldn’t turn a school away unless it interfered with my 9-5 job. Speaking at George Mason University revitalized the energy that I needed to speak at colleges again.

One of the most rewarding things from speaking at George Mason was the students. Relating to them and their energy was an awesome feeling. I was only really supposed to speak for about 1 hour and I ended up speaking for about 2 hours. It was so amazing that I didn’t want to stop speaking to the students.
SO WITH THE STUDENTS MY FAVORITE PART WAS QUESTIONS & ANSWERS WE HAD A BALL IT WAS FUN AND INFORMATIVE CHECK IT OUT


Justin's HIV Journal World AIDS Day 2010 George Mason U Part I

Justin's HIV Journal World AIDS Day 2010 George Mason U Part I

Justin's HIV Journal World AIDS Day 2010 George Mason U Part II

Justin's HIV Journal World AIDS Day 2010 George Mason U Part II

Justin's HIV Journal World AIDS Day 2010 George Mason U Part III

Justin's HIV Journal World AIDS Day 2010 George Mason U Part III

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jusitn's HIV Journal: Justin Legally Changed His Name.



Hey Everyone, Well this is some lost footage I've found from the old condo that my husband and I used to live in. Before my husband and I were married we talked about what our last names would be. Eventually after about a week we decided to combine his last name with mine. So it came out "Terry-Smith". So after we were legally wed on August 7th 2009 we decided to go to the social security office, I went to the one in DC on my lunch break I was in line for about 45 minutes but eventually I got to the front of the line. I showed the person my marriage license from Massachusetts, she made a copy of it and I had to fill out a form. After that was all over I went back to work. A couple of weeks later I received some mail from the social security office. I didn't know it but it had a notice that my name had been legally changed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: Justin Rides A Motorcycle



When I found out that I was HIV positive I felt that my life was stopping. I didn't feel like it was over though. Now that my prospective on life has changed I feel that there are things in my life that I have always wanted to do, and riding a motorcycle is one of them.

When my husband and I were dating I was instantly attracted because I've always liked men on motorcycles. So I would go riding with him all the time, as his passenger. Then for two years he would nag me about taking the riders safety course and taking the test for my motorcycle license.

So then there came a point where I decided to strike a deal with him. I said, "Okay if I take this course and pass my test the first time around, you have to buy my a motorcycle?" He agreed.

Well I passed the first time around and the motorcycle will come to me next year. I know what I want and no it's not a Harley. lol I like cruisers.....no pun intended lol Check out the video I hope you enjoy it. HEY AT LEAST I DIDN'T FALL lol

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: You Are Not Alone




Today I decided to make a "You Are Not Alone" video because of the many suicides that are happening in the LGBTQ Youth. Many of these beautiful young people are committing suicide because of bullying in school.

I can emphasize with this. In middle school I tried to commit suicide because of pressures at school. I was called the f word a lot. I didn't want to tell anyone because I didn't know what would happen to me, I was so scared to go to school sometimes I faked sick just not to go. In middle school I was attacked several times. I was pushed into lockers, punched, slapped, stabbed with a pencil, and someone actually threw a coin at my head at full force that it actually made an indentation in my head. I lashed out at my parents at that time and I went from being an A/B student to a C average student. I knew I was different and the fact that people called me name because of my sexuality stayed with me for a long time.

But now I have a chance to do something, to help other that are going through the very same abuse from their bullies as I did. Let's help those who cannot help themselves.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: DC Mayoral Candidate Leo Alexander



Leo Alexander is one of the candidates for the DC Mayoral Election. A couple of weeks on August 11th Alexander made a statement at a Forum that he will push for HIV testing at the DMV, if most of you are not familiar it what some other people call a MVA. You know that place where you pick up your License. I wondered why someone would want a testing center at every DMV in DC. Then he made the most outrageous statement I’ve ever heard come from a candidate of any election. Alexander says he wants to push to have everyone who is a DC resident have their HIV status on the Driver’s License. I thought

ARE YOU CRAZY?


