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Quality of Life: Comfort Is Key with a New Treatment • Shut Up and Dance

FEBRUARY 2013 • ISSUE 220 • AmERIcA’S AIDS mAgAzInE

Long Live the Queen Actress Gina Ravera Promotes Wellness & Empowerment Through Project Reina

Stand Tall Photographer Edo Zollo Snaps Thirty People Living with HIV/AIDS

plus Guillermo Fornillo • Sade Oyinade

Kylie Minogue Love at First Sight $3.95 USA • $4.95 CANADA


What is STRIBILD? STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. It combines 4 medicines into 1 pill to be taken once a day with food. STRIBILD is a complete single-tablet regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking STRIBILD. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects: t Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. t Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. t You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.

t Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking STRIBILD, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. STRIBILD is not approved for the treatment of HBV. Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you: t Take a medicine that contains: alfuzosin, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, cisapride, lovastatin, simvastatin, pimozide, sildenafil when used for lung problems (Revatio®), triazolam, oral midazolam, rifampin or the herb St. John’s wort. t For a list of brand names for these medicines, please see the Brief Summary on the following pages. t Take any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection, or the medicine adefovir (Hepsera®). What are the other possible side effects of STRIBILD? Serious side effects of STRIBILD may also include: t New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do regular blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with STRIBILD. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD. t Bone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. t Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. t Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking STRIBILD. The most common side effects of STRIBILD include nausea and diarrhea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? t All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. t All the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Do not start any new medicines while taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. t If you take hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc). t If you take antacids. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD. t If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD. t If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Also, some medicines in STRIBILD can pass into breast milk, and it is not known if this can harm the baby. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.


STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used as a complete single-tablet regimen to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.

I started my personal revolution Talk to your healthcare provider about starting treatment. NEW STRIBILD is a complete HIV-1 treatment in 1 pill, once a day.

Ask if it’s right for you.


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c o n t e n t s February 2013 36 Cover Actress & Singer Kylie Minogue Chats with A&U’s Sean Black About Her Dazzling Dedication to amfAR, Caring for Those in Need & How She Arrived at a Deeper Understanding of Living with HIV/AIDS

Features

Departments

24 Gallery

6

Frontdesk

Photographer Edo Zollo Puts the

8

Mailbox

Focus on Diversity in the U.K.

10

NewsBreak

30 Who Do You Know?

viewfinder

Urban Myth: Sade Oyinade Creates a Short Film to Challenge

24

Misconceptions About AIDS

14

Just*in Time

16

Voices from the South

20 Left Field by Patricia Nell Warren

32 Closeup 22

Actress Gina Ravera Founded

Ruby’s Rap Ruby raps with

Project Reina to Help Girls & Young

Guillermo Fornillo

Women to Achieve Empowerment 30 42 Raising the Barre

lifeguide

Dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet Take Steps to Make a Differ-

44 Treatment Horizons

ence in the Fight Against AIDS

46 Hep Talk 48 The Culture of AIDS

18 Poetry Keeping Watch by Jo Going cover photo by William Baker

32

50

Lifelines

56

The Scene


( A&U frontdesk )

Love Stories A m E R I c A’ S A I D S m A g A z I n E

F

or those of us who are over fifty and living with HIV since the mid-eighties, we are, in the words of Australia’s biggest female recording artist of all time, Kylie Minogue, “lucky, lucky, lucky.” Indomitable, our February cover is, in a manner of speaking, someone who you can’t get out of your heart. Kylie, as she’s known around the world, gets my first Valentine. Her kindness, her strength, her experience with her own life-threatening issues (breast cancer) are all the more reason to relax, put on her latest CD (The Abbey Road Sessions), and read why she’s more than ever an AIDS advocate. As world-famous fashion designer and President of the Board of amfAR Kenneth Cole tells A&U: “Her involvement has absolutely helped to reduce stigma around the disease, and she’s given much-needed hope to people living with AIDS around the world.” For Kylie, working with amfAR is hardly a chore: “They are a great organization and I have worked with them a few times now. They make it easy for me—they are doing all of the hard work. All I need to give is time and heart—and I can definitely do that—I have to.” With 70 million records sold to date, and sold-out shows from Sydney to Singapore, from Melbourne to Miami, from London to L.A., Kylie is a whirlwind of energy and her ability to raise consciousness about so many causes is infectious. She goes the extra mile because she realizes that the race is far from won. She would hope her fans know that AIDS is not over, and that we have a few more twists and turns in the road to get to the cure. My next Valentine has an address closer to home. As an AIDS patient, as a longterm survivor, as someone who lives one day at a time, I feel so fortunate to be able to write this column and publish this magazine every month. The editors, writers, artists, and visual designers who put together A&U twelve times a year, are my heroes.

They’re the ones who make the magazine work, give it beauty and give it depth, and I know from the letters I receive, that it’s a much-loved magazine. And I’d like to send a Valentine to the hundreds of celebrities, activists, researchers, artists, and members of the creative communities; I’d like to give thanks as well for sharing their life stories in terms of the AIDS pandemic. For giving us a picture of their own personal involvement with the AIDS crisis. For being a part of one of the greatest “love stories” of all time: the fight against AIDS. We’re lucky to be able to share these stories. In this month’s issue alone, we bring you interviews with U.K. photographer Edo Zollo, who has snapped lovely portraits of Brits living with HIV/AIDS; filmmaker Sade Oyinade, who has created a vibrant short film about AIDS awareness for youth; and Dr. Rodger D. MacArthur, who weighs in on a new antidiarrheal agent. And last, but no least, I’d like to offer a Valentine to the readers who’ve looked to A&U for the past twenty-two years for inspiration to live their lives to the max. I’d like to give you my heartfelt thanks for showing us what you’re made of. For the stakes in the fight against AIDS are very high. For Kylie, as is the case for so many women, men, and children living with serious illness, “You really do have to go into battle—there’s not many other words that we can use because we really are fighting cancer, fighting AIDS...as I have said I would be compassionate; I would want the best for people; I’d want to support people and spread goodness—but it is different when you’ve had your own particular moment.” That’s what makes Kylie’s brand of AIDS activism so inspiring. She’s faced her own greatest fears. She’s faced her own mortality at a young age. “Lucky, lucky, lucky”—I can’t get the words out of my head. It all comes down to love: a four letter word that we need more of in this world. Thankfully, Kylie sings it beautifully.

David Waggoner

issue 220 vol. 22  no. 2 February 2013 editorial offices: (518) 426-9010 fax: (518) 436-5354

Editor in Chief & Publisher David Waggoner Managing Editor: Michael Needle Senior Editor: Dann Dulin Editors at Large: Chip Alfred, Sean Black Special Projects Editor: Lester Strong Literary Editor: Brent Calderwood Consulting Editor: Nick Steele Copy Editor: Maureen Hunter Contributing Editors: Sarah Churchill Downes, Reed Massengill, Kelly McQuain, Lesléa Newman, Robert E. Penn Contributing Writers: Noël Alumit, V. Anderson, Annie Buckley, Larry Buhl, Ruby Comer, Robert Dunbar, Nancy Ellegate, Diane Goettel, Sherri Lewis, Angela Leroux-Lindsey, Suzy Martin, Alina Oswald, Dale Reynolds, Elizabeth Rodgers, Mariel Selbovitz, Patricia Nell Warren, Jeannie Wraight Art Director: Timothy J. Haines Design Director: Mark Crescent Contributing Photographers: Jordan Ancel, Davidd Batalon, Mark Bennington, Tom Bianchi, Sean Black, Adam Bouska, Brian Bowen Smith, Tim Courtney, Stephen Churchill Downes, Greg Gorman, Francis Hills, Renée Jacobs, Tom McGovern National Advertising Director: Harold Burdick, Jr. Sales & Marketing: David L. Bonitatibus Advertising Sales Office: (518) 426-9010 National Advertising Representative: Rivendell Media (212) 242-6863 Subscription Info: (518) 426-9010 Circulation Manager: Robert Schelepanow Bookkeeper: Richard Garcia Board of Directors President: David Waggoner Vice President: Harold Burdick, Jr. Secretary: Richard Garcia Founding Board Members: Mark S. Labrecque, 1961–1992, Christopher Hewitt, 1946–2004, Mark Galbraith, 1962–2011 In Memoriam: Bill Jacobson, 1939–2005 Rhomylly B. Forbes, 1963–2011 Chris Companik, 1957–2012 A&U (ISSN 1074-0872) is published by Art & Understanding, Inc., 25 Monroe St., Suite 205, Albany, NY 12210-2743, USA. For A&U advertising information please call 518-426-9010; for subscriptions and address changes please call 518-426-9010; for letters to the editor and unsolicited manuscripts write A&U Magazine, 25 Monroe Street, Albany, New York 12210; fax 518-436-5354; or e-mail: mailbox@aumag.org. All unsolicited manuscripts that do not have a S.A.S.E. cannot be returned and will not be acknowledged. ©2013 Art & Understanding, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. A&U may not be reproduced in any manner, either in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. A&U and the graphic representations thereof are the registered trademarks of Art & Understanding, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Individual Subscription rates: $24.95 (12 issues). Institutional rates: $80.00 (12 issues). For subscriptions outside the USA and possessions, $30.95/Canada, $49.95/international, payable in advance in U.S. currency. First North American serial rights revert to contributors upon publication. A&U retains the right to anthologize work in further issues, as well as in microform or reprinting on the Internet within the context of each issue. Statements of writers, artists and advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher. Readers note: subjects and contributors to A&U are both HIV-positive and HIV-negative. In the absence of a specific statement herein concerning the serostatus of any individual mentioned in, or contributing material to, this publication, no inference is made with respect thereto and none should be implied. Letters written to A&U or its contributors are assumed intended for publication. Art & Understanding, Inc. assumes no responsibility or liability for unsolicited submissions and does not guarantee the return thereof. POSTMASTER: Please send address corrections to A&U Magazine, 25 Monroe Street, Suite 205, Albany NY 12210-2743, USA

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Letters to the Editor

A&U mailbox

“I’ve loved Tricia Helfer since her days on Battlestar Galactica and I am glad she is using her celebrity and compassion to help fight HIV/AIDS. Getting on a motorcycle and riding all over the country for what she believes in shows real commitment. Her charity, Acting Outlaws, is exactly the kind of innovative program we need.”

I frankly have to admit I don’t know who Tricia Helfer is [cover story, “Shifting Gears,” by Dann Dulin, December 2012]. However, I found her to be sort of innocent and naive about AIDS, which is okay—she’s coming from the boondocks of Canada. At least she is involved in the HIV/AIDS war. You have her quoted as saying about AIDS, “Unfortunately, it’s out of the limelight as opposed to ten, twenty years ago. It’s changed drastically from the forefront of people’s minds. People just don’t think about it anymore, don’t donate anymore, and that’s a shame. With all the research we are so close.” She is right about this. So maybe she’s not so naive after all. —Julian Soule Waycross, Georgia I’ve loved Tricia Helfer since her days

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Southern Comfort I love you, Montee Evans. You got it right about people in the South living with AIDS in rural poverty; it’s bad down here [Voices from the South, December 2012]. You said it right: “You can’t lead Southern people unless you love Southern people. You can’t heal Southern people unless you help Southern people. And, you can’t save Southern people unless you serve Southern people.” Hallelujah! —Marva Pendleton Raleigh, North Carolina

Dance Fever! You know that most young people love to dance and the fact that dance4life is finally here in America is amazing. I know this organization is just ready to break out big on our shores [“The Next Step,” by Chip Alfred, December 2012]. This has become a positive force in Europe. Thousands and thousands of kids are dancing all over Africa and Asia, too. And soon they will be dancing all over this country. This is a great way for young people to learn about HIV/AIDS and also carry the message to their peers. I couldn’t have thought of something so creative to reach the kids of the world. I say, keep on dancing! —Clarissa Wydecker Tacoma, Washington

Send e-mail to: mailbox@aumag.org Send letters to: Mailbox, A&U, 25 Monroe Street, Suite 205, Albany, NY 12210 Or click on “Mailbox” on our Web site’s home page: www.aumag.org All correspondence requires name, address, and daytime phone number for confirmation. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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photo by Brian Bowen Smith

Babe in the Woods

on Battlestar Galactica and I am glad she is using her celebrity and compassion to help fight HIV/AIDS. Getting on a motorcycle and riding all over the country for what she believes in shows real commitment. Her charity, Acting Outlaws, is exactly the kind of innovative program we need. I applaud how she tackles more than one issue at a time. It’s all related if you go deep enough! —Nadine Winters via the Internet


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B NewsBreak N HEADLINES Puppet Service Announcement Avenue Q and Logo, a cable channel, have teamed up for a series of public service announcements about HIV and sexual practices. The national PSA campaign launched during the January premiere of the new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Logo. The on-air PSAs star Lucy the Slut, Rod, and Ricky, three of the puppet characters from Avenue Q, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2004. The show, which has now moved to the Off-Broadway New World Stages after its successful Broadway run, features young, urban-dwelling adult characters struggling with relationships, self-acceptance, and bigotry, among other issues. Topics addressed in the PSAs, which will be rolled out every eight weeks throughout 2013, include the importance of testing, destigmatizing HIV, having honest discussions about sex with partners, and accessing treatment upon diagnosis. Scripts were penned by Jeff Whitty, who won a Tony Award for his Avenue Q libretto. Logo has a longstanding history of HIV/AIDS programming alongside its AIDS-related news coverage, PSAs, and on-line expert advice. On its schedule, Logo has included Me, Myself, and HIV, Positive Youth, Stephen Fry: HIV and Me, and the HIV-savvy Noah’s Arc, among many others. For more information and to see the PSAs on-line, log on to www.logotv.com.

Need to keep up-to-date about pharmaceutical patient assistance programs (PAPs) for yourself or your clients? NeedyMeds, a national non-profit dedicated to providing consumers with information about programs that help with medication costs and healthcare, makes it easy for you. The free information service launched a new system called Patient Assistance Program Update Service (PAPUS) to help you find cost-saving solutions when it comes to your treatment needs. Patient assistance programs often change rapidly and carefully researched and centralized information, as offered by PAPUS, might be a handy tool. Subscribers will receive daily and weekly e-mail updates about PAPs. NeedyMeds also offers a free drug discount card, accepted at over 70,000 pharmacies and offering a savings of up to eighty percent off the cash price of prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and medical supplies written as a prescription, as well as pet medicines purchased at a pharmacy. Additionally, NeedyMeds offers Webinars, information about government programs, drug information, tracker software access for service providers, and a low-cost clinic locater, among other free resources. NeedyMeds does not gather identifiable information about visitors to its site. For more information or to sign up for PAPUS, log on to www.needymeds.org.

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photo by Nick Reuchel

Need Meds?


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Newsbreak Zero Feet Away Released last month, “Zero Feet Away: Perspective on HIV/AIDS and Unprotected Sex in Men Who Have Sex with Men Utilizing Location-based Mobile Apps,” a report published by Community (CHN) Healthcare Network, examines attitudes and knowledge about HIV/AIDS among gay and bisexual men who use geosocial networking apps on mobile devices to meet sexual partners. CHN, a New York City-based nonprofit that provides medical services and outreach and education programs to 75,000 individuals a year, conducted a survey of 725 participants to investigate an apparent correlation between increased use of apps— like Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt, and Growlr—and an increase in HIV infections among men who have sex with men. In 2011, the CDC reported a forty-five percent increase in HIV among MSMs ages thirteen to twenty-nine. Some of the findings include: • 80.9 percent of those surveyed knew HIV transmission occurs through “unprotected anal sex, vaginal sex, and—less frequently—oral sex.” • 68.1 percent reported that they feared being infected or re-infected, believe people should be more concerned about the epidemic, and in general see it as a serious issue. • In terms of degree of seriousness, 52.5 percent felt that AIDS is a “somewhat serious” problem for people they know, while 29.4 percent considered it to be a serious problem. • While an overwhelming majority view barebacking (unprotected anal sex) as dangerous and believe those who practice barebacking know the risks, 46.4 percent reported that they had unprotected anal sex always, often, or sometimes compared with 53.6 percent who reported that they never engaged in this practice. • Reasons reported for practicing unprotected sex included: “With condoms it does not feel the same” (84.6 percent); and “Impulsive sexual behaviors” (73.8 percent). (This section was optional.) The authors of the study suggest that prevention programs include new prevention methods, such as treatment as prevention, alongside established methods like condom negotiation and use, as well as an ongoing focus on the complex variables— emotional, psychological, and behavioral—and structural inequities that may predispose this population to barebacking.

Dance (RED), Save Lives In time for World AIDS Day, DJ powerhouse Tiësto and (RED) released Dance (RED), Save Lives to help raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which provides grants to innovative and sustainable programs. In 2012, Global Fund-supported programs provided treatment for 9.7 million people living with tuberculosis and antiretrovirals for 4.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and helped distribute 301 million insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria. The Global Fund is rallying around the drive to create an AIDS-free generation. (RED) was founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver [A&U, March 2007] to enlist consumers and brand marketers in the fight against AIDS and raise funds for its chosen beneficiary, The Global Fund. To create the twenty-two-track mix, Tiësto enlisted the skills of Calvin Harris, Avicii, Diplo, Afrojack, Dada Life, Laidback Luke, and Martin Solveig, among others. The album also features an exclusive collaboration between Tiësto and Bono on U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love).” Not only did Tiësto lend his time and talent but he also matched donations up to the first $100,000. On World AIDS Day, (RED) livestreamed the Stereosonic 2012 dance music festival, featuring Tiësto and other Dance (RED) contributors, from Melbourne, Australia, on YouTube. The album and tracks are available on iTunes. For more information, log on to www.joinred.

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TM

Christopher (left) has lived with HIV since 2011.

Get the facts. Get tested. Get involved. www.cdc.gov/ActAgainstAIDS www.cdc.gov/ActAgainstAIDS


Hi Justin I just have to say, I love you! I’m writing because my son was in a twoyear relationship, but they broke up this past May. After that, my son was dating a few different guys. As a mom, I kept giving him the talk about being careful and wearing protection if he had sex. My son is very open with me, and he did tell me he wasn’t always wearing protection. Since October I have been on him about getting tested because he was putting himself at risk. On November 7, he got a call from the doctor telling him he was positive. I have been asking my son to go to the Web site, thebody.com, and watch your videos, but he won’t have any part of that. He just keeps telling me he is fine. My son thinks he does not have HIV. He did have a Western blot done, so I know the test isn’t wrong. I am just worried that my son will go into a depression soon. He won’t go to any support groups and he doesn’t want to talk about it unless he brings it up. My son has support from me, the family, and a few good friends that he did tell. I am worried about how he really is feeling inside, though. What can I do to help my son?

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Also, my son wants to stay on dating sites and meet people. I am scared that he is just going to get hurt more. I know if he meets someone and he tells them he is positive they won’t want to be with him. I did ask him to join an HIV dating site, but he says he doesn’t think there are any and he doesn’t want to date someone that is poz. Is that normal to think that way at first? And how can I get him to connect with other people who are going through the same thing he is? Thank you for your time Justin and thank you for being there for so many others...you are an amazing person! —Christine First let me just say that you are a good mother. I love that you felt open and trusting enough to send me this letter. My mother also was scared for me and gave me the talk about protected sex and being careful. But, as adults, we are in charge of making our own way and making our own decisions. Finding out that you are positive may be jarring when you first hear it. One might go into denial or a state of numbness to where you will think nothing of it. Or even going as far as forgetting you even have the disease

because the emotions of being scared, feared, and unloved are so impactful that one will say, “I’m fine,” when you are really not. He sounds like he is going through deep depression and is not snapping out of it anytime soon. He will have to let it out some way. I’m most worried about that he will find another way, a more dangerous way, to let out his frustrations. In my life drugs and sex seemed to cover up a lot of pain and sorrow. He will need to find a way. I would also check to see if he is suffering from low self-esteem. There are many poz dating sites on the Internet. Before I met my husband I met a lot of guys off dating sites that didn’t care about my HIV status because they liked me for me. Depending on his age a lot of young people do like going through the Internet to connect to other people that are going through the same things they are. Ask him why he wouldn’t want to date someone who is poz. It is a caseby-case basis about the feelings one has about being poz. There is no feeling that is normal or abnormal. You need to just be there and reassure him that you will always be there. ◊

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photo by Don Harris © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. all rights reserved

Justin B. Terry-Smith has been fighting the good fight since 1999. He’s garnered recognition and awards for his work, but he’s more concerned about looking for new ways to transform society for the better than resting on his laurels. He started up in gay rights and HIV activism in 2005, published an HIV-themed children’s book, I Have A Secret (Creative House Press) in 2011, and created his own award-winning video blog called, “Justin’s HIV Journal”: justinshivjournal.blogspot.com. Now, with this column, Justin has found a way to give voice to the issues that people write to him about. Visit his main Web site at www.justinbsmith.com. He welcomes your questions at jsmithco98@hotmail.com.


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Voices by LaMont

“Montee” Evans

CHECK YOUR CALENDAR—IT’S TIME FOR US TO BAND TOGETHER

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verybody matters. Every culture matters. Every community matters. Within one year’s time, there are various HIV/AIDS Awareness Days that focus on a specific racial/ethnic group and/or subpopulation disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Some would question the value of multiple awareness days, but if you understand the dynamics of HIV/AIDS in the Southern Region of the United States, one would embrace the value of them and build a calendar that accommodates all of them. For instance, February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (www.blackaidsday.org), a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative that is overseen by Healthy Black Communities, Inc. (www.hbc-inc.org) each year. The value of this day raises the awareness and importance of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities, by a Black organization, during Black history month. This initiative began in 2000. October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (www.nlaad.org), where all segments of the Hispanic/Latino community around the country promote and sponsor activities that respond to the state of HIV/AIDS among Hispanics/Latinos in their specific community. This initiative is spearheaded by the Latino Commission on AIDS (www.latinoaids.org) and is led by a Latino organization, happening within Latino communities, and on the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month. It began in 2003. And there is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10), National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 21), National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (May 19), Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (June 8), National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (September 18), National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (September 27), and quite a few more. We have specific days of the year whereby we focus our concentration and efforts on HIV/AIDS impacting specific communities.

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When it comes to the Southern Region, there is a need to really concentrate efforts on the forgotten, hidden, and stigmatized subpopulations that could benefit from these Awareness Days and the variety of activities and/or events being held. In a recent report published by the National Institutes of Health on a number of leading health indicators, including HIV disease, individuals in the southern states of the U.S. fare worse than those in other regions. In 2010, forty-six percent of all new diagnoses of HIV infection occurred in the South. From 2007 to 2010, the estimated number and rate of diagnoses of HIV infection decreased significantly in the South overall and among most groups of women, but there was no change in the number or rate of diagnoses of HIV infection among men overall. Significant decreases in men thirty to thirty-nine and forty to forty-nine years of age were offset by increases in young men thirteen to nineteen and twenty to twenty-nine years of age. One can read this report and ask what is happening in the Southern Region of the country for HIV infection to be so high. Let’s put things in context: The largest per-

centage of the U.S. population resides in the South (thirty-seven percent) and is vastly different from the other regions. The South is made up of seventeen states, including the District of Columbia, and has the highest percentage of Blacks (18.5 percent) compared to the rest of the country (8.2 percent), is less urban in nature, and has the highest percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty. We have access-to-care issues that present a challenge due to individuals distrusting the service system; our prevention and care infrastructures are not adequately equipped to handle the faces of HIV/AIDS; clients’ attitudes toward HIV are different as socioeconomic issues are competing for attention; and, since the South is mostly rural, distance to care settings is a factor. Communities have to be mobilized to see their value in themselves; it can’t be behavior interventions only, nor can it be about PreP—the community must have made a conscious decision that they desire to live and incorporate those aforementioned awareness days and resources to make it so. An HIV/AIDS awareness day has a way of saying: This epidemic is about me, looks like me, and I need to get educated on the basics of HIV/AIDS, get tested to learn my status, get involved locally to make a difference, and seek treatment and care if I test HIV-positive or have been living with it for some time and my health is changing. It’s about building Southern Pride into each and every one that lives in the South that says who we are as a region is just as important as any other part of this country. We are more than our status! We are the lifeblood of America. LaMont “Montee” Evans is the founder/chief executive officer of Healthy Black Communities, Inc., an international health education and disease prevention community organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. This organization also serves as the lead for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (www.blackaidsday.org), Twitter: @blackaidsday.

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photo by Ijumo Hayward Photography

From the South

Days of Awareness


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poetry

Keeping Watch (for my own, own brother)

All afternoon I stare at your blood sucked into that glass tube, a red slash on the white wall. AIDS is invisible Doc said “Coma... not here anymore.” He was wrong. I shall wait. Touching you, singing to you, never letting go of your hand, Fox in a Field of Light (detail), 2008, oil, acrylic and enamel paint on canvas on wood with electric lights and mixed media including rotating light ball, fox skull, ribbons, glitter, mylar, beads, birch saplings, 9 by 15 by 6 feet

I find you in a new way, warm and alive better than not at all.

pauses,

Later,

and vanishes into blue violet.

from some unseen longing, strange sounds come from your throat. Nurse says, “Don’t feel insulted— the dying make noises like animals...” I smile, welcoming the gathering spirits of fur and antler to Mt. Sinai.

looks back,

—Jo Going Jo Going, now residing in a coastal Alaskan village, lived for many years in a wilderness homestead cabin in interior Alaska. Her book of poems and paintings, Wild Cranes, published by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is also in the Franklin Furnace permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Of her poem “Keeping Watch,” she says: “There have been so many voices in response to AIDS, but the sister/brother journey is one that is not often heard. Gustavo (we come from an Italian family) contracted AIDS in the early years, before the disease had enough accumulated medical knowledge….” Adds Going about her brother, Gustavo Motta: “He has been noted in several books, as he was professionally involved in theater and opera in New York and internationally. As I mentioned, he was, is, my best friend.”

Somewhere in the distance a red fox runs across the snow,

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Spotlight on Mali

left field by Patricia

Nell Warren DID FAITH-BASED AIDS IDEOLOGY HELP

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s I wrote this column, the latest outbreak of civil war in Mali was in its second week. Our State Department ordered family members of embassy employees to leave the country. France said it would up its troop numbers, after their air attacks didn’t halt the Islamist march south. Vicki Huddleston, ambassador to Mali in 2002–2005, urges the U.S. to help the French as their battle intensified in Mali’s north. Huddleston points out that Mali is a key to holding radical Islam at bay in Africa. If things go wrong, Mali, once hailed as the “poster child of democracy” in the Muslim world, might fall to radical Islamic rule. What isn’t being mentioned is the way our faith-based AIDS policy in Mali may have contributed to this explosion. Centuries ago, Mali was part of a cultured and wealthy West African empire, whose famed trading cities of Timbuktu and Gao were awash in gold. In the late 1800s, Mali came under colonial control as part of French Sudan—until 1960, when a rebellion established the independent Republic of Mali. However, in that year and again in 1968, the country was taken over by dictatorships. After years of turmoil and famine, popular demand for multi-party democracy finally led to adoption of a new constitution in 1991, and the first democratic election of a President the following year. Significantly, in a world where rightist Islam is so ubiquitous, Mali opted for a secular government founded on religious tolerance—possibly a lingering tradition from its trading days. The population is ninety percent Muslim. Of the remaining ten percent, nine percent follow indigenous African religions. Only one percent are Christians, who belong to small Catholic and Protestant churches scattered over the country—many of them “planted”

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in recent years. Mali’s Muslims belong to various brands of Islam, but they’re mostly what Americans call “moderate.” Traditionally they got along with that tiny Christian minority. Malian Muslim women are seldom veiled or compelled to live under the harsh “sharia law” in stricter countries like Iran. However, HIV was a ticklish subject there, as elsewhere in the Muslim world, where family and sex life is generally kept very private, away from meddling by foreigners. AIDS is not as epidemic in Mali as, for instance, South Africa. Nevertheless, in 2006, because of tolerance by most Muslim citizens, USAID was able to broker the launch of an ambitious project. At a workshop in the capital of Bamako, Malian Muslim leaders and Christian leaders agreed to cooperate on bringing both Koranic and Biblical principles to bear on the country’s HIV infection rate, especially where it affects mothers who became HIV-positive. Yet Mali is struggling with deep change. As cyclic drought has worsened in recent centuries, many Malians living in the south, along the Niger River, experience growing crop failure, poverty, and lack of education. According to anthropologist Benjamin Soares, underneath the apparent tolerant surface of Mali, lay the poten-

tial for reactions against new Western ideas. In the north, that vast desert interior where Tuareg nomads still roam and Mali shares borders with several other countries, Malians watched different radical Islamist forces organizing. They viewed their own government as ineffective and corrupt. In March 2012, a revolt by Tuareg rebels overwhelmed weak government forces, and captured Timbuktu and Gao. From there, they got the whole north under control. Radical Al Qaeda-type groups joined with the Tuareg to abolish secular government there, replacing it with sharia law. Now the radicals intend to occupy the entire nation of Mali. Two weeks ago, they launched an offensive into the south, towards the capital. In the ensuing panic, refugees fled the north, and the Malian government called for help. Because of our government’s determination that AIDS policy must be “faith-based” at least in part, the United States now has its toe in a violent conflict between U.S. Christian missionaries and Islamic radicals. How did this happen? Because government financial support of “faith-based” organizations has opened the door to some organizations who are less interested in fighting AIDS than in using this opportunity to extend their influence in Africa. So far, the blowback against Malian Christian missions has been stark…and predictable. According to reports I’ve seen, radical Muslim attacks have virtually wiped out all the churches planted in north Mali, and killed dozens of Christian church members. Executions and punishments of converts have reportedly happened. In east Mali, radical Islamists attacked and destroyed an entire USAIDfinanced irrigation project of World Vision. For many decades now, ultra-fundacontinued on page 52

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illustration by Timothy J. Haines

CREATE THE CURRENT SITUATION?


Guillermo Fornillo by Ruby Comer

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who are HIV-positive. Guillermo is an artist who uses props and his stylist skills to create photos. He also works in mixed media, production, sculpture, and Photoshop. Late last year his work was exhibited at LACDA (Los Angeles Center for Digital Art). Josh, the engaging and lively Davanti’s manager, greets us and sits us in the cozy “backyard” near the huge, expansive olive tree. Ruby Comer: It’s so nice to see you outside of L.A. It’s been a while. Will you tell me exactly what you do? I never fully understood it, because you are so multifaceted. Guillermo Fornillo: It’s great to see you too, Ruby. Well, I’m a storyteller who creates original characters for fashion editorials that are part dream and part nightmare, and it all comes together in a photo shoot.

Under the olive tree at Davanti Enoteca

Say, where is your beau, Rudy, these days? Well my dear, that hunk of a man is spending some time in Boca Raton with his mama. Don’t ask! Say what…[our adorable server, Chelsea, politely interrupts and takes our order then exits]…what do you think of when I broach the topic of HIV/AIDS? I used to think horror every time somebody mentioned the word. Not anymore. It seemed the whole world of AIDS was surrounded in negativity, chaos, and darkness, but that was because I didn’t have enough information about it. In the beginning there was terror all over the world and thankfully we have professional experts educating people about it now. Indeed and we have more and more people spreading the word. When did you first hear about it? [He cocks his head to one side.] I remember that I was in my bedroom in continued on page 54

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ruby illustration by Davidd Batalon; restaurant photo courtesy Davanti Enoteca; Fornillo photo by Paul Cruz

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D again. No, no…I mean Valentine’s Day! And who else would I rather be with and where else would I rather be? Well, with a red hot Latin lover at a delightful hideaway, Davanti Enoteca restaurant in the Little Italy section of San Diego. Opened just about a year ago, this place is delightful, the food delicious, and the atmosphere and staff divine. Don’t miss their scrumptious appetizer: focaccia, made with filo dough, stuffed with cream cheese, mascopone, stracci and topped off with a honeycomb. It’s served on a wooden cutting board that sits on a large commercial size Pomodori Pelati (Italian) tomato can. Fantastico! Their gourmet dishes are imaginative and carefully prepared, and the blackand-white vintage photographs on the wall make ya feel like you’re sitting in a friendly café in Positano. From Italy we now go to Argentina. My VD escort today is Guillermo Fornillo, who was raised in the city of Rosario, Argentina. He has such a lyrical name. I like saying it over and over…Ghee-air-mo-for-neal-lee-oh! Both our sweethearts are away, so we decided to meet up in San Diego where we both are on business. I was doing an HIV-prevention workshop with high schoolers at Being Alive. Guillermo and I met at the AIDS Walk a few years ago in Los Angeles, where he has resided for the past decade. He’s also volunteered for the AIDS Walk in Rosario and Buenos Aires and has participated in other HIV/AIDS-related events over the years. He’s currently involved with a food and clothing fundraiser that benefits African children


