October 11 is National Coming Out Day. The first person I ever told I was gay was my best friend in high school in 1987. I didn’t tell my parents I was gay until 1996. That same friend was the first person I told I was HIV positive in 1992. I didn’t tell my parents I had HIV until 2008.

For those of you who may not have seen this before, I shared the details of that journey coming out about being gay and again about having HIV in the October 2008 issue of POZ.

comingoutagain1.jpgI’m certainly much more comfortable than ever about disclosing I’m gay or that I have HIV, but no matter how “out” I may think I am, there’s always someone new I meet who doesn’t know. When it comes to this reality, I know that I’m far from alone.

As American society becomes increasingly accepting of LGBT people, it becomes easier every year for LGBT people to come out. Sadly, I do not see the same trend to the same extent for people with HIV/AIDS.

Although countless people with HIV have openly disclosed their status, stigma still rules the day. That said, I believe stigma can be overcome as long as those of us who can disclose we have HIV continue to do so.

On this National Coming Out Day, I do have one more “coming out” story to share with you all: I’ve been named editor-in-chief of POZ. My friend and colleague Regan Hofmann has started an exciting new chapter in her life as a global health consultant. I wish her all the best.

I look forward to the challenge and privilege of sharing your stories!