December #87 : Straight Forward - by Kimberly Howard

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Table of Contents

Baby Love

Fuzeon Fever

Artists With (out) a Cause

Wash 'n' Bear

Adoption Option

Make It a Date

Beijing Surprise

Apocalypse Now

Loan Shark

Fund Frisk

A Tempest in a T Cell

Slim Picks

Fat Skinny

Break Time

Straight Forward

Condoms Inc.

Steppin' Positive


Cinema Variety

Daddy's Dearest

Gift Rap

'Tis the Season

Publisher's Letter


In Vogue

Star Power

‘Tis the Season


Saving It

Getting Cheeky

Fix Is In?

Say What?

Cash Flown!

Full-Frontal Face

Wisdom Of The Ages


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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December 2002

Straight Forward

by Kimberly Howard

From pill talk to pillow talk, Atlanta's Pos Hetero Summit was serious fun

Arriving in Atlanta to sweltering heat late last August, I headed for the Pos Hetero Summit, the gathering of straight HIVers held by and the National Association of People With AIDS (NAPWA). As assistant coordinator, I greeted friends from summits past and Atlanta locals who, attending for the first time, were amazed to find they are not alone. I myself had been sick with AIDS for five years and down to two T-cells before I was finally diagnosed -- after all, a straight white woman who had never shot up was not "supposed to" have HIV. I started attending summits because I craved knowledge about the virus but my local ASOs were focused more on the gay community. Now I bring back information -- and medical and political views -- to positive women in Los Angeles.

I hosted the workshop on disclosure as I had at the May summit in LA. The men I spoke with try hard to go out and date, but when the third or fourth night out comes around, most get scared and break it off. The stigma -- "if you have HIV, you must have been doing something wrong" -- is still strong in the straight world. In LA, one man was struggling to reach out to someone very important to him. By the Atlanta workshop, they were engaged -- the group had given him the strength to disclose.

Friday night we had a pool party. Even with Crix bellies and wasting, some of us are at ease in swimsuits. There were a lot of hot bodies, too. We go to summits to put a face -- or give a hug -- to people we e-mail and chat with all year. The Chicago summit in July will be our next step from virtual connectedness to flesh-and-blood community. Join us.

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