To me this is almost as bad as someone branding me with a red hot poker. This would be one of the most heinous acts done to HIV I’ve seen. This is appalling. I’m so glad he is not a heavy hitter in the race for DC’s Mayor. This would in violation of so many privacy/HIPPA laws it’s not even funny. Does he even know what HIPPA is? Also there is another think about Alexander. Two of my reliable sources approach Alexander about this statement at a picnic some days later. Alexander was asked about what he said at the Forum and he stands strong in his convictions. He also was asked what his campaign was proposing to do about hate crimes against the LGBT Community in DC. He said he wasn’t aware that hate crimes was a LGBT issue, he associated hate crimes with being only towards black people. I’m thinking where has this man been sleeping? UNDER A ROCK. Hate crimes is an issue for EVERYONE. White, Black, Gay etc. So I guess for Leo Alexander to report a hate crime for me, I’m going to have to get the words “Black F@ggot” spray painted on my car.

Leo Alexander for DC Mayor….what a joke.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: Capital Pride 2010 What does Pride Mean To You?



Pride vs. Activism

I know this is a long time coming and well Pride month is almost come and gone. Yes June is/was a big month for the DC/Baltimore area. Both of our prides are a week away from each other. It was great being on top of the DC Eagle float and it was also amazing being at my first Baltimore pride parade and being on the Mr. Maryland Leather 2010 float. I had so much fun.

But here is a question for you is going to pride a form of activism for you? In my opinion it is. Many years ago one could be arrested by hanging out in a gay venue. The police would raid the venue and arrest everyone in it. We protested such activities and had to show how proud we were to be ourselves, and to love it. Just about every major city has its own pride.

I wonder what people think when they are at their city’s pride. Do people think that pride is a party? Do they know the meaning of pride? Do they know the origins of pride? Or why we even have pride?

As I look around I see nothing but rainbow all around. I also see a lot of kissing, hugging and holding hands. Could this be pride? Being who you are in a safe place or is it activism, being who you are in the face of adversity. You decide.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: Whitman Walker Clinic Pepsi Refresh Project



Hello My name is Justin B Terry-Smith and I sit on the Board of Directors for the Whitman Walker Clinic. The Whitman Walker Clinic is the largest HIV/AIDS Clinic in the Washington DC area. It is the Clinic where I sometimes recieve treatment for my HIV since I've been diagnosed in 2006. VOTE for WHITMAN WALKER CLINIC... and we have a chance to get funding from the Pepsi Co. By voting you will not only help me but our community.


TO VOTE Click on this site below:


Overview

The need for this clinic in DC has never been greater. The nations capital has the highest rates of both HIV and STDs in the nation. The STD Clinic can find and treat people who are infected, protecting their health and the public health at the same time. The STD Clinic provides a safe space for people dealing with the stigma that continues to surround HIV & STDs.

Many people line up more than an hour before we open. Sadly, we have to turn away about 50 people per week because of capacity limitations. One reason for the popularity is that its free. While this is an expensive service, we believe that offering it for free encourages people to come get tested, especially those who may not be in regular medical care because they cant afford it. Despite the need, funding for the STD Clinic is falling. The city government has been forced to cut its funding for this vital service. Now, we need to find new sources of revenue to keep the Clinic functioning.
How will the 50K be Used?
Budget Notes: The true cost of running the clinic is $200,000 per year. The requested grant will not cover the remainder of facilities costs and staff salaries (including the nurse manager and quality, compliance, and finance personnel). Also, we are not asking for funding for outreach and educational materials.'

$ 35,000 Laboratory supplies for tests and treatments
$ 10,000 Offset the salary of the nurse manager
$ 5,000 Offset overhead costs for facility

Budget Notes: The true cost of running the clinic is $200,000 per year. The requested grant will not cover the remainder of facilities costs and staff salaries (including the nurse manager and quality, compliance, and finance personnel). Also, we are not asking for funding for outreach and educational materials.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: A New York Minute




I while ago I went to NY but I couldn’t get the video up because my files were corrupted but I found some more footage of my brief trip to New York. I was there hanging out with a good friend Damian who is Mr. New Jersey Leather 2010. Damian and I met last year when I was awarded the title of Mr. Maryland Leather 2010. We clicked and have been friends ever since then. So on the day I was suppose to leave to go to NY my friend who I was suppose to stay with had fallen ill and was in the hospital. I didn’t know what I was do. It was about 3 hours before I was suppose to leave from DC to go to NY and I had no place to stay. I texted Damian and asked if he could find me a place to stay. He said sure and thank god for the NJ Leather Family. They really helped me when I was in a pinch and I appreciate it or else I wouldn’t have made it to NY and I wouldn’t have met Ongina Ryan and the HIV + Me shot.


