Living with HIV

Count Me In

published: October, 09, 2011 Categories // Activism, Gay Men, Health, Living with HIV, Population Specific

An innovative UK HIV prevention campaign asks gay men to pledge to help stop the spread of HIV in the gay community. Bob Leahy looks it over..

Count Me In likes to keep an eye on what’s happening in prevention around the world. HIVers are, after all, uniquely placed to evaluate what works and what doesn’t.  We are, I think, uniquely sensitive too to how we are portrayed, as we often are, in prevention campaigns. This is just one of the reasons that, although it’s too late to prevent our own diagnoses, HIVers need to play a front and centre role in all aspects of HIV prevention. Which, in case anyone wondered, is why we co

Bob Leahy interviews HIV-positive YouTube Phenomenon Aaron Laxton

published: October, 07, 2011 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Features and Interviews, Living with HIV, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Aaron Laxton was diagnosed with HIV just four months ago. But in those four months his YouTube accounts of living with HIV and his advice for HIVers have been getting lots of attention.

Bob Leahy interviews HIV-positive YouTube Phenomenon Aaron Laxton

  SEE AARON'S VIDEO MESSAGE TO POSITIVELITE READERS AT THE FOOT OF THIS POST.  Bob Leahy: Hi Aaron. First off I have to say how much I’m admiring your YouTube channel “My HIV Journey”. I’m struck by a number of things. Number one is how good you are at it. Do you have a background in broadcasting or something? Aaron Laxton: Thank you for your kind words. It has been a work in progress that has definitely morphed into something quite different than what I originally had i

Sleep, eat, doctors, meds, repeat.

published: October, 04, 2011 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // Living with HIV

Part Four of Brian the Shochusucker’s tale of his first year of living with HIV in Japan.

Part III of Brian's story can be found here. After my doctor saw the severity of my condition, he ordered a whole slew of tests. I was supposed to go in for a chest X-ray and eye exam the next week (mid October, 2010) and there was also talk of having a CT scan. I asked about starting meds but my doctor wanted to get a larger picture of what he was dealing with. He also wanted to make sure I was on disability insurance. I didn't understand why this was important. I was not blind or n


published: September, 22, 2011 Categories // Living with HIV

Rob Newman on buying a diary: “in truth what has transpired is my desire to make things right; not that I’ve done anything wrong, but rather just in case.”

I have been away on two weeks’ vacation. I was out of the office for a week camping, then just home for another week for some down-time. Much needed down-time. I bought myself a journal to take camping with me, and use afterwards. Stylish leather bound book that I plan to write my thoughts down in. As a hack writer, I often have story thoughts but lack the basic ability to remember something long enough to write it down; age, pot - who knows, but I find myself in need of an implement to not

GPS: Charting new directions for gay men’s sexual health

published: September, 03, 2011 Categories // Features and Interviews, Health, Sexual Health, Living with HIV, Guest Authors

GPS stands for Gay Poz Sex. In this interview with Bob Leahy, Rick Julien explains what GPS is, and why it’s looking for a few good men to help them find their own way to improving their sex lives.

GPS: Charting new directions for gay men’s sexual health

To find out more about GPS please contact Rick Julien at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloak98edff8e6b8e6656ef12ece3959791cd').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy98edff8e6b8e6656ef12ece3959791cd = 'rjulien' + '@'; addy98edff8e6b8e6656ef12ece3959791cd = addy98edff8e6b8e6656ef12ece3959791cd + 'ac

Dealing with that "HIV Look"

published: August, 04, 2011 Written by // Mark S. King - My Fabulous Disease Categories // Health, Living with HIV, Mark S. King

Mark S King tackles facial wasting or lipodystrophy again with on-camera testing of a new facial filler product

Dealing with that

This is a an excerpt from an article first appearing in Mark’s regular blog, My Fabulous Disease, here. Several years ago, I told someone that I was HIV positive before I agreed to his invitation for a date. “Yeah, I know,” he casually replied, and then he looked a little embarrassed, as if he shouldn’t have said it. It was too late, of course; I knew exactly what he meant. He knew my HIV status because of the appearance of my face. I was crestfallen, and felt something close to shame

An HIV-Positive Beauty Queen? Absolutely. She’s positively out and proud and she’s talking to PositiveLite.

published: August, 02, 2011 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Women, Features and Interviews, Living with HIV, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy interviews Michelle Anderson, Ms Plus America 2011. Says Michelle “We are all queens and should be treated accordingly! Get up and live and live boldly!”

An HIV-Positive Beauty Queen? Absolutely. She’s positively out and proud and she’s talking to PositiveLite.

Michelle Anderson was just crowned 2011 Ms. Plus America. Michelle is an African-American woman living with HIV since 1999. She currently resides in Dallas, Texas and is Co-Chair of Campaign to End AIDS Texas, The Afiya Center Peer Educator , Public Speaker, as well as a board member for AIDS Services of Dallas, and ADAP Advocacy Association. Michelle has dedicated much of her personal life to educating others on HIV/AIDS throughout the greater Dallas area and beyond. She plans to finish

Bob Leahy interviews Randy Verdone for PositiveLite and World Hepatitis Day

published: July, 28, 2011 Written by // Bob Leahy - Publisher Categories // Hep B and C, Features and Interviews, Living with HIV, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Randy Verdone is in recovery from twenty years of addiction, jail time, life in the sex trade industry and separation from his children. His story of courage, survival and triumph will inspire you.