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How You Connect Photographer Edo Zollo Talks with A&U’s Chael Needle About Documenting the Diversity of Living with HIV/AIDS

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hirty portraits of thirty people living with HIV/AIDS from all walks of life and from all over the U.K.—a new exhibition of work, two years in the making, from photographer Edo Zollo has finished a successful run in London and will be traveling throughout Britain for the rest of 2013. All of the subjects in “Stand Tall, Get Snapped” differ in terms of when they were diagnosed, and are presented from the most recently diagnosed (three months) to the longest (twenty-eight years). Zollo traveled all over the country to photograph his subjects on their home turf, in a location of their own choosing to help contextualize their story. Each subject wrote a brief statement about living with HIV, which accompanies his or her photograph in the exhibition. The individuals came to inspire Zollo with their honesty, perseverance, and optimism. They’ve inspired viewers, as well. The exhibition has garned enthusiastic coverage from the press, some encouraging Tweets from actor and AIDS activist Stephen Fry, and positive feedback from the general public. The London gallery that showed the exhibition told Zollo that it had never had so many young people come through its doors; many, after seeing the show, asked where they could go for testing. “I think that’s what I really wanted to achieve—to allow people to leave the exhibition thinking, ‘Actually, that could be me. Maybe I should get tested,’” says Zollo. A few representative visitor responses illustrate the exhibition’s resonance:

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Edoardo: The photo/portraits that were chosen were solid, I felt like I knew their story, but of course I really did not. I saw humanity in the work, even some cheekiness. There was no “Victim,” no one persona to categorize or to impose a "monolithic HIV.” Different races and genders and classes were represented I would venture to say, but the artistic choices were good ones. Pictures can perform and I felt like it said more to me than, “I am living with HIV.” The work says...“I am Living” (not to be too cliché). Edoardo: Got to see the exhibition yesterday—thank you so much—I found it remarkable, sensitive and deeply touching...I suprised myself—how moved I was by it...It made me realize how much I can desensitize myself to my own diagnosis sometimes—there's a tendency I have to “just get on with it” and not always give myself the time and space to reflect properly on my condition—looking at your pictures and reading the words of your participants gave me the most beautiful meditative space to revisit some of the joys and sorrows and sense of togetherness we can experience as positive people sometimes...

Zollo based his exhibition on the number thirty because he wanted to mark the thirty years since the public recognition of Terrence Higgins, whose death from AIDS-related causes, one of the first in the U.K., galvanized grass-roots and healthsector efforts to address AIDS, and to mark the thirty years since the epidemic was for-

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Max 24 yrs old, 3 months HIV+ Brighton I was diagnosed on the 3rd April 2012. • I left the clinic, I didn’t expect a positive result and so it felt like I had been smacked across the face. • I work 5 mins from the Terrence Higgins Trust so popped into work only to reveal to a friend and colleague moments later my new status. I had to tell someone and unburden myself right away. • In the week after the result I’ve told my family, work and a few friends, everyone had varying degrees of a negative reaction but were all based on their concern for me. • In regards to my mum I felt a lot of guilt, she was hysterical. • I already knew the death sentence days were over, an immediate and continued source or comfort for my loved ones and myself. Still early days and I’m unsure of any obstacles that might come up but I’m feeling I’m able to confront them when they do. • Now looking back those minutes standing in the cold night were my last moments thinking I was negative and while I’m accepting my status I find comfort thinking back to that time.

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Memory 10 years HIV+ London I arrived from Zimbabwe 10 years ago for a 3week holiday. • I had a good job and had everything going for me. After a few days I thought I had a cold, got worse and went to the GUM clinic where I got an HIV diagnosis that changed my life in a few seconds. With a CD4 of less than 10 and a viral load of over 65,000, I thought I would return to Zimbabwe in a coffin. • I have been through the worst but now live a normal life; but I do not let HIV define who I am; a daughter, mother, grandmother, woman who just loves her fun! • I work full time in an HIV friendly organisation and this makes HIV a part of my everyday life, just like any other person out there. I do not worry about hiding anything from my colleagues who understand and empathise with my HIV. • Why I chose this place: I spend most of my waking life in the office. It’s a place I am happy to be at, I do not worry about being judged about my HIV status!

mally recognized in the United States. Zollo also wanted to move away from the misconception that the pandemic primarily affects gay men and people of black African origin and he wanted to change the deep-seated attitudes that perpetuate stigma. “I wanted to reach a wider cross-section, a wider diversity of people. So I had to put a cap on each group [to reach thirty]. So I made them equal numbers for men, for women; for gay, for straight; for nonwhite, for white; for young and old,” says Zollo. Along with his own Facebook and Twitter efforts, he reached out through AIDS service organizations’ social media presence to promote the project and find subjects who were willing to “stand tall” and “get snapped.” Zollo believes deeply in the power of self-expression, of which creativity is an essential part. His passion as an artist was in part inspired by his father, a professional photographer. “Since I was a child, I was

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surrounded by cameras, lenses, films, and, as soon as we were big enough to carry and hold the bags, we helped our dad,” says Zollo. While he understands the reason his father needed to go the commercial route—shooting weddings and christenings, and doing work for magazines—he laments the fact that his father was not able to explore his creative side more fully. Though Zollo takes professional gigs and commissions, he has tried to keep art as his primary focus. “I’ve tried to feed my creativity through photography—by using photography as a tool to express that.” Zollo is currently at work on a new project that explores beauty in elderly people, particularly in women over seventy. “Especially in big cities such as London [elderly people] become invisible. They become a part of society that you don’t look at. Or

interact with,” he says, mentioning one of his closest friends, Carol. “She’s seventysix. She’s beautiful! The connection we have is amazing. I really want to portray the beauty in elderly people in a very unconventional way. And when people go to the exhibition, I want people to see it and go, “Whoa, that is a bit taboo but actually they are quite beautiful.” For now, Zollo is eager to take the exhibition beyond London. “We started to get people saying, ‘Oh, I haven’t been to the London one. I’d really like to see it. Are you bringing it over here?’” “Stand Tall, Get Snapped” is traveling to Manchester, Brighton, Stoke-on-Trent, Belfast, Glasgow, and the University of Hertfordshire. A&U recently spoke to Edo Zollo about seeing the world—London street life, the elderly, and people living with

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Tony 63 yrs old, 27 years HIV+ London

HIV/AIDS—with fresh eyes. Chael Needle: What inspires you about photography as a medium? Edo Zollo: For me, the camera is just a camera. The camera is just a tool. What really makes the photo are your eyes, the way you see things, the way you interpret things, the way you give meaning to things. So you can have the most expensive camera or the cheapest camera [and although there are technical aspects that distinguish them] what really makes a difference is how you see things, how you FEBRUARY 2013

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1975: met partner Robert (on going) • 1985: April tested positive after routine sexual health check, age 36 the same age my grandfather died in battle; Senior Registrar Westminster Hospital advised max 5 years to live, but likely 2 was told not to inform employer, GP, friends or family! • 1986: life continues, friends/former lovers become ill— some die tragically, seriously doubted I would even reach 40! Very concerned my loving parents would outlive me and I would be unable to support them. • 1991: father drowned Hove beach doing what he loved • 1994: mother died • 1999: 50th birthday retired by City Corp after 20 years • 2001: 3 new planning consultancies and professional life continues • 2005: Dec 23rd Civil Partnership Chelsea Registry Office • 2006: Had declined medication until after contracting HIV and surviving related viral encephalitis and was hospitalised for 2 months… wheelchair bound at first then Mr Zimmer… w-6st. Now fully mobile and doing well on combination therapy. • 2009: 3 days before my 60th birthday ‘Rear of the Year’ contest, 1st runner up 11th Jan, a great moral boost! • 2011: Now fully mobile and doing well on combination therapy. • 2012: blood test… viral load undetectable—CD4 count 420 X 106/L w10st • 2012: 13 Feb first encounter with Edo Zollo and hence this great project.

connect to people, to the subjects you want to work on. [Photography] is a way for me to connect to someone, and then explore that connection via the use of the camera and photography. Is that what attracted you to certain projects, like your series on people with tattoos or London street life?

Absolutely. I do like very much to move away from the conventional and try to be unconventional—try to bring out subjects that make people think, “Oh, it’s taboo,” or, “You can’t talk about it,” or has gotten negative press or [garnered] a negative association. With the tattoos, I really tried to bring out the beauty of the tattoos and the beauty of the person and not [with the attitude of]

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Samantha 45 yrs old, 4 years HIV+ Bournemouth

“Oh, why do you have so many tattoos? You’re going to be judged by people. You’re going to have limitations of work.” Same for HIV. HIV is still a stigma. It’s 2013, but people are still thinking that you can’t talk about HIV publicly; you can’t be so open about it. Actually, you can—because why do you need to be ashamed? Why do you need to live underground? Why do you need to hide yourself just because you are HIV-positive? So that’s why I like using photography as a tool to allow the subject to be open about [themselves]. And for the visitor to go and see it and have a different perspective of that subject. [I didn’t want to put together another HIV-related exhibition where] visitors see the gay man in bed, feeling very sick. No, we’ve done that. There are so many photos about that. [“Stand Tall, Get Snapped”] is about going to the exhibition, and actually seeing a normal, beautiful living person leading a normal life, who, by the way, is HIV-positive. You got the idea for “Stand Tall, Get Snapped” after your experience with unprotected sex and taking post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)?

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19th March 2008 was the day that it all changed. HIV Positive. • The first three months were a total blur, I sometimes wondered if I would ever stop crying. 2009 came and started with a short stay in hospital. The rest of the year was spent neglecting myself, starving myself and I became professional at sleeping. • However that light that is at the end of most tunnels continued to shine and I chose to travel towards it. 2012 and so much has changed, I’m still HIV Positive but I enjoy and try to embrace each and every day. • I actively choose to be proud of who I am. I work, I study, I laugh, I cry, I support and I fight. • I have the love and support of my family and friends. I know my journey will still have twists and turns to come but have the strength and passion to say: BRING IT ON! That was about two years ago. I had an unprotected one-night stand. I knew the person was HIV-positive. I’m not accusing the person; we were two adults having adult sex. In the evening I realized what I did and the following morning I went to the clinic [for PEP].…I am not HIV-positive, but what really stayed with me was the emotional impact about: “How I am going to talk to my parents, how I am going to talk to my family, how I am going to talk to my friends, to work? This is really going to impact on my health. What am I going to do about it?” What really stayed with me after the twenty-eight days [of taking the PEP drug regimen was] that worry and anxiety. So I thought, I’ve got to do something about it. I’ve got to write, and research. And that’s how I found out it was thirty years…and that’s how the project started. I know Stephen Keeble and Ben Lord, the filmmakers who are putting together the

AIDS-themed feature-length documentary After ’82, liked the exhibition, talked to you, and now you are collaborating. This film focuses on thirty years of HIV in the U.K. What Stephen and Ben have are a lot of archives for the first part of the film, which is predominantly gay. That’s because that’s where HIV started, in the gay community. So there is a need to talk about the history of HIV. However, they were lacking [stories] about HIV in the present—people living with HIV now and not necessarily gay. So I’m very pleased to say that part of the second half of the film will feature “Stand Tall, Get Snapped”—people from the project being interviewed and openly talking about HIV. And they will be straight people, and no gay people.… Did you choose those cities for the U.K. tour because of the impact of HIV in those areas or—? We chose the cities for different reasons. Obviously location, because certain

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Matt 30 yrs old, 5 years HIV+ London

cities are quite central and this allows people from the surrounding areas to actually go there and see it. The other reason was really about people living with HIV in each area. Manchester has a very high percentage of people living with HIV. Stokeon-Trent has a very high percentage...; Brighton, very much. Belfast. Why Belfast? That’s because it’s Northern Ireland—a very Catholic, conservative part of Ireland and it would be a very challenging subject to bring over there! Are you surprised that stigma still persists thirty years into the pandemic? Very much. I can sit here and tell you, “I’ve got cancer; I’ve got leukemia,” and you would look at me and feel sorry: “Poor you. What can we do to help you?” And I would not feel judged or labeled or criticized or accused of something. But if I say, “Oh, I am HIV-positive,” one of the first responses I would get is, “Ew, what have you done? Have you been cruising? Have you had lots of one-night stands and unprotected sex? Have you been promiscuFEBRUARY 2013

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The day I got diagnosed really shook my world around. • My head was always full of crazy life ideas but my new status changed all that but for the better. • It forced me to look at my life, where I was heading and what I could get out of it. • I previously had a pretty directionless career but now I’m in university doing something I enjoy and knowing my end goal. Sometimes it’s a struggle to cope with working full time and university but I know it’s worth it. • I’m still with the guy I caught HIV from and its been 5 years now, we have our ups and down but generally it’s good. I decided to start medication much sooner than I ous? You deserve needed to be the healthiest I can. I’m looking forward to life and that because what it brings. • I chose outside the clinic where I got diagnosed as you’ve been no this is where I feel my life changed. Going in negative and coming good.” But, actual- out positive, knowing my life had been changed forever. Making the ly, no! If you look first call to tell my ex, thinking about how to tell the guy I was dating at most of the par- that he had passed on something. ticipants in my exhibition, most wasn’t very positive. of them haven’t been promiscuous; most of them haven’t [had] endless one-night And after they saw the exhibition? stands or, if a gay man, been to a cruising After they saw the impact it’s had on spot. No, they are very normal people people, yes, they were much more of the living a very normal life, who happened to make just a single mistake. So why do they thinking that it’s a great project. The outcome has been positive—the journey to need to be labeled? get there has been difficult. What did your family think of “Stand Tall”? Well, obviously, my family’s first For more information on Edo Zollo, visit his response was, “Are you HIV-positive?” Web site at www.edlondonphotography.co.uk And because I am talking openly about my and check out the project’s YouTube video at unprotected sex, the first response I got http://youtu.be/WcEk43Lbloc. Follow the from people who are very close to me was project on Twitter @STGSProject. in a way very judgmental: “What did you do, you silly cow! Why weren’t you more Chael Needle interviewed photographer Cate careful? You should have come and talked Cameron about “Ghosts and Dreams” and to me.” So, initially I’m afraid the response Cameras4Change for the January issue.

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Who Do Y V. Anderson talks with Sade Oyinade about making educational films that kids won’t laugh at

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photo by John Elston

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Brown, because “a lot of films talk more require HIV prevention education. don’t remember much about the educaabout young women and HIV, which is Because this lack of “urgency” among tional films I was shown as a kid, but I do important…but I think the conversations young people is “frustrating and disappointremember mocking them intensely, both that guys have about it, and whether or not ing” to filmmaker Sade Oyinade, and for their overbearing messages and for their they choose to protect themselves, is really because she finds the rate of HIV/AIDS in out of date language and style. American an important part of the conversation.” The English changes a lot from decade to decade, African-American communities disheartening (sixty-three percent more African-Ameri- behavioral problem of doubting AIDS as a and if it’s a little bit off, well, a decade is a long time for a fourteen-yearold. Just as we used to call the Internet the “information superhighway,” I doubt the films were hip even in their own time. I remember one bellbottom-wearing “boyfriend” called his “girlfriend” “Cookie” as he tried to coerce her into unprotected sex at a hippie party, and none of us kids could stop laughing. The most repellent was the who-do-they-thinkthey’re-fooling-with-this-thinlyveiled-preaching feeling that the films incited. In spite of the failure of the films, when I was a teenager, there was a great deal of fear of AIDS. Condom use was drilled into our heads at an early age as an absolute necessity. I have a vague recollection of health professionals visiting schools, public figures who were affect- Left to right: Jerry Brown (writer), actors Kevin Welbeck, Gabriel McNabb, Naya Williams, Sade Oyinade ed by HIV/AIDS, and popular (director/producer), lead actor Barron Edwards, actors Alysia Livingston and Kalei Beamon at the preTV show storylines. Although miere screening we didn’t learn much about real threat and positing it as a distant one is the disease itself, the fear, a fear that spurred can men than white men are infected, the basis of the title phrase. Why worry? the desire to protect one’s life, was there. I’m according to a 2010 CDC report), and because her younger friend’s confession that Who do you know who actually has AIDS? not sure if teenagers have that fear now. PerThe realistic, modern dialogue and the haps it’s simply because they weren’t around he never uses condoms shocks her, she narrative, un-preachy feel of the film makes chose to direct an educational film about when the epidemic hit, or maybe the popuHIV/AIDS. Titled “Who Do You Know?” this it relatable to its intended audience: middlelar attitude toward HIV/AIDS has changed. schoolers, high-schoolers, and even first-year short film follows the stories of Kevin and The laws, like the old educational films, are college students. recklessly inadequate. They vary, but in most Tre, two young, straight African-American “When you’re young, you think you’re men. The dominant insight of the film is the states, sex ed is not required in schools. If it invincible,” Oyinade explains, and this story male perspective. Oyinade was drawn to this is taught, the focus must be on abstinence addresses issues of denial, misinformation, particular script, written by her friend Jerry until marriage. Only a handful of states


photos by Paul Romo

You Know? and misguided behavior while delivering the Pan-African Film Festival in February as part of Student Fest, a showcase of films that message—at the end. “It was important for relate to teenagers and feature subjects such us to kind of make it so that it had some as teen pregnancy, AIDS, race, self-esteem, humor in it and it was very realistic, just like and gangs. L.A. high school students will regular people talking. It didn’t come off so heavy from the beginning; even though you’re going to learn something, it kind of creeps up on you….” It’s written and shot like a regular narrative film, and the characters feel like real people, as opposed to caricatured vehicles of a message. The story is, after all, based in a specific reality: the writer’s experience in college, where a friend confessed that he was worried that he had gotten HIV from someone at the school. Everyone’s basically good; there is no conventional antagonist, leaving that role to misconceptions about the disease and the threat of the disease itself. The possibility of contracting HIV or not knowing that you have it is set up as the problem, and the message is that it’s possible to protect yourself if you decide to educate yourself. With support from Women Alive, where Oyinade volunteered, La Salle High School, which engages in AIDS outreach projects, and a chance encounter with Otis Jackson’s Soul Dog restaurant while on a lunch break for the TV show Unsung, which she produces, Oyinade was able to lock down locations that add flavor and life to the film. With a background of work on TV shows like Unsung, which has revived the careers of largely forgotten but talented R&B, soul and gospel artists, and Starting Over, which gave women with various issues the oppor- Actors Gabriel McNabb and tunity to turn their lives around, Oyinade Barron Edwards and extras has put the greater good at the forefront of her ambitions. “I just want whatever I do to attend with their teachers and engage in matter—I mean I definitely want to enterpost-screening discussions with selected tain and do things that are fun, but I like speakers. Festival screenings are great for doing something with a purpose….” For Oyinade’s filmmaking career, but what’s her next project, she’s optioned the novel most important to her is for this film to Better Than I Know Myself by Virginia reach her target audience, the people who DeBerry and Donna Grant, the story of a will benefit from watching the film. In addilifelong friendship between three Africantion to the PAFF screening, she will reach American women. out to middle and high schools, hospitals “Who Do You Know?” will show at the FEBRUARY 2013

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and clinics, and even college freshmen orientation programs across the country. To Oyinade, impact is most important: “I think there’s definitely an audience for this film that needs to be reminded that it does-

Actors Alysia Livingston and Barron Edwards (in background) on location in Pasadena there.

n’t take that much to try to protect yourself and to protect others.” For more information, visit www.wdykmovie.com. V. Anderson holds an MFA in Film from New York University. She has worked in India, the Caribbean, and the U.S., and is currently based in New York City.

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CLOSEUP Actress & Project Reina Founder Gina Ravera Helps Young Women Maintain Healthier Lives by Dann Dulin photographed exclusively for A&U by Annie Tritt

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hink of Gina Ravera as a bridge. Well, not the Golden Gate Bridge, though San Francisco is her hometown, but more of a link between health and women. In 2007, she established Project Reina (PR), a pro-wellness nonprofit organization dedicated to reaching out to teens and twenty-somethings to prevent HIV infection, with special focus on Latinas and African Americans, Gina’s combined heritage. According to a 2006 Centers for Disease Control report, 22,000 youngsters aged ten to twenty-four were living with HIV in America, and a large portion of them were female. When Gina heard these stats, she was mortified. “I view the war against HIV/AIDS as the Civil Rights movement of my day,” declares Gina with strong conviction. “The rate of infection is going down globally, but in the U.S., the rate of infection hasn’t budged in over a decade. 1.2 million people in the United States have HIV. More than half a million Americans have died from AIDS and half of all people diagnosed with HIV in the United States are African-American. More than one-quarter of new HIV/AIDS cases in the United States are women and most of the new cases among women are Black. AIDS is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages twenty-five to thirty-four.” Gina recites these figures as if Detective Irene Daniels, the strong character she played in the TV crime drama series The Closer, were competently testifying in a murder case, intelligently stating her well-researched facts. In fact, she was starting Project Reina when she was on The Closer, where she met the project’s future Director of Production, Anna Notarides, who was working as an assistant director on the series. Says Gina:

