Here are the winners of the Fourth Annual POZ Awards as voted for by POZ readers. Congratulations to all!
Best Celebrity Advocate: Prince Harry
Prince Harry continues to demonstrate his rightful place as heir to Princess Diana’s legacy of HIV awareness and compassion. His calendar remains packed with engagements that focus on his commitment to HIV, and his recent embrace of HIV-positive rugby star Gareth Thomas is the latest example.
Best in Film or Television: 5B
This documentary chronicling the first AIDS ward at San Francisco General Hospital is required viewing and has been screened at events and conferences all over the country. The tears it elicits are well earned, but the film doesn’t begin and end with tragedy alone. Much humanity is on display, along with inspiration and optimism.
Best Actor or Actress in Film or Television: Chauntae Pink
As the lead performer of the YouTube comedy POZ ROZ, Chauntae Pink anchors the short-form series with charm and strength by the truckload. Her character, Rozzlyn Mayweather, leads a carefree life filled with gay BFFs, sorority soirees, Black Twitter arguments and woke posts on her social media—until an HIV diagnosis crashes the party.
Best Video Series: PrEP Works
London-based PrEPster has been producing creative, cheeky advocacy content for years now—a critical mission, given the slow governmental uptake of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) in the United Kingdom. Its “PrEP Works” series is notable for its global content. Advocates, health care providers and people who use PrEP share their experiences with PrEP’s use, efficacy and reputation in society.
Best in Performing and Visual Arts: Transformation Tunnel
On the Atlanta Beltline, an urban walking trail and park project, passersby are confronted by a gorgeous mural, located at the heart of an area of Atlanta hit hard by the epidemic. “We Are All Thriving With HIV!” the mural proclaims. All five of the mural’s artists—John Burnett, Lisette Correa, Ajmal Millar, Maite Nazario and Ash Walsh—are impacted by HIV in some way, and their personal commitment is evident in the artwork, which was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Start Talking. Stop HIV” campaign in partnership with Living Walls Atlanta.
Best in Literature: Nurses on the Inside: Stories of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in NYC
We are all about any project that gives nurses their due, and Nurses on the Inside is a prime example. It is written by two nurses—Ellen Matzer and Valery Hughes—who witnessed the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic from the front line. Some of the story is raw and sometimes graphic, but the sights, sounds and smells of their workplace will be familiar to any of us who have been there. Have you thanked a nurse today?
Best Reason to Keep Acting Up: #PrEP4All
This activism has produced no less than a House of Representatives congressional hearing, at least one major lawsuit and an ongoing skirmish between the powerful pharma complex and grassroots activists. What is at stake? The profits and patents from the development of Truvada and Descovy as PrEP and the not-so-wild chance that billions could end up returned to the CDC and used for HIV programs. People underestimated #PrEP4All activists when they started questioning the system, but they’re not doing that anymore.