Bob Leahy interviews Randy Verdone for PositiveLite and World Hepatitis Day

I asked Randy Verdone to write his bio.  "My name is Randy Verdone, I am a 34 year old male.  I come from a small community where I was raised in an abusive family that didn’t want me. I have lived a large portion of my life on the streets.  I am recovering from almost 20yrs of addiction, abuse and hiding from my past, who I was and what I had done.  I was a walking stigma and until recently, fought that title with every fiber of my being. Now though I am learning to embr

Mason Wyler Gives Good Face: The ONLY Poz guy in the Gay Porn Village

published: July, 19, 2011 Categories // Gay Men, Arts and Entertainment, Living with HIV, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality

Poz porn star Mason Wyler has announced his retirement from porn, but he has one fan who’d hate to see him go.

Mason Wyler has quickly become one of my favourite, openly HIV+ porn stars. When he writes “I don’t need someone to talk too, I need someone to fuck me” on his blog or summons up the complexities of HIV by succinctly stating “it sucks”,  I totally get where he’s coming from and toast his post-AIDS sensibility. I love that he challenges sex-negative, HIV-phobic attitudes with simple, flowery prose like “Now can I please get off of this damn hospital bed/burning at the stake,

HIV & Wonder Woman: One Is Lying About it’s Age, And One Doesn’t Look It

published: July, 15, 2011 Categories // Arts and Entertainment, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces

30 years of HIV, and 70 years of Wonder Woman. Michael Burtch, the tattooed activist, knows which one he’d rather celebrate.

The discovery of HIV 30 years ago this June, the unjust vilification of ‘patient zero’ as a result, and the often ignored contribution that colonialism and colonial abuse played in helping HIV spread;  it’s hard to know what to do with such a complicated, and painful anniversary.  In the last 30 years, almost 30 million people have lost their lives due to AIDS-related illnesses and 34 million are infected.  (That death toll is a lot higher when you remember that HIV is a l

My Anniversary by Sven Paardekoopere

published: July, 10, 2011 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // Living with HIV

Occasionally PositiveLite receives unsolicited posts which, depending on the subject matter, we are happy to consider for publication. Here’s an interesting one from a Dutch reader, author and social network devotee.

You know what’s funny?  I never thought I would be writing this today.  Seriously, I figured I would be dead by now.   Ever since I was a wee little Dutch boy I had this vision of dying by my 30th birthday.  Never really bothered me or frightened me; it was just this notion.   With that said, the day I was handed my HIV test results (two months before my 30th) I couldn’t help but remember that notion and wonder if my time had indeed come.  My di

New musical takes no prisoners in exploring the realities of Living with HIV in 2011

published: July, 08, 2011 Categories // Gay Men, Arts and Entertainment, Theatre, Living with HIV, Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy reviews Christopher Wilson's powerful new play Living with Henry at the Toronto Fringe Festival this week and says “Go see it”

New musical takes no prisoners in exploring the realities of Living with HIV in 2011

Living with Henry, the new musical about living with HIV (yes, you read that right) that opened last night at Toronto’s George Ignatieff Theatre has one of the boldest, cleverest and most well executed theatrical devices I've seen in years.  The clue is in the show's title.  Henry is in fact HIV. Introduced early on as the"roommate” of Michael, the protagonist of this piece, his role as the virus itself is not only a key one, but is played perfectly by Dale Miller, whose bra

Blood And Ink: HIV And Tattooing

published: July, 08, 2011 Categories // Living with HIV

Michael Burtch: “If there is one thing I hate, it’s people wearing Ed Hardy Wear with no visible tattoos. And if there is one question I’ve come to loath, it’s “What do your tattoos mean?””

It’s usually the sign that the person who is asking is one of the 76% of Canadian’s who are not tattooed. A cultural tourist. And yet, I’ve started to ask my poz friends with tattoos a similar question. What does it mean that the HIV+ are over represented in tattoo culture? For many, the tattoo is a metaphor of difference, and history and popular culture have long associated  the tattoo with danger, two concepts familiar to any HIV+ person.  The permanence of tattoos and the pe

This Is What Sex-Positivity Looks Like

published: June, 24, 2011 Categories // Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Sex and Sexuality

Capital Xtra’s AIDS Activist of the Year Michael Burtch and the photo shoot that didn’t go quite the way he planned.

The invitation said to dress in your ’super-hero finest’. In January I won the AIDS Activist of the Year Hero Award from Ottawa’s Capital Xtra, after having been nominated three years in a row by the paper, and was having my photo taken for a two page centre spread.   I arrived at Flamingo Bar to have my photo taken with three other activists. Our photos were to be spliced into a larger group shot with another photo taken the day before, through the magic of photo shop. The the

Artist Andrew Gayed Interviewed

published: May, 09, 2011 Categories // Art, Arts and Entertainment, Living with HIV, Sex and Sexuality

Michael Burtch chats with the twenty-one year old Ottawa photographer about his piece ‘4 Pills Once Daily’, getting hate mail, anuses, and why waiting can sometimes help make better art

(This piece is best read in conjunction with Michael’s earlier entry about the work Andrew Gayed featured him in here.)   Can you talk about the process and camera you used to construct ‘4 Pills Once Daily‘?Supplementary research was made to have a better understanding of the issue. I had an idea of what the series would look like, so I took some initial photos with a 'stand-in' model to decide various compositional elements. Then I interviewed my model to gage a personal accou

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