Monday, December 21, 2015
One of my favorite places as of right now is Puerto Rico. I was there because I am currently in school for my Doctorate in Public Health at Walden University. I had a choice between Puerto Rico or Tampa. Of course I choose Puerto Rico. I took my husband Philip and left the kids at home. We need some time for a vacation. Honestly when I was diagnosed with HIV I didn’t expect to live this long or be in school for a Doctoral degree and I have one more year left. My husband has really been my rock and inspiration.
We stayed in a cute hotel named the Coral Princess, not far from the Beach in Condado (Santurce). Condado (Santurce) is a great place. It has the population of a little over 6,000 and has a big gay community It was just an amazing beautiful area. We also went Boquerón, Cabo Rojo which was amazing. Boquerón is a beach village located in the city of Cabo Rojo. The village is one of the main tourist attractions in the southwestern part of the island, which has an awesome gay community. The population there is about 5,000. We saw the salt beaches there and walked along the beach. We then went to Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Viejo San Juan or Old San Juan it was so festive and beautiful. One of my favorite places was El Yunque National Forest. It was my first time being in a Rain Forest it was absolutely a wondrous time, I felt like a little boy in a candy store. When then stayed at the Sheraton in San Juan at the end of our trip.
HIV should not dictate where you can’t go but you can let it take you to places you’ve never been. I was so distraught 10 years ago when I was diagnosed, but I turned around and got back on my feet. I now I know that I can still go places I can still enjoy life.
The Food and Drug Administration has lifted its ban on blood donations from gay men. The ban has been in place for 32 years. So yeah we can give blood now. Thank you to the FDA. BUT there is a stipulation. To give blood to the FDA you must be abstinent for one year prior to giving blood. Hmmmmmmmm no sex for a year……nope sorry not me. The abstinent rule is also in place in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia. The ban was put into place during the early years of the AIDS crisis. With medicine and science making strides activist and medical group see the ban as unjustifiable.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Charlie Sheen announced he is HIV positive. During the interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” shows, saying that he wanted to put a stop “to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks.”
He had paid millions to keep people quiet and has faced lawsuits from previous partners. Sheen said that he will not be paying anyone any more money after today because he has disclosed publically. The news had already received this story the day before his disclosure.
The 50 year old actor admits to hiring prostitutes and extensive drug use, which was made public by tabloids and newspapers.
This story proves that HIV is not a gay or black issue. HIV is a global public health issue. By disclosing on his own I hope this gives him empowerment and inspiration to help others in the future with their HIV diagnosis. Currently Sheen is on a four pill a day HIV medication regimen and is currently undetectable.
When asked whether he would stop drinking, Mr. Sheen said that “perhaps the freedom of today may lead to that as well.”
My hopes for Sheen is that he lives a long healthy life and to let him know that now you are a part of community that can empower you to be the best Charlie Sheen you can be. I back Charlie Sheen.
Monday, September 28, 2015
On the Oprah: Where Are The Now? 39 years old former child star of the show Who's the Boss? Danny Pintauro, came out this past weekend as HIV positive. It turns out that Pintauro has been living with HIV for 12 years. One the show Who’s the Boss? Pintauro played the role of Johnathan. When Pintauro was 17 he came out as gay while attending Stanford University. A tabloid forced him to come out because they were going to run with the story about his sexuality whether he liked it or not. Pintauro stated this about the forced outing, "I missed the opportunity to be a beacon of light for gay kids who were going through what I was going through because I was outed; it wasn't by choice,” This time Pintauro is coming out as HIV positive and wanted to do it when he was ready. When learning about his HIV status Pintauro said this, "You've spent so much time terrified that you're going to get it," he says, "and then you have it, and you don't have to be terrified anymore."
Pintauro is now happily married to Wil Tabares. The couple married in 2014.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
2015 marked the beginning of a new era in the evolution of HIV. Of the estimated 1.2 million Americans with HIV, one-third are over 50 years old; within 2015, half of the total HIV-positive population will be over 50 years old.[i]
The exhibit, curated in collaboration with Walgreens and The Graying of AIDS, focuses on the challenges and triumphs of this aging HIV community through captivating portraits and insightful testimonials.
