Welcome to the 5th Annual POZ Awards, which spotligh the best representations of HIV/AIDS in media and culture.

The POZ editorial staff selects the nominees, but POZ readers choose the winners.

Eligible nominees were active or were presented, published or produced between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020.

Be sure to vote for your favorite nominees by the World AIDS Day deadline: Tuesday, December 1, 2020. 


Here are the nominees:

WINNER: AIDS Walk: Live from Home

With so many events being cancelled this year because of COVID-19, it seemed likely that the iconic annual AIDS Walks in New York and San Francisco would be as well. But GMHC in New York and San Francisco’s PRC joined forces and, in partnership with iHeart Media, launched a virtual extravaganza, AIDS Walk: Live from Home, held July 19,2020. The star-studded event benefited not only GMHC and PRC, but also more than 45 other agencies that provide HIV/AIDS care, advocacy and prevention services throughout the tri-state and Bay areas. And studded with stars it was! Bette Midler, Vanessa Williams, Matt Bomer, Alan Cumming, Laura Linney, Gloria Estefan, Megan Hilty and Ross Matthews all made appearances, plus Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and a few of RuPaul’s Drag Race stars to even things out! And that’s just to name a few. And Matt Bomer! (We know we mentioned him before, but he’s always worth repeating.)

Broadway Bares: Zoom In

Hot, young, delicious Broadway dancers taking off their clothes. What’s not to love? The annual Broadway Bares live fundraising event benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has been raising spirits along with HIV awareness since 1992. Due to the new coronavirus, the sexy event went virtual this year, taking the live performance online (with close-ups!) on August 1, 2020, and raising $596,504. The event also included several special celebrity guest appearances from the likes of Nathan Lane, Jane Krakowski, Judith Light, Lea DeLaria and Charles Busch. This year the funds raised will not only benefit HIV/AIDS causes, but will also be used to benefit those affected by COVID-19 and other critical illnesses, as well as organizations supporting anti-racism and social justice causes. Stripping dancers and social justice? We’re in!

Elton John Classic Concerts

For almost 30 years, the fabulous glam pop star’s Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised funds and awareness about HIV and people affected by the epidemic. This year, the EJAF added those affected by COVID-19 to the mission by creating the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. The new fund supports the foundation’s partners response to the new pandemic while continuing HIV prevention and care in vulnerable communities. To raise money for the fund, Elton John began streaming some of his most glorious classic concert performances for six weeks over the summer on his YouTube channel. Is there a better way to forget your troubles than to sing along with Elton circa 1976, while he’s dressed in sequins, feathers, rhinestone glasses and platform shoes? We don’t think so.