Activists Halt US Conference on AIDS to Protest CDC

Dr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surely saw it coming. Protests are part of the DNA of the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA), and conference organizers have never shied from welcoming dissent from activists. In fact, they schedule time in their finely produced event for just such occasions. Still, when a large group of diverse activists stormed the stage during the opening plenary on Thursday, their sheer number was impressive, as were their considerable list of grievances against the CDC and, in sometimes very direct and personal terms, against CDC Director […]

The U.S. Border Patrol is Separating People with HIV from Their Family

The slow-motion train wreck once known as the United States Constitution continued its human wreckage Thursday, when Chief Brian Hastings of the Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) casually explained to Rep. Jamie Raskin in a congressional hearing that HIV status is a criteria used to separate families at the border. The House Judiciary Committee hearing, “Oversight of Family Separation and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Hearing,” contained this jaw-dropping exchange between the two men (it occurs around the 2:26:00 mark in the video below):   Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD): If a mother or father has an HIV positive status, is that […]

We Must Reinvigorate AIDS Fight

For many years, I’ve viewed activist Larry Bryant, Jr., as one of the most highly regarded voices of conscience in the HIV/AIDS movement, and among black men in particular. At the recent Reunion Project event in Washington, DC – a day of education and community for long-term survivors – Larry laid bare his life with HIV and his observations from decades in the HIV arena. Larry does not mince words. He calls out other community figures when he sees fit. He names names. He exposes racism and transphobia, even among our ranks. His keynote speech taught me, shamed me, and maddened me. That’s […]

IML Winner Jack Thompson

… on sex, HIV, and facing transphobia Jack Thompson, who just won the 2019 International Mr. Leather (IML), is a lot. And he carries it well. Jack is biracial. He’s gay. He’s transgender. He’s extremely kinky, depending on what scale you use to measure such things. Jack is also utterly transparent about all that he is, to a disarming degree. His speech at the IML competition (“You are enough.”) laid bare all of his identities and became an instant viral meme. Over breakfast at his favorite diner in his newly adopted home city of Baltimore, Jack discussed coming out (as many things), sex, […]

What Self-Care?

Fainting is weird, especially the third time it happened during one weekend. By that time, I knew enough to grab a safe spot – the front steps of the house, I had been admiring the blooms in the courtyard – before the queasy rush that had suddenly consumed me would knock the lights out. Waking up is even stranger, when your scrambled brain is flashing images of an Amy Schumer comedy and a rabbit hole Godzilla loud argument … What the hell?Am I here? … and then the front steps come into focus and holy shit I just fainted again. […]

The First Ladies of AIDS

My first job in AIDS in the 1980s was at the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, an organization that provided companions for the dying. When our founding director, Daniel P. Warner, retired from the organization, the final candidates for his job met with the full staff for final interviews.One of those job candidates, Sue Crumpton, had the audacity to be a straight woman. Trying to replace our gay founder. At an AIDS agency. In 1991.Sue’s credentials as a skilled administrator with a background working on behalf of battered women didn’t resonate with some of us. For gay men like me, our […]

AIDS WATCH: Why is the CDC Withholding Billions in PrEP Profits?

You are going to read this story and think it is too outrageous to be true. You would be wrong. And, especially if you are an HIV advocate attending AIDS Watch in Washington, DC, this week, you must demand that our elected officials answer for it. Here’s the story, and some simple questions for you to ask our elected officials in Washington. Truvada is a drug that has been used for many years as a treatment for people with HIV. When the US government researched the use of Truvada as the first drug for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), US taxpayers footed […]

AIDS WATCH: ‘Strong Interest’ in Hearings on Truvada Patent Profits

Advocates pressuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to claim royalties from sales of “Truvada as PrEP” report “strong interest” in congressional hearings on the growing controversy, based on visits to the Hill between HIV advocates and their elected officials and staffs. The CDC owns patents to the use of Truvada as PrEP and has been criticized for not claiming what could be billions of dollars in royalties from Gilead, the manufacturer of Truvada. “Senior health policy staffers have a strong interest in claiming the money the CDC has left on the table,” said James Krellenstein, part of […]

A Farewell to Project Inform

The HIV community was dealt a sad blow when it was announced that the iconic non-profit HIV treatment advocacy organization, Project Inform, will end its programs. Project Inform’s director of research advocacy, David Evans, has been working with the organization in various capacities for the last 27 years. In this message shared with My Fabulous Disease, David reflects on Project Inform’s legacy and on the influence of its legendary founder, Martin Delaney. We must all honor this legacy by ensuring that HIV treatment advocacy remain at the forefront of our movement. – Mark S. King by David Evans Project Inform It’s […]

Finding Redemption on the Ride for the Feast

Angie Kelley found her redemption on a bicycle, somewhere along the 140-mile route of Ride for the Feast, the annual fundraiser for Moveable Feast. The arduous trail transformed a young woman with a troubled past into something entirely new.  A queer advocate. A mother. A woman of worth. “I once thought that if people saw who I was on the inside, no one would be my friend,” Angie says, taking stock of a recent past that now feels like a lifetime away. It includes growing up in a volatile household, feelings of hopelessness, and then trying to escape it all […]