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POZ at 15
by Jennifer Morton
October – POZ held a Halloween party extravaganza at Lips, a NYC drag restaurant, in honor of comptroller Dennis Daniel’s 10-year anniversary of working with Strub. Daniel is the only staff member who has consistently been with the magazine since the very beginning. (And none of us knows what we’d do without him.)
December – On World AIDS Day, several POZ staffers spoke with the inmates at New York’s Mid-State Correctional Facility. By this time, ex-prisoner Laura Whitehorn had joined the editorial team and become POZ’s prison expert. In August of 2004, the staff threw her a party to celebrate the five-year anniversary of her release!
December – HIV-positive activist Dawn Averitt Bridge appeared on our cover with Maddy, her HIV-negative baby. Averitt loved the cover but noted that we misprinted Maddy’s birthday. Luckily we got it right for her second baby, Sophia, born in 2004.
April – POZ put famed photographer Herb Ritts on the cover following his death from “complications due to pneumonia.” Though the openly gay Ritts never publicly disclosed his HIV status, it was an open secret in Hollywood. The cover story questioned why the mainstream media never mentioned the “A” word in connection with the death of the 50-year-old artist.
Fall – POZ published Meds Health—a special issue on long-term treatment, which was designed as a spoof of the popular health and fitness magazine. Men’s Health publisher Rodale enjoyed the joke but politely told us not to do it again.
October – Freelancer (and future managing editor) Jennifer Morton got stuck in the elevator during her first week on the job. Though the episode was a bit traumatic, she eventually escaped and decided to stick around. The elevator continued to be far less reliable than “Mama” Morton.
December – Prison peer educator Kathy Boudin came to the office to answer staffers’ questions about HIV behind bars. Boudin had recently been released after 22 years in a New York state women’s prison. POZ and many others in the HIV community supported her campaign for release because of her groundbreaking work with those who were living with HIV in prison.
February – For our 10th anniversary issue, Strub came up with the idea to have Spencer Tunick (an artist known for his large installations of naked people) shoot a cover with HIV-positive individuals gathered at Florent. The rest, as they say, is history. The making of the cover was captured in the award-winning HBO documentary Positively Naked.
August – Chloe Dzubilo became the first transgendered woman on a POZ cover when she appeared with nine other HIV-positive individuals for a story on facial wasting in September 2002. She then bared it all as part of our 10th anniversary cover. So when we decided to do an entire feature on HIV in the transgendered community, we knew Chloe had to be our cover girl.
September – In his final publisher’s letter, Brad Peebles wrote about using the cancer drug hydroxyurea, an experimental treatment for HIV. The following month, the magazine ran a feature story on the drug. During his five years at POZ, Peebles discussed many of his treatment experiences in his publisher’s letters.
September – POZ moved into our current office space in Midtown across from Bryant Park. The company had recently been sold to CDM Publishing, which expanded our website (POZ.com)and the company’s technical capabilities.
Winter – Real Health, The Guide to Black Wellness was created to address the need for information about HIV in the African-American community.
Valentine’s Day – POZ Personals was launched. Today, more than 76,000 members look for that special someone on POZ.com.
September – POZ joined forces with Housing Works and the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) to promote the Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA). The campaign’s mission is to create a nationwide network of grassroots AIDS activists.
September – After nearly 10 years, Walter Armstrong bid adieu to the magazine. His farewell fête at Florent was a night to remember. Angelo Ragaza became the interim editor-in-chief after Armstrong’s departure.
October – Former senior editor Leroy Whitfield died of HIV-related kidney disease. Whitfield was one of the nation’s leading journalists on HIV in the black community. POZ joined a broad community of support at his memorial.
January – Longtime “Anonymous” columnist Regan Hofmann was hired as editor-in-chief. She disclosed her HIV status to the world by appearing on the April cover and subsequently told her story in The New York Times, Vogue, Marie Claire, New York magazine and on Good Morning America, CNN and NPR.
