Regarding “Just Add Water,” POZ’s April profile of Jack Mackenroth, a champion swimmer and Project Runway contestant: Jack, thank you for the courage and conviction you have shown throughout [Project Runway, which he left after acquiring a staph infection unrelated to his HIV], and I wish you the best. It’s always nice to hear of someone else with a strong enough sense of self to realize that [HIV] is not who we are but merely a part of what makes us amazing people.
I wonder if POZ would be spending so much time fawning over Mr. Mackenroth if he did not look like a super-model? He certainly has not had a rough life in comparison to the hundreds of other gay men who merely “survive,” let alone attend a major university and hobnob with Olympians. Once again I don’t see the face of “real gay men” when it comes to our own media. Even with something as serious as HIV only the pretty need apply.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Thank you for the wonderful article “Sweet Home Alabama” (April 2008), about Caleb Glover, the HIV-positive toddler who was banned from a resort swimming pool. I am Caleb’s former Sunday school teacher. I remember [Caleb’s mother] Silvia was afraid of how others would feel about Caleb coming to class in the beginning. I didn’t think it was fair that he would not come to class, and I promised to tell her if anyone said anything. That was the beginning of Caleb stealing my heart.
Like Randy Boyd, who wrote “Halftime Show” (April 2008), I seroconverted at 23, in 1980. Hence I have actually lived longer with the virus than without. Now with all that I’ve managed to survive and deal with it seems a bit ironic that my concerns are that I’m more likely to die of a stroke, heart attack or some such old-fogey sorta thing. Who’da thunk?
I can totally identify with the story “Late Date” (April 2008), about people being diagnosed with late-stage AIDS. When I tested positive, I was diagnosed with AIDS and lymphoma all in the same week. The first doctor I saw completely ignored my symptoms for over a year. But the story has a happy ending—I beat cancer and HIV. Three years later I’m undetectable with a 300-plus and rising T-cell count.
A Mother’s Love
My son, who is 46 years old and HIV positive, works with HIV treatment specialists and caregivers. He has dedicated his career to improving the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.
From reading Suzan Stirling’s story “A Stirling Example” (Jan/Feb 2008), I could tell those beautiful children didn’t hold any animosity toward their mother [for contracting HIV prenatally]. Families need to fully support each other regardless of what happens, for no one knows what his or her destiny will be. My son knows we love him and are very proud of his accomplishments, but it would put the icing on the cake if he read my letter in POZ.