Here are the winners of the Third Annual POZ Awards as voted for by POZ readers. Congratulations to all!
Best Celebrity Advocate: Karl Schmid
The ABC newscaster won our hearts when he came out as HIV positive via a heartwarming social media post. He inspired people living with HIV the world over and then promoted the U=U message in media interviews.
Best in Film or Television: 1985
Yen Tan’s simple black-and-white portrait of a gay man living with HIV coming home to see his family—and unearthing their secrets—created a stir on the independent film festival circuit. The titular year tells you everything you need to know about this human drama.
Best Actor or Actress in Film or Television: Cory Michael Smith (1985)
As a gay man living with HIV returning home to make peace with his troubled childhood and family, Smith is quietly devastating in this underseen film.
Best Video Series: Revolutionary Health (Counter Narrative Project)
The Atlanta-based Counter Narrative Project builds power among Black gay men, and the group’s ongoing video series includes some real talk about dating, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), happiness, full body massage, HIV treatment and...beards.
Best in Performing and Visual Arts: Cell Count (Visual AIDS)
In this Visual AIDS exhibit curated by Kyle Croft and Asher Mones, two dozen artists and performers “unpack the metaphors and assumptions that enable the punishment and incarceration of people living with HIV [with] sardonic humor and imaginative revisions.” The exhibit takes on the criminal justice and health care systems.
Best in Literature, Fiction and Nonfiction: Punishing Disease: HIV and the Criminalization of Sickness (Trevor Hoppe)
“Punishing Disease looks at how HIV was transformed from sickness to badness under the criminal law,” writes Hoppe in the intro to his book. The result is a historical look at our discomfort with illness, which, while it predates AIDS, has few harsher examples than the treatment of people living with HIV.
Best Media Campaign for People Living With HIV: “Let’s Stop HIV Together” (CDC)
This ongoing campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) produced new content that focuses on HIV stigma. As the campaign title suggests, the CDC believes everyone has a role to play in stopping HIV stigma—regardless of HIV status.
Best HIV Prevention Media Campaign: “Viva PrEP” (Instituto Familiar de la Raza)
This gorgeous Spanish-language campaign from the San Francisco–based Instituto Familiar de la Raza offers culturally specific information on PrEP by putting it into the context of a strong family heritage and the importance of pride and holistic health. ¡Que hermosa e importante campaña!
Best Reason to Keep Acting Up: #AIDS2020forAll
The International AIDS Society, which produces the International AIDS Conference every two years, is in hot water with HIV advocacy groups for not relocating its AIDS 2020 conference from San Francisco in light of the Trump administration’s assault on immigrants, those seeking asylum and people living with HIV. Activists also decry the fact that sex workers and those with a history of drug use face serious barriers to travel into the United States, leaving in doubt their very attendance at AIDS 2020.