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:

Merce, Season 2

Merce is back! Produced by HIV-positive writer and actor Charles Sanchez and his producing partner Tyne Firmin (who also directs and plays Merce’s mama), this award-winning HIV-positive musical comedy web series returns for a second season, filled with bawdy jokes, silly songs, romance, family drama, all with its own brand of indie charm. Available on Vimeo and YouTube, this season talks about more issues than its freshman effort, including the bubbly hero being in a serodiscordant relationship, talks of U=U, PrEP, slut shaming and gay marriage. It’s all that and a bag of sequins!


This three-part dynamic documentary digital series is produced by the Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative (MOBI) and filmed by NYC-based filmmaker and videographer LaQuann Dawson. The series of three provocative 30-minute films show the complexities in LGBTQ life, including discussions of sex, sex work, HIV and mental health in queer communities of color. Each film brings together artists from different mediums and uniquely blends together different styles — documentary, music video, short scenes, movement — to create emotional vignettes. The subjects are organized together in hues of red for sex, green for mental health and yellow to highlight LGBTQ identity and community. These films are beautiful, raw, unfiltered views of Black artists, with nothing held back.

WINNER: Still Beginning: A Day With(out) Art

To commemorate the 30th Day With(out) Art, Visual AIDS commissioned artists Shanti Avirgan, Nguyen Tan Hoang, Carl George, Viva Ruiz, Iman Shervington, Jack Waters/Victor F.M. Torres, and Derrick Woods-Morrow to create a kaleidoscope of short videos in response to the ongoing HIV pandemic. The result was Still Beginning, a bold and creative collection of films with topics like anti-stigma, public sex, ongoing AIDS activism and intergenerational conversations. The seven works together create a powerful hour-long program, which was screened on World AIDS Day/A Day With(out) Art on December 1, 2019, in over 115 locations across the United States and internationally in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom!