\"This Positive Life\" is an ongoing podcast series from TheBody.com in which people with HIV living around the globe share their personal stories.
This Positive Life
"This Positive Life" is an ongoing podcast series from TheBody.com in which people with HIV living around the globe share their personal stories.
An Interview With Bernard Jackson
14 May 2012 at 12:00pm
In 1999, Bernard Jackson's wife passed away in the hospital weeks after being given an AIDS diagnosis. That's how Bernard learned he was HIV positive -- but he was so consumed with shock, loss and caring for his young daughter that years went by before he was able to process his own diagnosis. "[Sharing my story] was how I started building myself back up ... and seeing that what I thought was the end for me was actually a beginning," he reports today.
An Interview With Oliver W. Martin III
8 Jun 2011 at 10:20am
In 1986, when Oliver W. Martin III was diagnosed with HIV, then called GRID, he wasn't alone. His younger brother, who was also same-gender-loving, was diagnosed at the same time. But for a decade, the two of them told almost no one. Only when effective HIV treatment became available did they share their diagnoses with their large, tightly-knit family. Since that time, Oliver's dedicated himself to furthering HIV prevention and sexuality education in faith communities.
An Interview With Shana Cozad
17 Mar 2011 at 2:02pm
In 1993, as a 21-year old new mom, Shana Cozad could not have been less worried about HIV. "It was commonly referred to as a drug user's disease. It was commonly associated as a gay disease," she remembers; "The stigmas and the discrimination and the unsupportiveness attitudes all around the globe around this disease were peaked at an all-time crisis high." Shana herself didn't do drugs, and she had not had many sexual experiences, but she was not a fan of condoms. "I remember getting an HIV test when I was 20, pregnant with my son, and thinking, 'I don't understand why you guys are doing this to me. ... It's those other people out there w...
An Interview With Marvelyn Brown
1 Feb 2011 at 4:29pm
After being hospitalized and close to death, Marvelyn Brown found out that she was HIV positive. She was 19 at the time. But she made a choice early on to speak out and educate her community about HIV instead of being silent. Since her diagnosis, Marvelyn has written a book, won an Emmy and been featured in countless magazines and television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show.
An Interview With Michelle Lopez
28 Sep 2010 at 9:00pm
"The secret to my survival is that I want to live," says HIV/AIDS advocate, mother and long-term HIV survivor Michelle Lopez. Back in 1991, Michelle left behind a partner who beat her and, she would soon learn, knowingly put her at risk for HIV. With nothing but her infant daughter, Michelle set out to find help -- and help did come, in the form of a subway ad for community health services. She sought out the agency, got her HIV diagnosis (and her daughter's) and got right into care and services. For the past 17 years she's been on staff at that very same agency, helping immigrants and women facing similar challenges to the ones she once f...
An Interview With HIV Prevention Activist Jose Ramirez
12 Aug 2010 at 9:00pm
"HIV was just something added on the plate that I had to learn how to deal with," says Jose Ramirez. Jose survived sexual abuse, a stint at a sadistic boarding school, visits to war-torn El Salvador and being kicked out of his father's house because he was gay -- all before his 17th birthday. At 17, he found out a much-older boyfriend had passed HIV to him.For Jose, becoming an advocate for immigrants, rape survivors and LGBT youths was his way of using his own negative experiences to empower his community. "It's stuff that happens to a lot of people, and a lot of people can't talk about it," he says. "Once you hear someone else talk about...
An Interview With Esmeralda (Part Two)
19 May 2010 at 5:00pm
Esmeralda, 37, forges a successful new path for herself and her children, and manages to find love along the way.
An Interview With Esmeralda (Part One)
19 May 2010 at 4:00pm
Esmeralda was 25 when her husband died of AIDS, leaving her HIV positive, with one baby and another on the way.
Gary: Growing Older With Grace, Good Humor and HIV
10 Mar 2010 at 4:00pm
"I never expected to be this alive at this point," Gary said to himself on his 60th birthday last year. Diagnosed with HIV in 1992, Gary has survived the tragic loss of his partner, a bout with prostate cancer and a heart condition. In this edition of This Positive Life, Gary talks candidly about his health, his family, the challenges of dating, and how he went from denial of his HIV diagnosis to being a knowledgeable HIV/AIDS advocate.
Marama Pala: Living With HIV Where Everybody Knows Your Name
11 Jan 2010 at 4:00pm
When indigenous New Zealander Marama Pala was diagnosed with HIV, she didn't have the option of telling her loved ones on her own terms. "Because we are such a tight-knit community ... news of my diagnosis spread like wildfire," she explains. In this interview, Marama talks about being an HIV/AIDS activist in her indigenous community -- as well as finding love and having children with her husband, who's also HIV-positive.
Enrique Franco: Living Openly as a Gay, Positive Man in the Hispanic Community
11 Nov 2009 at 4:00pm
The U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy got Enrique Franco discharged from the Army. It also, oddly, was the reason he found out he was HIV positive. As Franco explains in this moving interview, diagnosis turned his life upside down, but he's now standing tall. "This is my body, this is my life," he says. "I'm not going to stop living. I refuse to put my head down."
Former Pop Star Sherri Lewis Talks About Living With HIV
1 Oct 2009 at 4:00pm
In 1987, Sherri Lewis, who had been the singer in a popular New York City rock band and had appeared on national TV, decided to settle down and get married. But a few months before the wedding, she learned she was HIV positive. She was crushed by the test results. Her fiancé, it turned out, was HIV negative. "We were told we couldn't kiss. We were told saliva had HIV in it," Lewis recalls. "I remember telling my husband under my wedding veil, 'Don't kiss me.'" Although her fiancé stuck by her side, her life was forever changed. "I have succeeded at living with HIV, and living healthy with it," she says. "But it took a big bite out of my li...
Justin B. Smith, Openly Positive and Living Without Stigma
2 Sep 2009 at 4:00pm
Justin B. Smith may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own blog and Web site, and he's even on YouTube. And who can blame him? Only 29, he already has an incredible story to tell. Justin admits he used to live "a very dangerous life," but since his diagnosis three years ago, the former heavy drinker and drug user has turned his life around. In this moving, one-on-one interview, Justin walks us through some of the key moments in his life, including the day in 2006 when he was diagnosed with HIV, his experiences dealing with stigma and ignorance, and his stint in the military as an openly gay man.
Coping With HIV: A Lifelong Journey -- An Interview With Sarah
15 Jun 2009 at 4:00pm
"I can't say that I've fully processed my HIV diagnosis because it has affected me in different ways at different stages of my life," says Sarah, who has been living with HIV her entire life. Growing up in the 1980s in a small, conservative, religious community, Sarah faced all the burdens of being an HIV-positive kid in an ignorant world. In the latest edition of our ongoing series This Positive Life, Sarah talks candidly about how HIV took away part of her childhood, forcing her to "face stuff that is hard for grownups to deal with." Now a grown, married woman herself, Sarah hopes to one day reach out to HIV-positive children.
Jimmy Mack: A Long Night's Journey Into Day
3 Jun 2009 at 4:00pm
When Jimmy Mack discovered he was HIV positive, it was 1987, and an HIV diagnosis was essentially a death sentence. So instead of going to a doctor for treatment, he dived into a different kind of medicine: cocaine and alcohol. His journey out of addiction was difficult, but Jimmy has now been clean and sober for more than 15 years -- and he's got an undetectable viral load to boot.