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One day I was working on Reina material on my computer between scene set-ups and Anna wanted to know what I was working on. And why she no longer had to rally me to set. My desk on the show had become Project Reina headquarters. I never left my chair. At that point Project Reina was evolving from concept to reality; it was a lot of work. Anna said, ‘I’m guessing you need help. You can count me in. I am down for the cause, whatever I can do.’ And with that, she helped set up, produce, and made sure every event ran smoothly. I am in awe of her tireless support and commitment and deeply appreciate everything she has done for Project Reina.” “I set out to create a bridge to unite people, to increase awareness, compassion, personal responsibility, and to assist in defeating HIV/AIDS,” Gina explains with her trademark sassy voice that’s evident in characters she’s played, like Dr. Bettina DeJesus on ER and in the films The Great Debaters, Soul Food, Kiss the Girls, and Showgirls. She also appeared in the popular turn of the century TV series, The Time of Your Life. Project Reina is Gina’s response to losing individuals who educated and encouraged her while growing up. “Many of the most influential people in my life are no longer on the planet because of this disease. I’ve lost teachers, mentors, and friends. Given how hard the creative community was hit, I feel that the American culture,” she pauses and inserts, “the world, has been greatly robbed of the contributions of several generations of artists. The lives of so many bright and talented individuals ended far too soon. I wonder what the world would look like today had those young artists lived long enough to do their thang?” Gina first heard the word “AIDS” from

another kid in the school cafeteria. “He whispered it,” she notes in a soft, reminiscent voice. “It would be many years later that I would learn what the words ‘HIV’ and ‘AIDS’ meant and that the two were not interchangeable.” When asked what she instantly thinks of when she hears about the epidemic, she replies, “I envision ‘All the Individuals Determined to Succeed’ in finding a cure and saving lives. The heroes in the epidemic are all those living with HIV and AIDS who extend their voices to protect the health and wellbeing of young women, men, and children.” She continues. “AIDS has always affected my life. I’ve never known a world without AIDS. It was a scary time when I was coming of age.” Gina bristles when thinking of those early days. “Daily reports of the rising death toll were on TV and in the newspapers. I was also just beginning my training in the arts and so I got an up close and personal look at the effects of AIDS. In the early days, there was a lot of fear and misinformation about what AIDS was and how the disease was transmitted. I remember when people were afraid to even touch anyone they suspected could be infected,” she asserts with disdain. “Back then we didn’t have Google and so people talked, shared information, and educated one another. Ignorance was not able to take a strong foothold in my community for long.” With this backdrop of death, Gina says it was not an option for her to have unprotected sex. Even so, Gina gets tested every year. She also tests at the beginning and ending of a relationship, and sometimes even during. A child of the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war movement, and the women's movement, Gina was raised with a potent belief in

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“Una Reina is a woman of any age, color, or creed who accepts the responsibility for her own care and well-being.

She honors her body, mind, and soul. But she is not selfish. Rather, she is certain that self-esteem is the bedrock for a rich and meaningful life.”

the power of activism and community. She believes that, together with others, anyone can make a dream a reality. “I was taught that every individual has the power to assist in the evolution of his or her society. Had it not been for all the individuals who fought in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, I would not be who I am today,” she says. “I would not have lived in the neighborhood I grew up in, had the education I received, and most likely not had a career as an actor. It is out of deep appreciation and gratitude to the activism of those in the Movement that I make the effort to follow their example toward a more equal and just world.” Gina explains how she came to name her organization Project Reina. “Reina is Spanish for the word ‘Queen.’” For us especially, it is a term of deep endearment,” she points out and carries on. “Una Reina is one who is precious, preciosa, one who is divine, divina. Una Reina is a woman of any age, color, or creed who accepts the responsibility for her own

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care and well-being. She honors her body, mind, and soul. But she is not selfish. Rather, she is certain that self-esteem is the bedrock for a rich and meaningful life. With self-confidence, she tends to all aspects of her life—her education, career, health, family, friends and relationships—as if they were all part of a garden; taking care to plant seeds that will bear only the sweetest of fruits: self-love.” She takes a short breath and joyfully utters, “Long Live the Queen.” Gina’s idea for Project Reina emerged after attending Kaiser’s International Summit on HIV/AIDS in 2006. At one point during the seminar, José M. Zuniga, MSPH, PhD, President/CEO, IAPAC, asked the question, “How do we reach these girls?” posing the idea that prevention should be made sexy. “Project Reina was my answer to that question,” she states emphatically, in a modest tone. Yes, Project Reina deals with HIV prevention, but it also instills esteem and reverence for one’s own existence. This is done through the sup-

port of fellow actors, who Gina refers to as “hermanas” (sisters), Angel Moore, Ana Ortiz, Teresa Randall, and Lisa Vidal. They reach out to adolescent girls and young women, talking to them in their own language and sharing their own life experiences, essentially just being a Big Sister to them. They encourage these girls to be tested as well as to get their partners tested too. “Most [of these girls] have absolutely no idea how vulnerable they are,” remarks Gina matter-offactly, with a slight dip in her voice. Just as each character Gina portrays has many facets, her organization is multifunctional as well. They host and participate in community outreach programs and assist other nonprofit organizations that promote awareness and prevention like AIDS Project Los Angeles, Common Threadz, and Until There’s a Cure. “Our aim is to reach those who, to date, have been hardest to reach and hardest hit in the U.S. by the HIV/AIDS pandemic—young African-American and Latino

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American women and girls, ages thirteen to twenty four. In hopes of lasting behavioral change, information is shared in a culturally and socially relevant manner.” For her part in Common Threadz (the nonprofit assists children and their African rural villages by providing programs that empower them), Gina has teamed up with artist Budi Kwan to provide the organization with originally designed T-shirts that are for sale through Common Threadz. For each Tshirt sold, an African orphan will be supplied a school uniform. (Common Threadz also gives $5 to Project Reina for each shirt sold.) Most schools require a school uniform and the uniforms generally last for one year, so there’s an ongoing need for them. On its Web site, Common Threadz reports that just in South Africa alone, there are 1,400,000 orphans due to AIDS. With the exception of one paid staff member, most of Project Reina is made up of volunteers—other actors, writers, and industry folk that Gina has recruited. “I hope that Project Reina’s committed group is able to help in the race to get to zero: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDSrelated deaths,” she boasts in an excited manner. “For those who are HIV-positive, we are dedicated on their behalf to educating all people about the virus and the overwhelming need for love and compassion.” Gina’s fervor is infectious and admirable, and she certainly is a role model. The person she looks up to is Geoffrey Canada, a visionary and pioneer. He serves as president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), a nonprofit that provides social and educational services for Harlem children. HCZ’s motto is: “Doing whatever Gina and Anna Notarides, Director of Production at Project Reina it takes to educate children and strengthas there is hope and resolve, a cure will be en the community.” found and that one day there will be a As Gina settles into the New Year, she For more on the photography of Annie Tritt, log world without HIV or AIDS. Until that day on to www.annietritt.com. has her hands full with the organization. arrives, prevention is key.” And Gina is Project Reina was hoping to open an East closing the gap on that. Coast branch late last year, but, due to For more information about Project Reina visit nationwide budget cuts, they have not www.ProjectReina.org. been able to expand. “Fingers crossed, in Special thanks to photography assistant Victoria 2013 we hopefully will have the funds to Wollard and to RPM Studio in West Toluca Lake, Dann Dulin interviewed Tricia Helfer for the so,” enthuses Gina. “I believe that as long California, for the generous use of its space. December 2012 cover story. FEBRUARY 2013

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FINEST feelings

pop icon Kylie Minogue is a stylish and feverishly talented force in the fight against AIDS & we are lucky, lucky, lucky that she cares by Sean Black

photos by William Baker

T

he world stopped spinning, I was in a vortex,” admits Kylie about her 2005 diagnosis with early stage breast cancer. The devastating discovery forced the international recording artist to abruptly postpone the remainder of her Showgirl tour, which, after fourteen soldout dates in Europe, was indefinitely put on hold. “I’ve had my share of ups and downs in life but nothing like that,” assures the cancer survivor, who thankfully remains in complete remission today. “It was terrifying,” reflects Kylie, “I have never known terror besides that. So I can relate with your readers and people living with AIDS. I feel for them. Having had that experience gives me a much deeper understanding of what it is like to have a challenge in life whether its cancer, AIDS, or HIV, or any of these awful, awful diseases that we as humans are prone to; so yes, my understanding is just that much deeper—broader.” Commencing our interview, a member

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of her publicity team graciously announces the call, “Sean, I have Kylie.” I am being patched through on a Friday evening to London, the city that Kylie has called home for the past twenty years. Before she has the opportunity to speak, I gush with a barrage of starstruck praise. I catch myself, and then suddenly a familiar voice chimes in. My heart stops. “What an introduction—Hi!” warmly greets the singer, songwriter, actress, philanthropist, and fashion leader simply known round the globe as Kylie. The resonance of her melodic tone is unmistakable. I pinch myself. Consciousness regained. Yes, this is not a dream. Without batting a lash after my aweinspired fawning over her endless contributions to entertainment, charity, and style, the Australian-born humanitarian sweetly rescues my plummeting composure and directs me towards the topic of philanthropy. “Everyone should be doing his or her bit,” she says.

A “bit” that Kylie has been doing sizeable amounts of for years. Why? No other reason than she cares. “Caring is just normal for me,” she humbly concedes. “It was the way I was raised. It’s not something I try to do—it’s just what I believe in.” Continuing she shares, “I don’t have a story where I had that one best friend who was going through it [AIDS].” But HIV/AIDS has definitely touched a large and more generalized part of her world. “I do have friends and acquaintances [for whom] it has been a very real part of their lives,” she admits, remembering back especially to her earlier career, a time that celebrity support was scarce, barring the bold efforts of Elizabeth Taylor [A&U, February 2003], Morgan Fairchild [A&U, December 1997], and Sharon Stone. “It was a time that AIDS was taboo. It was perceived as very dangerous—more than people wanted to get involved with.” But stepping up to the sides of those early advocates (many times literally) Kylie did.

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Her biggest contribution by far in the fight against AIDS has been with amfAR, the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of HIV research, treatment, prevention, and education. “Kylie has been an extraordinary, dedicated friend to amfAR for years,” says the nonprofit’s Chairman of the Board, renowned fashion designer, successful businessman and generous humanitarian Kenneth Cole [A&U, November 2011]. “She has never hesitated to say ‘yes’ every time we’ve called on her. As a spokesperson, she could not be more passionate and gracious. Her infectious enthusiasm has made every amfAR event she’s been involved in a huge success. And it’s hard

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to think of anyone else who is so willing to do whatever it takes.” Doing whatever it takes, Kylie has hosted three of amfAR’s Inspiration Galas, a series of star-studded fundraisers brought to creative fruition by Josh Woods Productions and celebrating all aspects of men’s style. In addition to Kylie, the hugely successful events have featured performances from legendary artists such as Katy Perry, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, Jennifer Hudson, Scissor Sisters, Cyndi Lauper [A&U, June 2010], Courtney Love, and Sinéad O’Connor.

