September #137 : Get a Nightlife - by Wesley Badillo

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Trouble in Paradise

The Shore Thing

Heads of the Class

Solo Shot

Got Milk Thistle?

The Elite Meet

We've Got Your Number

Flu Fight

Doctors Ordered

Priority Male

Condoms on the Side

Sexpert-September 2007

Trainer's Bench-September 2007

Get a Nightlife

Cheat Sheet

The Food Network

The Princess and the HIV

Our Space


Crowning Achievement

Hot Dates-September 2007

The Jury is Out

Holding Out for a Hero

28 Profiles in Courage

Blown Sideways

Star Billing

Editor's Letter-September 2007

Mailbox-September 2007

Catch of the Month-September 2007

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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September 2007

Get a Nightlife

by Wesley Badillo

This HIV prevention expert fights for your right to party

I love life. And I refuse to let anything—even HIV—stop me from living it to the fullest. Originally from Puerto Rico, I first came to New York City when I turned 21, back in 1976.  I experienced a whole new life here: the freedom, the nightlife and, most of all, the dancing! It is my main exercise, my therapy, my passion.

My friends and I hit all the great places—the Saint, Studio 54. Then, around 1981, having gone off to study medicine in Mexico, I began hearing that some of my New York friends were sick or dying from AIDS. I also heard that condoms would protect me, so they immediately became a part of my life. But whenever we visited New York, it seemed that we were all full of fear. The Saint and Studio 54 closed, and I couldn’t get into the new wave music other clubs were playing. I felt I had no outlet for relieving my worries. But eventually I got used to the new music—how could I ever stop dancing?

In 1988, I began my career in the HIV/AIDS field, realizing I enjoy working in prevention more than treating a patient. Years later, while working in Australia, I myself tested positive. You might think, now that I’ve moved back to New York, that I’ve decided not to go out—that staying home will “protect” my health. Instead, I protect my health so that I can go out! Keeping me off the dance floor would depress me and make me sick—and I do not have time for that.

I prepare packets of HIV meds and multi-vitamins and carry the plastic bags in my pockets ready to be taken—a practice I started many years ago, before I was diagnosed, when I’d get multivitamin packs from a bodega on the way home from dancing. I never miss a dose while out having fun.

I will turn 53 this month. And I plan to keep right on partying, traveling and enjoying life. To do that, I must stay healthy and be responsible. Dancing remains one of my greatest incentives.

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