May 2, 2011
Openly gay and HIV-positive New York State Senator, community champion and hero, positive for 30 years.
June 5, 2011, marks 30 years since the first published accounts of what
became known as AIDS. For this anniversary, we asked 31 long-term
survivors who’ve appeared in POZ what
moves and sustains them and whether they think they’ll live to see a
cure. Why 31? One for each year, and one more for good luck.
What’s the most helpful thing anyone has said to you over your years living with HIV?
Every HIV-positive person—closeted or not—who has whispered or simply said, “Thank you” to me for being open about my HIV status.
What change or development in your treatment for HIV has most affected your life—for better or worse?
Mental health services.
What is your refuge from thinking about and dealing with your health?
What has been your major economic challenge since testing positive?
Maintaining health insurance coverage.
What one thing has most aided your survival, and how difficult is it to overcome stigma?
Loving and supportive family and friends have most aided my survival. Their emotional support has been very important to my well-being.
As a male, Caucasian elected official, my experience with stigma cannot begin to compare with the stigma and discrimination I see faced by others living with HIV every day.
Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime—and if so, will you benefit from it?
I hope, but do not expect it.
What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed?
Keep working to stop others from becoming HIV positive.
to read this article as it
appeared in the June 2011 issue.
read more of our "30 Years of AIDS" coverage.
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