—Kenneth Cole, Chairman of the Board, amfAR The inaugural Inspiration Night was held at the New York Public Library honoring Ricky Martin and Jean-Paul Gaultier for their “enduring humanitarian spirit.” Gaultier, who, along with scads of other renowned designers like D&G, has

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photos by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for amfAR

Kylie at Cinema Against AIDS 2012

“Kylie is an icon, and any time someone with her level of visibility steps up and says, “this is important to me,” you know it’s going to resonate with the masses. Her involvement has absolutely helped to reduce stigma around the disease, and she’s given much-needed hope to people living with AIDS around the world as well.”


dressed Kylie for years and many of the pieces of pricey couture worn by the fit superstar, sporting lofty labels and red ribbons have been auctioned for the cause as well. Honorees of the event series receive the Piaget Award of Inspiration. Other recipients over the years have included James Franco, Kevin Huvane, Francisco Costa, Fergie, Michael Kors, Robert Duffy, and Marc Jacobs. “They [amfAR] are a great organization and I have worked with them a few times now,” says Kylie with pride clearly marking her voice. “They make it easy for me— they are doing all of the hard work. All I need to give is time and heart—and I can definitely do that—I love to.” Further giving of her time and heart, Kylie went on to host the second bash held at the famed Maxim’s in Paris, and the third at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. The series, which expanded to include events in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Miami, has raised more than $6 million to date for amfAR programs. Exemplifying her passionate commitment, Cole recounts a memorable and highly successful night at another of amfAR’s signature events. “At our Cinema Against AIDS gala back in 2007, Kylie attended as a guest, but ended up getting on stage and performing an impromptu cabaret-style version of ‘LocoMotion’ that just blew everyone away. She and Sharon Stone ended up doing a duet of ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ and dancing together on stage. Those are the kind of moments that make amfAR’s events really special and unique, and allow us to raise millions of dollars in one night for AIDS research.” Returning last May to the 2012 Cinema Against AIDS gala, Kylie led the roster of FEBRUARY 2013

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notables once again. The fundraiser was held at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France, in conjunction with the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival, which serendipitously premiered the FrancoGerman Indie-hit film Holy Motors. The movie stars Kylie in a musical-esque role that New York Times critic Dennis Lim labels “crucial” and in his article, “Illuminating Performances,” furthers that “her acting sideline looks as if it could finally be

something more.” The apex of the film peaks with a softly whispered number sung by Minogue, who, Lim adds, “barely able to contain the rush of outsize feelings, only makes this extraordinary moment all the more touching.” Cinema Against AIDS raised close to $11 million and amfAR happily touts its summer feat as its most successful event in its nearly thirty years of groundbreaking history. What she is doing at the moment is

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busily promoting her latest album, which is garnering smash reviews. The Abbey Road Sessions is her latest retrospective of her greatest hits, orchestrally remastered by the renowned English studio revered for its innovation and ties to British music royalty such as the Beatles and Pink Floyd. The compilation is a rich reinterpretation of some of her biggest songs, including “I Should Be So Lucky,” “Hand on Your Heart,” and, from her eleventh studio album (yes, eleventh with her twelfth due out this year), “All The Lovers.” At the time of our interview, she was prepping for yet another “way-too-quick” trip across the pond to perform her classic, signature track, “The Loco-Motion,” her 1987 summer revamp of the Little Eva song that ignited her recording career and which is included on The Abbey Road Ses-

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sions. She expressed her excitement about performing it live on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Dancing with the Stars. In a cheeky poke at Americana she vocalizes “Dancing With the Stars” in an American accent oozing with baseball and toasty apple pie. It is friendly and spot-on. We laugh. Surprisingly, the U.S. audience has been one of the toughest markets for her to crack the way she has overseas. Seriously, the siren has over 1.6 million followers on Twitter, where she regularly rewards eager trackers with Tweet-To-Unlock special surprise-goodies on her official site. Circling back to the passion that Kylie has acquired through her strife and the life challenge that she bravely contends “is probably not my last,” Kylie offers more. “You really do have to go into battle— there’s not many other words that we can

use because we really are fighting; fighting cancer, fighting AIDS. I take a lot of pride knowing that people are watching me and drawing inspiration from my story and finding some strength in that. It’s just so touching and it’s so important and I don’t think I could be saying the same things before my experience. As I have said I would be compassionate; I would want the best for people; I’d want to support people and spread goodness— but it is different when you’ve had your own particular moment.” In that particular moment, Kylie swiftly put her career on hold to devote the necessary time to her recovery with loved ones by her side. Comforted by focusing on the needs of others first, she authored a children’s book, aptly titled The Showgirl Princess, channeling her affections while she was on the mend. “You need to re-engage your strength—and if you don’t have it then friends and family will have it for you. There are ways to support yourself—to feel strong, but you can’t feel strong all the time—you just can’t—and what I’ve learned from my experience is to allow yourself a chance to feel low when you are low—just don’t stay there—try to bring yourself back up again.” At the top of her game, Kylie sheds more insight about this low period. “Perhaps before that part of my life, and it sounds crazy to say—but I think that some people thought that somehow I was different by being a celebrity. But that is ridiculous—we are all people trying to get through day-to-day life and we are all trying to cope. If you can do that then try and excel.” Excelling is exactly what she’s done. Kylie’s formidable career has stood the test of time—a quarter-century of brilliance and the pop-star is only forty-four. From her discovery as a childhood actress turned soap-opera star in her native Melbourne to the present, her youthful beauty con-

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Holy Motors photo courtesy Indomina Media

tinues to belie her staggering accomplishments. The self-described “chameleon” has recreated herself time and time again, sold over 68 million records worldwide, and has appeared in a number of films including Leos Carax’s aforementioned fantasy masterpiece, Holy Motors. Having released over fifty hit-singles internationally she has garnered a plethora of musical awards including ARIAs, Brits, Ivor Novello (for songwriting and composing), and a Grammy. She has graced the covers of every leading fashion and beauty magazine—many, multiple times. She was just featured for the seventh time on the January cover of British Elle as a stunning platinum blonde—a brighter shade in her arsenal of ever-changing looks and one that the radiant covergirl pulls off well. Another mentionable on The Abbey Road Sessions is a previously unreleased track, “Flower.” The accompanying video to the beautifully written song was that of Kylie’s own creation as well. It was Kylie’s directorial debut and she chose Cornwall, England—a sumptuous location lending itself to its picturesque and ethereal mood and a place she’d never been. “I had it in my head. It was very simple so I didn’t see the need of getting a director to try to explain what I wanted—so I just did it. It was very liberating and fortunately we had great weather.” She shares,“I am happy with how it turned out.” Questing further I hone in on the evocative and enigmatic lyrics of the song.

Kylie opens up. “I wrote ‘Flower’ in 2007. It didn’t make it onto the X album, which turned out to be very electronic. So, I performed it on the tour [of the same name] in 2008. I never gave any explanation as to what the song was about. I just performed it because I needed to express myself—I needed to get it off my chest. Fans really took it to heart—they loved it and it wasn’t connected to anything else in the show.” In a poignant moment, Kylie reveals an

Kylie as Eva Grace (Jean) in Holy Motors

intimate detail of her personal life. “I was writing a love letter to a child that I may or may not ever have, a spirit, an idea,” she touchingly shares. As I come to the realization that this interview was not a dream but rather a reallife dream-come-true, the easy-to-adore megastar sweetly concludes our interview with hope. “Look—I know when I was in that dark place, the littlest things became big things, and so I think it’s important that we offer comfort and inspiration for people.” She pauses and concludes. “I am leaving feeling even more inspired.” And Kylie—we are too. Special thanks to EMI and Kylie’s teams in Los Angeles and most especially London for their assistance in arranging this interview. A warm thanks to Kylie, Kenneth Cole and the team at amfAR (www.amfar.org) for their generous gifts of time and heart. For more information about Kylie check out her official Web site and her K25 Timeline at www.kylie.com. To follow her on Twitter: @KYLIEMINOGUE. Editor-at-Large Sean Black interviewed Debra Messing for the November 2012 cover story.

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Raising the

DANCERS FROM PENNSYLVANIA BALLET TAKE SHUT UP

AND DANCE, AN AIDS FUNDRAISER, TO THE NEXT LEVEL

BARRE

I

t may be one of Philadelphia’s best-kept secrets, but it’s also one of the city’s biggest AIDS fundraisers and one of the most extraordinary, entertaining events of its kind. Shut Up and Dance, a project to benefit MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) put on by a group of Pennsylvania Ballet dancers, presents its twenty-first anniversary performance on Saturday, March 23, at the historic Forrest Theater. According to event organizers, it promises to be an unforgettable evening that’s “fun, sexy, full of surprises and absolutely moving.” The genesis of Shut Up and Dance (SUD) is a tale of two start-up organizations dating back to the early 1990s. Four dancers who were losing friends and family members to AIDS wanted to do something about it. Another small group, MANNA, had been working out of a church basement bringing meals to people with AIDS in need. The dancers decided to

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support the fledgling organization and raise money by doing what they do best— shut up and dance. It began as a bare-bones production at The Trocadero, a relatively small concert venue. The show’s popularity has increased year after year. In 2012, with more than two dozen dancers performing, SUD packed the house at the 1,800-seat theater and raised nearly $150,000. “It’s a wonderful show, full of laughter and moments of pure joy,” Ian Hussey, SUD producing director and Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer, tells A&U. “Not only is it a really special opportunity for us to give back to the community, it’s a chance for us to do something that’s bigger than us.” Unlike some similar events, Shut Up and Dance began as a grass-roots endeavor and has remained that way. Because it’s not an official Pennsylvania Ballet project, the dancers who choose to participate do it on their own

time, choreograph the pieces, put together their own costumes, and oversee all elements of the production. SUD preparation takes place “if we have a free moment when we’re rehearsing [for the next ballet production] or at lunch time, after hours or on breaks between performances,” says Hussey. That’s why SUD typically comes together at the last minute—sometimes just days before the show. “What’s so special about Shut Up and Dance is how the young dancers have embraced it,” says MANNA executive director Sue Daugherty. “They’re engaged; they care and believe in the mission. It’s their vision and they own it!” Hussey, at the ripe old age of twentyseven, is a perfect example. He’s been working on the show every year since he joined the company in 2004. “We want to take it to new heights as we pass it from generation to generation,” he states with exuberance. “We want it to get bigger and better and grow.” “It’s the event around here that everybody gets excited about,” declares Daugherty, thirty-nine. Every year, the creative team challenges itself to come up with new and different ideas to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, always expecting the unexpected. But there’s one piece that’s been a constant in every performance, “The Dying Swan,” a classic ballet solo featuring one of the company’s leading ballerinas. “It’s such an emotional night. When ‘Dying Swan’ is being performed, it’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop. You feel most people in that room have some connection to somebody they lost from AIDS.” Hosted by WXPN radio personality Michaela Majoun, this year’s performance features a “Showgirls” theme. Patrons can count on a high-energy contemporary pro-

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MANNA photo Courtesy MANNA; ballet photos by Patrick Hagerty

by Chip Alfred


duction packed with glitz, glamour, sequins, and sex appeal. With ticket prices starting at $25 to make it accessible to everyone, it’s a full evening of events, starting with a VIP pre-show cocktail reception and ending with a festive after-party, to which everyone attending the show is invited to join the performers and dance the night away together. “The audience realizes what a special event it is and hopefully they want to come back for more,” says Hussey. And many of them do—year after year— for this one-night-only event. “It’s unique and exciting. You’re not going to see it any other time of year, and it’s for a great cause,” says Daugherty. In 2005, MANNA expanded its founding mission to include providing meals and nutritional counseling for people battling all life-threatening illnesses. At the time, there was some resistance from the AIDS community, concerned MANNA wouldn’t continue providing the same level of services to people living with HIV/AIDS. According to Daugherty, MANNA made the transition so it would be able to qualify for ongoing funding to maintain its services for the HIV/AIDS community. In fact, with the expanded focus and eleven diet modifications,