The Well Beyond HIV art exhibit will be on public display September 10th an 11th from 11am-6pm at the Carnegie Library – Literary Hall, 801 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 – We encourage you to stop by if you have a chance.
If interested we ask that you also encourage your followers to:
· Visit the exhibit
· Share link to the Well Beyond HIV Tumblr www.WellBeyondHIV.com
· Join the conversation using the #WellBeyond hashtag
In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information.
On behalf of Walgreens
Monday, March 30, 2015
It is official I’ve earned my Master’s in Public Health. Now I can officially say I’m a Public Health professional. After 2 ½ years of school work I’ve accomplished what I set out to accomplished. It was a big goal for me to finally get this obstacle out of way. Having HIV I want you all to know you cannot let it get in your way.
REACH YOUR GOAL AND MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.
People need to understand that HIV is NOT the end of your life. You need to keep moving and live your life to the best of your abilities. When I found out I had HIV school was the furthest thing from my mind. But now it has helped me get a new job that is amazing. I am now a Global Public Health Analyst. As a present my loving husband bought me a new car. He is an amazing man and has stuck by me through my Associates and Bachelor’s degree as well.
GRADUATION IS IN JULY IN BALTIMORE!!
But most of you know I can’t stop there I will be attempting to earn my Doctorate in Public Health.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
I got a notification on my phone from my Grindr application so I click on it to check the message. This guy immediately started with, “Really Justin?” I then didn't understand what he was referring to, so I replied, “Really what?” He then went on to say that he was disappointed in me for having my HIV status at the bottom of my Grindr profile and that I was once his hero and etc. I just couldn't believe this. All I could do was block the immaturity out and off my phone.
1) There are people on Grindr that don’t even say their status
2) One of the first things I put is that I’m married and that my husband knows I have this application on my phone
3) It’s really none of your business what I’m doing in my own bedroom but I’m open about my HIV status to all sexual partners – FYI.
4) If the basis of me not being your role model HIV positive activist is that my status is at the bottom of my Grindr profile than find another HIV activist to follow because you've been following me for the wrong reasons.
The article below can be found on Baltimore Gay Life Newspaper:
Many people this holiday season will get what they want and what they don’t want. My gift to you this year, dear reader, is the gift of purity. Many of us think of the word purity and automatically think of virginity. I am by no means a virgin, and neither are the majority of you reading this column. With that idea in mind, I ask – why on earth do we engage in slut shaming?
At the recent Mr. Maryland Leather contest one of the contestants gave a speech about slut shaming in the gay community and I was truly touched. He talked about how two of his friends had committed suicide because of the constant slut shaming (which is another form of bullying) they endured from their so-called friends.
As I do every year, I took the stage with all the former Mr. Maryland Leathers, and as my name was being called I heard the words, “Whore” being yelled at me. I stopped and realized that this was not right because to look on my husband’s face was the look of embarrassment and shame. When the contest was over, I marched up to those three people and told them to stop slut shaming me. The whole time I thought to myself this doesn’t just affect me but it affects my husband. If they don’t have any respect for me at least respect my husband and in turn respect my marriage. I really didn’t deserve it, neither did my husband or my son.
For HIV negative people, slut shaming can lead to a lowered self-esteem, which could make them at greater risk of contracting HIV. Having people shame you because of your sexual appetites only leads you to keep them secret and pushes them back into the closet. This also can be said for people who use preventative measure like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). People think because you are on PrEP means that you do not use a condom and you have promiscuous sex, which is not the case at all because this is a form of HIV prevention.
People will do with their own bodies as they would like and it is not up to us to tell them what to do. It takes two (sometimes more) to tango and if it’s consensual then who the hell are you to tell them what they cannot do.
I suggest to all of you reading this column to keep that in mind before you shame someone into thinking that what they do sexually is wrong. People need to wake up to the ways of the world and get their head out of their behinds and other people’s personal lives; because frankly it’s none of your damn slut shaming business
Terry-Smith, J. (2014) Baltimore Gay Life Newspaper. The Gift of Purity and Slut Shaming. Retrieved from http://baltimoregaylife.com/slut-shaming/