Surviving Life Itself

I am a 57-year-old gay man. I have survived things. In the decades since AIDS began murdering my friends, I have faced a host of perilous circumstances apart from my own HIV infection, including a car crash, drug addiction, serious medical procedures, and weapons pointed in my direction. Like everyone else, positive and negative alike, I am a survivor of life itself. My status as a long-term HIV survivor does not make me a champion or a museum piece to be examined and admired. I am a man in the prime of his life. My age and maturity guide me, […]

Redemption After Meth Addiction Catching up with revered AIDS doctor Gabriel Torres

The article appeared in New York magazine in 2008. I remember it quite distinctly. Titled “Another AIDS Casualty” and written by David France, the profile of once-famous New York AIDS physician Dr. Ramon “Gabriel” Torres was a heart-wrenching read. The story outlined a horrifying downward spiral brought on by Torres’s meth addiction, a habit he had picked up in the mid-1990s just as new HIV medications were calming the mortal tidal waves that Torres had been fighting for years in his role as director of AIDS programs at St Vincent’s Medical Center in New York City. Torres fell from a high perch, having […]

I Wrote ‘The Truth About the 7,000’ What now?

  It began with a death and a lingering question. After a friend – an advocate who knew what to do to stay alive – died of an AIDS-related cause a few months ago, I was left wondering why. Together with other deaths in the news of people “unexpectedly” dying the same way, it felt like a tragic trend. Fortunately, Poz magazine editor Oriol Gutierrez encouraged my instincts that there might be a larger story here. I wanted to know who the 7,000 people are who die of AIDS-related causes in the USA each year, and why it happens. In […]

Racquetball as an Exercise in Humility

  My friend Jon is a gracious winner, as well he should be. He’s had a lot of practice. During the months we have been playing racquetball together, I have never won a game. Not one. I hate Jon so much. I like to play games I can win, which is why I have a ping-pong table in the basement and will invite anyone who visits to play a game. I’m a great ping-pong player. If you say you haven’t played in years or that you aren’t very good, I will talk you into a friendly game anyway and yes, […]

An AIDS Survivor, Barely Surviving

Sam Cooper, a shell-shocked gay veteran of the 1980s, has invited Braeden, a much younger man, out for a hamburger after their sexual tryst. Braeden has been mindlessly chattering about his life and friends and how he negotiates casual sex outside his relationship. Hookups carry no more weight for Braeden than the phone he uses to find them. When he was younger, Sam pointedly responds to the pleasant but unequipped Braeden, all of Sam’s friends were dying. He went to funerals twice a week. Sam delivers these facts with a satisfied but weary glare across the table toward his companion. Braeden looks […]

Hooray! HIV Stigma is Over!

Oh, to be a Hollywood producer. High-powered meetings and mimosas. Swimming pools. Movie stars. And as far as the eye can see, not a single person living with HIV experiencing stigma. That’s the candy-colored scenario presented by Brad Simpson, one of the executive producers of the FX series “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” as part of a radio interview on NPR’s “Here and Now” on Wednesday, January 31st. Simpson and co-producer Nina Jacobson were being asked about the objections of the Versace family to their fictionalized account of the last days of Gianni Versace, including the suggestion that Versace was HIV-positive. Brad Simpson defended […]

Why Are We Still Haunted by The Boys in the Band ?

When I was 15 years old in the mid-1970s, I couldn’t wait to attend a local community theater production of The Boys in the Band. I was intrigued by the play’s dark and mysterious reputation and had heard that it included a lot of homosexuality (funny how that word isn’t used much anymore). It sounded like exactly what this budding young queer needed: some lessons about the yellow brick road ahead. I didn’t like what I saw. The characters, a group of gay men celebrating a birthday, were mean and sad and angry with one another. And they were all presented […]

The World AIDS Day Anthem We Really Need

Most people would walk away if the future seemed unclear and shut you out because they’re afraid. But I’m not. I’m right here. That’s what my love is for. My love will be your cure. —“Your Cure,” an original song from season two of Merce   Merce, the web series about a gay New Yorker living with HIV, is a little bonkers. The candy-colored musical comedy, written by and starring the singular Charles Sanchez, has “the lowbudget appeal of an early John Waters romp,” as I wrote when season one hit your computer screens two years ago. Please follow and […]

Punishing Disease • Branding People with HIV as Criminals

Out of control anti-sex laws threaten everyone: Panel discussion, Nov. 15th, 7:30 pm at Red Emma’s Sociologist Trevor Hoppe is a gay man with his finger on the pulse of gay sexual politics, a topic he has written about for years. In his latest buook, Punishing Disease, Hoppe tackles HIV criminalization, one of the most polarizing issues in the LGBT community. Please follow and like us: