Welcome to the 8th Annual POZ Awards, spotlighting the best representatives of HIV and 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, 2022, and September 30, 2023.


A Pill for Promiscuity: Gay Sex in the Age of Pharmaceuticals

What does it mean that both people living with HIV and HIV-negative people are both taking pills? Edited by Andrew Spieldenner, the head of global health nonprofit MPact, this volume brings together activists, academics and more from a variety of backgrounds to reflect on what it means to be sexual in the age of biomedical prevention, including the use of pills such as PrEP and PEP. That means not only discussing the positive aspects, but the stigma that remains on queer sexuality, including bareback sex. Contributors include novelist Andrew Holleran, porn director Mister Pam, and more, each provoking questions about the current landscape of queer sex. 

Dispatches from the AIDS Pandemic: A Public Health Story

By Kevin M. De Cock, Harold W. Jaffe, and James W. Curran; Edited by Robin Moseley

As we enter the fourth decade of the AIDS crisis, three leaders in the field of public health have taken the time in Dispatches to look back at the earliest cases of AIDS in California and New York, all the way up to the current milieu of HIV treatment and research. First incubated in The Global Health Chronicles, an oral history project of AIDS at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the book gives the perspective of the AIDS epidemic from within the agency’s walls. 

In Her Hands: Women’s Fight Against AIDS in the United States

By Emma Day 

Still, decades into the AIDS epidemic, the record needs correcting when it comes to womens’ role in the fight against the HIV crisis. Aiding in that work is Day’s book In Her Hands, which explores five different ways that women participated in AIDS activism, including transmission and recognition, reproductive justice, safer sex campaigns, the carceral state, and HIV prevention and treatment. The book aims to change the understanding of women’s role in the response to AIDS “beyond their exclusion from the initial medical response and the roel women played as the supporters of gay men.”

The Other Pandemic: An AIDS Memoir

By Lynn Curlee

For many people in the AIDS community, the COVID-19 pandemic felt especially resonant. As the number of deaths rose week by week, the pandemic forced people who had lived through the ongoing AIDS crisis to take stock of what public health lessons we had learned and not learned. In The Other Pandemic, author Lynn Curlee explores the parallels between the two epidemics, including recounting the death of his many friends and his life partner. By looking back, Curlee hopes to give us deeper wisdom to face the present. 

World Made of Glass

By Ami Polonsky

At a time when LGBTQ stories meant for young adults are being pulled from library shelves, World Made of Glass is a story for young people about activism and breaking silence. In the novel, Iris is facing the death of her father, who is living with HIV, though she feels she cannot talk about it due to the stigma. What follows is her own wrestling with the silence surrounding the virus and her journey to face the misinformation and prejudice around AIDS. The book, which earned a starred review in Kirkus, has been called a “poetry-filled, inspiring call to activism.” 

Vote: POZ Awards 2023 / Best in Literature