I was touched by your decision to put Nashville’s Marvelyn Brown, a 21-year-old positive activist, on the cover of your January 2006 issue. Marvelyn is the type of person so many people like me can relate to, because she is an everyday person, not a celebrity. HIV has come a long way as far as discrimination and stigma go, but it still exists, especially in the South. I work for one of the largest ASOs in the Southeast, and I devote my life to putting a “real” face on this disease. It’s easy to get confused about where to turn for the most accurate and current information. After I was diagnosed with HIV, seven years ago, my doctor told me about POZ, and I have not missed an issue since. So from the bottom of my heart, I would like to give a big Southern hug to all of you at POZ for giving people living with HIV and AIDS a place we can depend on and trust.
Help Is On The Way
POZ has been a lifesaver for me and so many of my friends. At first, it was hard for me to read it, because reality is often scary. However, I have come to realize that not having the information POZ provides is far scarier. Now, I feel that there are so many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual options available. A happier, healthier life is in fact a reality. And there’s nothing scary about that at all.
I really enjoyed reading Angelo Ragaza’s editor letter (“What’s in Your Notebook?” January 2006) about approaching the New Year. Ragaza says to celebrate all that you accomplished in the previous year. I love that! In March, I celebrated my 11-year survival of HIV. And I did it with a nice glass of wine.
Free To Choose
I was diagnosed in 1988 and spent 15 years in the Tennessee Department of Correction facilities without any HIV/AIDS treatment education. Having read your article (“Breaking Out” January 2006) about life after prison for people with HIV, I want to tell all you ex-prisoners: Don’t ditch your HIV education classes or your ASO case managers. If you do, you’ll ditch yourself—and a range of support.
Though I’m not HIV positive and don’t have AIDS, I really appreciate POZ. Your magazine conveys love and concern for people with HIV. The frank stories of people’s lives, the way difficult subjects are approached with a sense of humor and the way you try to see the bright side of things are inspiring. As someone who plans to enter the nursing field, I see POZ as a model for education about other illnesses. I look forward to the next issue.