Nathan Henry’s earliest childhood memories involve people with AIDS. That’s because his father, Keith Henry, MD, opened Minnesota’s first HIV clinic in 1985, a year before Nathan was born. “HIV/AIDS has been a dominant force in my life ever since I can remember,” the HIV-negative ally tells POZ, adding that for 11 years he has worked or volunteered at Camp Heartland (a program of One Heartland), a summer camp for youth living with and affected by HIV. Sadly, Henry lost his best friend to AIDS last spring. “She was 26,” he says. “It was devastating for me. I didn’t know where to channel my sadness and anger until I came up with the idea of a podcast where people could share their HIV/AIDS experiences.”
The result is Red Ribbon Revolution: The HIV Podcast. Available online for free, the episodes include interviews with a variety of people touched by this epidemic, including inspiring youth who were born HIV positive, a nurse whose father died of AIDS-related illness and, of course, an experienced AIDS doctor—Nathan’s dad.
In the process, the episodes explore topics such as stigma, family, community, romantic relationships, caregiving, disclosure and basic facts about the virus.
“The primary goal is to build a podcast community of unconditional love and support for people living with HIV/AIDS,” says Henry, who conducts all the interviews. “At the same time, I want it to be an informative and up-to-date resource where people can learn about medications, current HIV research and HIV/AIDS history.”
Tune in to Nathan Henry’s Red Ribbon Revolution: The HIV Podcast and you’ll hear some interviewees mention Camp Heartland (a program of One Heartland), a summer camp in Willow River, Minnesota, for youth living with and affected by HIV. “It’s impossible to overestimate how important it is for kids to realize they are not the only ones living with HIV/AIDS,” says Henry, who has worked at the camp for several years. “Also, because HIV tends to afflict already marginalized communities, [the camp] allows kids, who would never get the chance, to go to a summer camp where they can swim, fish and just be kids. I look at it as one week of intensive psychosocial therapy.” The camp is now celebrating 25 years. Visit OneHeartland.org to read 25 tales from 25 alumni that will warm your heart.