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.

BloodMirrorSideImage.jpgAnd 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).

Positively Yours,

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:

Positively Yours,

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.

Positively Yours,

Help Honor Ryan White’s Legacy- Takes One Minute

April 8, 2014

Today marks 24 years since Ryan White’s passing at the age of 18.  Born with hemophilia, Ryan became the adolescent face of the epidemic when he was kicked out of school for having HIV in the mid 1980s. You can learn more about Ryan by reading this Poz article, “Remembering Ryan White.”


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.

Positively Yours,

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!

But before we get to the rules, I need to inform you of a slight change. For the first time ever, I will be competing in the contest. The prize is just that good. Sure, I already have my own copy of Body Counts, which I adore, but it isn’t signed.  Think of it as an extra challenge, or an AIDS-y version of Win Ben Stein’s Money…

labteststrubtest.jpgThe competition will undoubtedly be stiff. And I’m not guaranteed a win by any means. In fact, my own doctor, Greg, is venturing a guess for the first time, too.  To make sure my guess and my doctor’s are seen, I’m going to dramatically increase the font size.


Shawn’s Guess: 422
Shawn’s Doctor’s Guess: 670

Previous Champions…
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)
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)

Official Rules

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

POZ-sean.jpgSean 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.

body-counts-sean-strub.jpgWhen 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.

Positively Yours,

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