Damian decided to show me around the city and I had fun. We went to Christopher Street, The Leathermen Store, Chelsea, etc. I haven’t stayed in NY for a weekend in years. I was with my X-boyfriend the last time I went to NY and it gets better every time I go. I love the streets of NY and the people are so raw and real. I video taped anything I found interesting at the time I was there. I know I couldn’t seen more of NY but I didn’t have anytime and I’m so glad I got to spend it with Damian and his family.

One of the things I video taped was a wall. This wall was a little emotional for me because it was a 9/11 reflection wall. A lot of people put up little tablets of peoples names that were not found or were lost after the tragedy of the World Trade Centers falling. Damian explains it a lot better than I do.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: HIV + Me Shoot & Ms Ongina Ryan



First let me say I was so excited and happy to be picked to work on the HIV + Me Project. When I got the e-mail from the Logo Network I was so thrilled, then when I read on it said I would be working with none other than Ongina Ryan from RuPaul’s Drag Race I screamed and I melted. I arrived in NJ that Friday and was greeted by Mr. New Jersey Leather 2010 Damian Parra. He and his family helped me out that weekend, I was suppose to be staying in the Bronx of NY but the friend that I originally was suppose to stay with had to go to the ER, but is doing fine now. I do appreciate all the hospitality they showed me. I stayed in NJ for most of my trip, and I loved it. So decided that I wanted Damian to go with my to the HIV + Me shoot and also I figured he could show me around NY’s Christopher Street, Chelsea etc. We had a blast. I hadn’t been to NY’s gay district since back in 2004 with my ex. The sun was out and I was taking in the sights and sounds of New York.

If you have been with me from the beginning that you would seen a video I posted when Ongina Ryan was so courageous to open up about her HIV status on national television. If not it is right here.

Before I met her in person I was so scared I didn’t know what to expect. When I walked into the studio I met Adam Abernathy who I believe is the producer of HIV+Me, he thanked me for coming and I thanked him for the invite. He then said, “Justin this is Ongina, Ongina this is Justin”. Then who do I see, the beautiful and talented, Ongina Ryan, she said, “Ohh I know Justin, how are you?” I got a hug and kiss on the check. I was ecstatic. I said, “Hey I’m fine and you” She looked down at my leather pants and said, “Oh look at her trying to out do me with her pants”. We both laughed. She was such a joy to work. I hope I get to work with her again. She is amazing. The interview was awesome and I wanted to stay for longer. But I wanted to see more of the Village of NY.



My segment will premiere on the LOGO Network in May 2010. I can’t wait but to see others in the HIV + Me project, Click Here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: Acupunture



There are a lot of things we as HIV positive people have to look out for. But one of our main enemies is Stress. You can take all the medication you want, eat all the good food that nourishes your body, and have all the protected sex anyone can have BUT when your stressed out all of it goes out the window.

Please deal with stress different ways, some of us have a nice glass of wine, other might exercise, but I keep myself busy with duties and project that work to better our community whether it’s leather, gay, straight, black of white; it doesn’t matter to me.

But sometimes my husband says I do too much and I stretch myself to much. This is true and that my friend, can be stressful as well.

In November 2009 I was awarded the Mr. Maryland Leather 2010 title so now I will go onto compete in May for the IML International Mr. Leather title, in Chicago on Memorial Day Weekend. I have to learn my judges, leather history and traditions, and I have to be on point with my answers. Being Mr. Maryland Leather 2010 comes with responsibilities as well. I have to make appearances and have been asked to judge contest too.

In my spare time I write for Baltimore’s Gay Life Newspaper, GBMNews.com, the body.com, The Black AIDS Institute, and Justin’s HIV Journal. I will also start writing for another publication as well.

I’m married as most of you know so taking care of him means a lot to me. We are trying to settle on a piece of land in Laurel and building our single family home from the ground up. That is stressful too

I just got a promotion at work too which means more responsibility there as well and since my employer is the IRS there is something we like to call, “TAX SEASON”. Need I say more?

I also got a call from Hollywood to work on a special project but I cannot say anything at the moment all I can say is that there will be an announcement about the project next month.

