Take A Bow
“The POZ 100” by Regan Hofmann (December 2010) recognized some of the bravest and most effective AIDS fighters in our communities.
My hat tips to all who made this list, for their efforts often go unrewarded. One obvious [person] missing in my world is Dab Garner. He travels the world every week to advocate and educate on every part of this disease, and if our community were without him, along with the others listed, we would be in a very bad spot. Dab, you are my No. 1 and a hero. Love you! Keep up the incredible work you do for our community.
Mazel tov, Eric Sawyer and Charles King! Well deserved and said! However, where's the award for every HIV-positive person in this country who has to fight to obtain services and medications from bureaucracies and politicians that would sooner see them dead than have their lunch or self-serving political and economic agendas [interrupted]? These battles are fought uncounted times every day. These [HIV-positive people] are not the celebrated “beautiful people”? Survival is the reward.
Thank you for including our CEO Marjorie Hill, PhD, and board member Robert Fullilove, PhD. Thank you also for including former Gay Men's Health Crisis staff members Gregg Gonsalves, Robert Barr and Ronald Johnson. Congratulations to all 100!
New York City
David Evans' “Stress Test” (December 2010) explored how HIV can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, conversely, how PTSD can lead to risky behavior—such as the case of Jeff Nehrbas, whose PTSD resulted from childhood sexual abuse.
Wow, that defines me to a T. I have been through the same scenario and am still having difficult times. I am seeing a good therapist, and progress has been made, but sometimes it just won't go away. I pray that one day I will be free from the negativity and hostility that have lived in my body since I was [sexually abused as] a little boy.
The relationship between PTSD and HIV is not talked about enough. It's really important and speaks to many in this community, so thank you for running this piece, and Jeff, for sharing your story. I also developed PTSD as a result of childhood trauma and feel I took sexual risks due to the effects. Sexual trauma sets people up for HIV in a lot of circumstances. One's boundaries are violated again and again, and drawing them as an adult can often feel unsafe. I wanted to add that somatic experiencing (SE) has to date been the most effective means of dealing with trauma for me. Talk therapy can only go so far, but SE deals with cellular memory and releasing the trauma from the nervous system. A great book on the subject is Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine.
Jeff, you are brave to tell this story. It will help many people. Stay strong buddy!
“Healing Touch” (December 2010) profiled Jacki Gethner, who uses her skills as a massage therapist to improve the lives, minds and bodies of people living with HIV.
I find Jacki Gethner's work extremely commendable. I'm in awe of how she overcame the stigmas of the disease and allowed herself to bring aid and comfort to those suffering. Keep up the good work, Jacki!