February – POZ’s parent company acquired AIDSmeds.com from founder Peter Staley, cinching the company’s treatment expertise. (AIDSmeds’ current president, Tim Horn, was once a science editor at POZ.)
May – POZ held Love Out Loud, its first fund-raiser for AIDS Walk New York. The event was such a hit that it continues to this day—in 2007, a West Coast version was held for AIDS Walk Los Angeles.
September – “Positoid” Shawn Decker and wife-partner Gwenn Barringer appeared on the cover. This marked Shawn’s fourth POZ cover—more than anyone else in our 15-year history.
October – Hofmann and staffer Marvelyn Brown appeared with several other HIV-positive women and POZ coverboy Magic Johnson on The Oprah Winfrey Show as part of a program on HIV/AIDS in America.
July – Lights! Camera! Action! POZ.com expanded its coverage to include video interviews at the fourth International AIDS Society Conference in Sydney. The POZ and AIDSmeds editors continue to travel the globe to provide readers with up-to- date treatment info.
July/August – Hofmann journeyed to Taiwan, Vietnam and Australia as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau to talk about fighting stigma. Media coverage about her visit to an orphanage in Taiwan piqued the interest of prominent officials; as a result, the orphanage, which had been in danger of losing its housing, secured its lease.
September – And the Freddie Award goes to...POZ.com. The International Health and Medical Media Awards recognized our website in the Infectious Diseases category.
November – Tu Salud, the Guide to Latino Health, was created. The following year, POZ’s deputy editor Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. was hired to oversee Tu Salud and the Spanish-language content on POZ.com.
Spring – Hofmann appeared in a Kenneth Cole ad in its campaign titled “We All Walk in Different Shoes.” It celebrated the brand’s 25th anniversary and “focused on individuals who live their lives in a non-uniform way—either by their own choice or circumstance.”
April – POZ signed a 10-year agreement with the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) to jointly build NAPWA’s membership to give the HIV community an independent, representative voice on Capitol Hill.
June – Hofmann served as the first HIV-positive member of the U.S. delegation to UNGASS, the United Nation’s biannual global meeting on HIV/AIDS.
October – POZ.com won the MM&M Award for the best health care online media brand, besting WebMD and proving that size really doesn’t matter.
October – POZ dedicated its entire issue to the notion of what a national AIDS strategy should look like.
World AIDS Day – POZ presented Bacharach to the Future, a fund-raising event for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, in which stars performed Burt Bacharach songs. Isn’t that what friends are for?
January – POZ staffers bonded together in the conference room to witness the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama. Flag cupcakes were enjoyed by all. Hope (and a collective sugar high) abounds.
January – Jethro, a chimp used for medical research, became the January cover subject and marked the seventh time that an animal has been on the POZ cover. The other six: Elizabeth Taylor’s dog, Sugar, November 1997; the bareback horse, February 1999; Greg Louganis’s dog, Nipper, March 1999; Stephen Gendin’s dog, Zoom; a random dog in drag, July/August 2003; and the horses behind the Stirling family, January/February 2008.
March – POZ.com is a finalist for editorial excellence in min’s Best of the Web awards. Upon learning that Sports Illustrated won the award, our editors envision a POZ swimsuit issue...
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Search: anniversary, Sean Strub, Walter Armstrong, Rebekka Armstrong, John Dugdale, Elizabeth Taylor, Greg Louganis, Jack Mackenroth, Phill Wilson, Magic Johnson, Stephen Gendin, Dennis Daniel, Laura Whitehorn, Dawn Averitt Bridge, Jennifer Morton, Kathy Boudin, Spencer Tunick, Chloe Dzubilo, Florent, Angelo Ragaza, Leroy Whitfield, Regan Hofmann, Love Out Loud, Peter Staley, Shawn Decker, Marvelyn Brown, Kenneth Cole
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