Donald Trump’s (Fictional) Presidential HIV/AIDS Survey Answers
April 11, 2016
Imagining a world where Republican candidates answer surveys by HIV/AIDS organizations… here’s Donald Trump “discussing” the issues of the day. Enjoy.
Positively Yours, Shawn
On HIV research
An extremely credible source has called my office and informed me that HIV is harmless. Another source has told me that a cure would be easy. Easy. If HIV is a threat- and I’m not saying it isn’t a threat- then I’ll have the best minds find the best cure possible. The greatest cure.
On HIV issues and opioid addiction
All of the drugs are coming in from the Mexico border. Once the wall is up- and it is going to be a beautiful wall, I’m telling you, just an absolutely beautiful wall-… there will be no more drugs. People use drugs because they don’t think America is great.
On The National HIV/AIDS Strategy
You tell me what the strategy is? What’s your strategy?
The Office of National AIDS Policy
They have an office for that? Look, I’d get those jokers out of there. I’d say, “You’re fired” and get the best people on the job- no office necessary, just top-of-the-line laptops. Maybe put them up in a Trump tower- who could work in an office in Washington and get a damn thing done? You’ve got to be kidding me.
The Future of the Ryan White Program
He has a program? That is wonderful. Guys don’t know how to throw the football anymore. And Ryan White was just a great quarterback and a great leader on the field. Dallas Cowboys. 1980s. Underrated, in my opinion. Just a fantastic talent.
(At this point an aide leaned in, whispered into Donald Trump’s ear, and then they both abruptly left the room.)
Outliving the Reagans
March 11, 2016
Today I went to the dentist for a routine teeth cleaning. I wasn’t psyched about it, mainly because of the bleeding that can occur afterwards. Minor stuff, it’s just that I prefer the taste of my daily iced mocha without a splash of plasma.
I filled out my medical resume- checking the usual boxes of HIV, hemophilia, hepatitis B/C (they shared a box)- then turned the information over to the receptionist. The plan from there was to sit on the couch and dick around on my iPhone until I heard my name called, which would signal the inevitable bloodletting in a backroom. But before I could get my phone on, I was greeted by the Reagans, smiling at my from the cover of a People Magazine on the coffee table. Today, Nancy’s funeral is being held… and I got to thinking about how stupid my feelings of aprehension were in regard to my dentist appointment (it went great, btw, no real bleeding!)… how few of my 80s HIV bretheren had the opportunity to sit on a comfortable couch on a 70-degree day in March in the year 2016… and check those virus boxes…
I didn’t open the magazine- I took a picture with it. Then wrote the following and posted it on social media quickly, not wanting the feelings to pass without sharing:
I outlived both Nancy and Ronald Reagan. Many others who were diagnosed with HIV during Reagan’s presidency were not so lucky. Their silence on AIDS – as it was emerging and killing the citizens they’d sworn to protect – is a dark chapter in United States history and a harsh lesson on moralism in politics.
Enter the… Blood Mirror!
October 27, 2015
It’s Halloween season- and that means that a lot of fake blood is being used for cheap scares. But what shouldn’t be scary? Blood donations from the gay community.
And that’s exactly why the art exhibit, Blood Mirror, was created. Using nine blood donations from gay, bisexual and transgender men, the interactive art display is a visually stunning protest of the FDA’s ban on blood donations from non-celibate gay and bisexual men.
Presented by the Visual Arts Committee at Trinity Wall Street, the Blood Mirror will be on display at the Trinity Church (75 Broadway, New York, NY 10006) from November 2 through December 1 (World AIDS Day).
A Month of Superheroes: Ryan White
August 18, 2015
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Ryan White CARE Act. This federal program has provided so many services to the HIV/AIDS community. Much thanks goes to Ryan White, who passed to spirit in 1990, and his mother Jeanne for their role in changing the way people viewed HIV.
Ryan White’s legacy lives on to this day. I still remember the days when I was a scared kid with HIV, intensely secretive about my status. Ryan’s journey was quite public from the beginning of his diagnosis, and my mother had every magazine that interviewed him and would watch his TV appearances, where he did his best to disarm fears of HIV transmission.
Here are some videos I’ve made about Ryan. And a POZ article I wrote a five years ago about the CARE Act.
Ryan White’s bedroom is on display at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. Here’s a brief tour, a video by me followed by a video by Andrea, curator of the Museum:
I animated this video for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which explains The Ryan White CARE Act and a little bit of Ryan’s history:
The New Meaning of “HIV Free”
June 17, 2014
Remember when “HIV free” simply meant living without the virus in your body? Well, terrible laws and even worse implementation have created a new definition for this term. Now, “HIV Free” means the release of someone who was erroneously sentenced under HIV disclosure laws.