All these things that are going on in my life are time consuming and can be stressful. If you lead a busy life like mine my advice to you is take it one step at a time. Relax and don’t sweat the small stuff. If you do if will not be good for your body or anyone else around you. Acupuncture is a great way to go as well or find an activity that relaxes your mind, body and spirit

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: HIV & Cholesterol



People who take certain HIV medications often get high cholesterol as a side effect of the drugs. Recently my doctor told me that I have high cholesterol. But is it a result of my drug regimen? I had been taking Reyataz, Norvir and Truvada, all of which have high cholesterol as a possible adverse effect. It could be my genes or my lifestyle--or even a combination. I may never really know. But since high cholesterol increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, it's time for me to make some changes.

Here Comes Trouble
My average cholesterol is 234.1; the average of my doctor's patients is 185. My LDL, or "bad cholesterol," is 143.1, which is borderline high. My HDL, or "good" cholesterol, is 52, which is good. (To learn more about cholesterol levels, go here.) My triglycerides were also high.

High cholesterol runs in my family. For years I have known that my dad has it. Over the holidays I learned that my mother does too. This double shot of high cholesterol means that I really have to be careful, especially since being male and of African American descent may increase my risk of heart disease also. Fortunately I don't smoke.

Living for the Weekend
Rather than immediately change my meds, which is complicated, my doctor decided that we'd first approach the problem by making lifestyle changes. There are two areas that I can take charge of on my own: eating and exercise.

First I had to slow my cholesterol intake. Now that I'm 30, my body doesn't process foods at the same speed that it did when I was 19. This meant that I had to examine my food choices. During the week, my diet was relatively healthy. Here was my diet on a typical day:

Breakfast: Ensure nutritional supplement
Snack: ravoli
Lunch: Quiznos sandwich, but sometimes McDonald's, pizza or buffalo wings
Snack: banana
Dinner: pasta, red meat or fish with rice, and wine, preferably red

But the weekend was a whole different story: I love a good steak-and-eggs breakfast; I also eat a lot. Here is an example of a typical weekend day:

Breakfast: pork bacon, ham, pancakes, biscuits, hash browns and maybe some grits (I also smothered foods with butter)
Lunch: chips, pickles and soda
Dinner: pizza, chicken wings with ranch sauce, or a steak with mashed potatoes

Many of these foods are high in cholesterol (go here to learn more about foods to eat and foods to avoid). I also used a lot of condiments that were high in cholesterol. And I didn't work out much.

Yet my waist is still a size 28--okay, 29--so until my doctor said something, I thought everything was okay.

But I realized that I had to improve my eating habits, particularly on the weekend, and head to the gym. Given the choice between big steaks and a healthy life, to me the choice is clear.

A Change of Plans
So I've changed my eating habits. On a typical weekday I now eat:

Breakfast: banana and a cinnamon-raisin bagel
Snack: orange juice, an apple, water
Lunch: club sandwich without bacon, iced green tea
Snack: crackers
Dinner: baked fish, greens, rice and wine, preferably red

And on weekends I now eat:

Breakfast: pancakes, muffin with honey, turkey bacon
Lunch: tuna fish sandwich with mayonnaise
Dinner: catfish, rice, couscous and wine

I also take one multivitamin, fish oil to protect against heart disease, and vitamin D because my doctor has noticed in some of his patients who take it that their T-cell, or CD4, counts have gone up. This is on top of the three HIV meds (six pills) I take every day.

And I've started hitting the gym three times a week to lift free weights. On my off days, I try to run at least one mile.

Just because people look fit on the outside doesn't mean they're fit on the inside. And I may only be 30, with a 29 waist, but I have more than just HIV to worry about

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal: NEW INTRO




I decided to try to spice my intro up. My cousin Muhammed Shahid-El of MoBetta Music let me borrow this song called A New Day by Margeaux-The Essence of Soul. His websites are www.reverbnation.com/musicloungeentertainment & www.soundclick.com/musicloungeentertainment. Let me know what you think..

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Justin's HIV Journal 25 Years of DC Heroes in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS at the DC Center

Justin's HIV Journal Lost Pre-Christmas Footage





This is hilarious. I made a video and didnt even remember making it. This was too funny. I think with all the excitement of the holidays and my birthday I forgot all about it. Plus my life has been busy one, thing after another. I dont know why Im publishing this video I was thinking that I should have thrown it away. But then I saw how happy I was to be with my husband and thinking of what good friends and family I have I had to publish it.

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