Not familiar with these laws? The Sero Project can get you up to speed better than I can. But basically, in many states, if you are HIV positive, you can be held criminally accountable for having sex with someone if you don’t disclose your HIV status… even if you wear a condom.
The new HIV Free experienced a victory last week when the Iowa State Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Nick Rhoades. Poz did a feature of Rhoade’s plight in 2012. I’m happy for Nick, and the hope is that this ruling will pave the way for other states to dial back their horrible HIV laws. They don’t work in preventing HIV- quite the opposite, I think these laws scare people away from getting tested for HIV.
Mark King attended this month’s HIV Is Not A Crime Conference and wrote this powerful blog entry about it. Watch his video below. We need to do everything we can to make people with HIV… HIV Free.
Help Honor Ryan White’s Legacy- Takes One Minute
April 8, 2014
If you’d like to help others living with HIV and preserve Ryan’s legacy, the Ryan White CARE Act, then please consider signing this petition to continue funding the CARE Act. Here’s a video I did with help from AIDS Healthcare Foundation to explain just how important the CARE Act is.
Labtest Contest X: Win Body Counts By Sean Strub
February 21, 2014
The Labtest Contest is back! And the grand prize has never been better- guess closest to my t-cell count and win a signed copy of Sean Strub’s incredible new book, Body Counts! The rules are posted below… be sure to follow them and good luck!
Shawn’s Guess: 422
Shawn’s Doctor’s Guess: 670
March-July 2010: Charles Oliff (guess: 567 actual count: 565)
July-December 2010: Aimee Lee (guess: 516 actual: 511)
December 2010- March 2011: “Satan” (guess: 666 actual: 662)
March-July 2011: Sharon Paul (guess:
520 actual: 508)
August-January 2012: Justin Starkenburg (guess: 570 actual count: 579)
February- June: Bob Geise (guess: 595 actual count: 590)
July-September: Sahara Frog (guess: 515 actual count: 512)
September-January 2014: Scott Anderson (guess: 620 actual count: 620)
February-October: Mary (guess: actual count:585 actual count: 583)
NOVEMBER RESULTS: 538 (No Contest)
1. You have to post your guess (between 400 and 700 t-cells) on my Poz blog Comments section
2. Relatives are allowed to guess! Bribes accepted!
3. Closest guess wins- if it’s a tie, the closest guess that DID NOT go over the actual count wins.
4. One vote/guess per person. Must have a valid email address.
5. Deadline is Friday, February 28, 2014 12:01 am EST
Body Counts by Sean Strub
January 14, 2014
Sean Strub’s memoir, Body Counts, hit stores yesterday, and Gwenn and I were fortunate enough to get to our local bookstore just in time to nab the last three copies: one for us, one for my mom (who is a huge fan) and one for a future Labtest Contest prize.
But, don’t wait around for me to get labwork done in March for a chance to win this book, if you have any interest in the history of the gay community, the politics of sex and the realities of living with HIV- you’ve gotta get this book. Click on Sean’s face to read an excerpt of Body Counts in the latest issue of Poz.
Sean has been one of the most influential people in my life as a positoid. Without him, I really have no idea what I’d be doing right now. In 1996, after nearly a decade of living with HIV, I decided to speak out about being positive for the first time; I was 20, still living with my parents in Waynesboro, Virginia, and had just put up a website chronicling my thoughts on living with HIV. My doctor fed me a few issues of Poz Magazine and I was stunned that a magazine solely about HIV existed. I poured through its pages and loved what I read. I sent a fan letter to the editor-in-chief, Sean, and shared where I was at in my own journey with HIV.
A month or so later, I was watching wrestling and the phone rang. “Shawn, telephone!” My dad/secretary called out through my bedroom door. My beloved Ric Flair had just lost his World Title; I was bummed but took the call anyway. It was Sean. He invited me to NYC to be interviewed for the magazine and shortly thereafter I started writing my Positoid column.
When I learned that my original godparents had broken ties with my family in the 1980s after my diagnosis because their church said AIDS was God’s punishment against gay people, I asked Sean and Steve Schalchlin (another beloved mentor) to be my surrogate Godparents. They both readily accepted.
All of that personal history and admiration aside, it was hard to tear myself from Body Counts to post this blog- it really is an incredible book and an honest, forthcoming account from someone who has a truly unique set of experiences to draw from.