MANNA is able to better provide nutrition and counseling for people with HIV/AIDS who may also be suffering from diabetes, cancer or other illnesses. Daugherty points out that MANNA isn’t just about nourishment. “A lot of our clients are alone and they have a relationship with their driver who makes deliveries. People are grateful for the meals and the compassion.” She adds that what really sets MANNA apart is “the science behind our nutrition. We don’t just deliver food. Food is medicine.” All of MANNA’s meals are prepared in-house from scratch and supervised by a group of registered dieticians on staff. Seventy-five thousand meals per month are prepared by an army of volunteers and delivered for free seven days a week (three meals per day) to people at acute nutritional risk throughout the greater Philadelphia region. MANNA is making a difference, according to a threeyear pilot study conducted in conjunction with OMG Center for Collaborative Learning. Healthcare costs have decreased, and frequency and duration of hospital stays have been reduced for MANNA’s critically-

ill clients. “HIV/AIDS always holds a special place in our hearts and Shut Up and Dance always brings that to the forefront. Every year it reinforces our dedication to HIV and AIDS.” Tara Keating, a former Pennsylvania Ballet soloist and one of Hussey’s predecessors as producing director, likens the show to a ride on a roller coaster. “You laugh. You cry. There are moments of seriousness. There are moments of craziness. You never know what’s going to happen next.” Hussey, who says gearing up for this show is always his favorite time of the year, describes the love and energy in the theater that night with one word—indescribable. “The best part is we’re doing this for people who are sick that can’t feed themselves,” he sums it up. “MANNA has this wonderful gift they give to all these people who are less fortunate than us. This is a show and event that’s very close and personal to everybody involved.” For tickets and more information, visit www.mannapa.org. Chip Alfred is Editor at Large for A&U and a nationally published freelance journalist based in Philadelphia.

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LifeGuide

Bathroom Reading by Chael

Needle

A NEWLY APPROVED ANTI-DIARRHEAL AGENT SEEKS TO COUNTER SIDE EFFECTS OF HAART

R

ecently, the FDA approved Fulyzaq (crofelemer) 125 mg delayed-release tablets for the symptomatic relief of non-infectious diarrhea in adult patients living with HIV/AIDS who are also on antiretroviral therapy. Available in early 2013 from Salix Pharmaceuticals, which develops and markets prescription pharmaceutical products for the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, Fulyzaq is a first-inclass gastrointestinal agent of botanical origin, derived from the red latex sap of the Croton lechleri plant, native to northwestern South America and also known as dragon’s blood. The anti-secretory agent is thought to work by inhibiting the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-stimulated cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride ion (C1-) channel and the calcium-activated C1- channels. Secretory diarrhea, and its associated symptoms like dehydration and abdominal cramping, is caused by chloride ion secretion into the GI lumen and an influx of water that is activated to flush the ions out. “In the past, diarrhea that was associated with HIV was caused primarily by opportunistic pathogens—protozoan pathogens, some bacterial pathogens, as well—and it was also felt that it was due to HIV itself. In fact part of what used to be called the AIDS wasting syndrome was not just weight loss...but also either fever or diarrhea. But that’s not the kind of diarrhea that we’re seeing now,” says Rodger D. MacArthur, MD, professor of medicine, Wayne State University in Detroit. Immune recovery effected by antiretroviral medications in HIV-positive individuals usually prevents infection with these pathogens; “however, the antiretrovirals themselves are associated with [non-infectious] diarrhea. In particular the protease inhibitor class, a commonly

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used class for initial and later rounds of therapy, is associated with diarrhea of some sort in anywhere from ten to twenty percent of individuals.” It’s important for individuals to realize that there are many types of diarrhea and that they need expert help in diagnosing it as well as treating it. Unlike Fulyzaq, overthe-counter anti-diarrheals and prescription versions of these medications do not target the chloride ion channel, reminds Dr. MacArthur. Instead they work by slowing gut motility or shutting down the gut altogether. Additionally, these products do not come with a recommended dosing schedule and, if an individual overuses them, he or she may face serious complications, including, potentially, a complete absence of gut movement. In addition, these products have never been studied in HIV-positive individuals, Dr. MacArthur points out. Typically, he shares, antiretrovirals cause diarrhea via a secretory mechanism, similar to bacterial pathogen-causing traveler’s diarrhea. But whereas traveler’s diarrhea is self-limited and usually runs its course, antiretroviral-associated diarrhea can be chronic. That is, persistent use of antiretrovirals may cause persistent diarrhea. In this context, diarrhea may become not only a quality of life concern but a treatment adherence concern, as well. Says Dr. MacArthur: “What physicians

tend to underestimate is how disabling and how lifestyle-changing [chronic] diarrhea can be. We have a number of patients who plan their day to make sure there are toilets within minutes of where they’re going to be; some patients actually start their day and have to turn around if they have a bowel movement, an accident, on the way to work. Or they know that often the diarrhea occurs within a half an hour to an hour or so of taking medication, so they plan to take their medication around the time that they can be at home or somewhere near a toilet. Or they stop taking the medication altogether.” Although the reasons for stopping antiretrovirals are varied and complex, side effects make up a large percentage of those reasons, says Dr. MacArthur. “If you look at specific side effects, right up there in the top three would be gastrointestinal complaints: diarrhea, cramping, bloating.” If an individual’s HIV has not caused symptoms before he or she starts taking antiretrovirals, the side effects that come with medications may present a new challenge, he says, as “they may believe that they’re better off without the symptoms and then they don’t take their antiretrovirals and HIV continues to replicate and over time destroy the immune system.” Or, in another scenario, the benefits gained by antiretrovirals, especially if an individual has experienced ill health due to HIV, may make some patients willing to put off addressing something that may seem less significant like diarrhea, Dr. MacArthur says. But they need not put it off, he adds. The first step is to not dismiss diarrhea and to report it to one’s physician so that an appropriate diagnosis may be established and an appropriate treatment may be considered. Chael Needle wrote about Walgreens’ HIV-specialized pharmacies in the January issue.

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illustration by Timothy J. Haines

treatment horizons


Please join me this holiday season and

GIVE

the

GIFT

of

HOPE.

Here are two things you can do to HELP SOMEONE LIVING WITH or AFFECTED BY HIV.

Trigger the donation of a free testing kit from Alere. www.morepositive.com

Help PSI add a year of healthy life for someone who needs access to health care by donating $29.19. www.psi.org


LifeGuide

Year in Review WHAT WERE THE TOP FIVE HCV-RELATED STORIES OF 2012?

Encouraging DAA Phase II Trial Results A large number of reports were released at this year’s American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Conference about the new DAA clinical trial results [A&U, October 2012] from various combination studies, including ones led by Abbott, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Gilead. Many studies showed cure rates approaching ninety to 100 percent, lower side effects when compared to PEG/RBVcontaining regimes, and shorter treatment durations. The Phase II trial results in 2012 suggest that an interferon-free HCV therapy will likely be available in less than five years. CDC Recommends Baby Boomer Testing In May 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published their recommendation for a one-time HCV antibody test for everyone born between 1945 and 1965, known as the Baby Boomer cohort [A&U, June 2012]. Just one test of all the members of that generation may identify 800,000 people with

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hepatitis C, preventing liver cancer and perhaps saving 120,000 lives, the Center said. Identifying the virus in as many people as possible early in the disease’s progression would also save money, the CDC said. Outbreaks of HCV in Healthcare Settings Several HCV outbreaks occurred at medical centers in 2012. The worst was at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire. A traveling medical technician was charged with switching syringes from one filled with a painkiller to one filled with saline solution. The technician, David Kwiatkowski, was accused of infecting more than thirty people with hepatitis C. In December, he pleaded not guilty to multiple charges. If convicted, he could face a prison sentence up to ninety-eight years. Because Kwiatkowski also worked in other hospitals, investigations are ongoing in medical centers across seven states. The case has finally shined a light on the light regulations governing medical technicians and the inability of employers to screen applicants through background checks.

New Prevention & Assistance Initiatives On May 18, which was declared National HCV Testing Day, testing initiatives were sponsored in over twenty cities across the U.S. The goal was to raise the level of awareness and diagnosis of hepatitis in the general population. In addition, a national helpline for people with hepatitis C was launched in 2012. The national helpline is composed of various regional HCVrelated organizations that can provide local support services to people in need. The number is 1 (877) help-4-hep. Deaths from HCV Surpassed HIV This one was from late 2011 [A&U, December 2011], but it sparked discussions throughout 2012 about the need to fund HCV at levels commensurate with the human toll it takes. At the 62nd AASLD Conference in San Francisco, the CDC released a study that looked at deaths between 1999 and 2007 and found that the annual deaths from HCV (15,106) surpassed deaths from HIV (12,734). The report also found that deaths from HBV were 1,815 and many of the HCV and HIV deaths were in people who had coinfections. The report’s prescription for reducing all hepatitis-related deaths: “New policy directions and commitment to detect and link infectious persons to care and successful treatment.” Larry Buhl is a radio news reporter, screenwriter, and novelist living in Los Angeles. His young adult novel, The Genius of Little Things, debuted in January 2013. His comic mystery novel, We’re Here to Help, will be available later in 2013.

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illustration by Timothy J. Haines

T

here were many important news stories about hepatitis in 2012. In this column we review the biggest Hep Talk stories of the past year and cover a few that slipped through the cracks. The developments with the biggest possible impacts were the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of testing all baby boomers, and the stellar results from DDA trials, which suggest a quick path to an interferon-free HCV therapy.


AIDS KNOW MORE. The AIDS Foundation of Western Massachusetts exists to provide dignity, compassion, and understanding to individuals affected by or infected with HIV and AIDS, and to eliminate the stigma associated with the epidemic. We offer grants of financial assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS, and help in finding appropriate services. We also provide education through community events, youth peer education, and support groups to empower individuals to end the spread of HIV. We support the improvement of the lives of people infected and affected by the virus.

For more information about the Foundation and how you can help, please visit aidsfoundationwm.org


The Culture of AIDS [books] When the Right One Comes Along by Paul Alan Fahey JMS Books I love a good romantic tale that also brings you back to days gone by; allowing you to reminisce and recall that special someone (or those special people) that have helped to mold the way you see love, and love others now. And there’s nothing like a well-written, historical and contemporary book that plants you in the middle of characters that are believable, likeable, but with faults; in other words, real. That’s what you get with Paul Alan Fahey’s latest novella, When the Right One Comes Along. Philip, the main character, is an English professor, and has had a series of romantic relationships against the backdrop of the early days of the epidemic, with references to Rock Hudson and Ronald Reagan. The story begins in 1985 and spans twenty-five years. He’s been a caretaker, watching his best friend die. And despite the threats in finding intimacy back then, Philip is sure there is a Mr. Right perfectly suited for him out there—somewhere. Philip is a man who desperately needs love, and is willing to put himself in the trenches of the war in search of that special someone. At one point, he succeeds, meeting a successful, handsome man he thinks is his perfect mate, and the answer to all of his prayers. But the outcome (which I won’t give away here—trust me, it’s a great twist to the story!) doesn’t work out as planned. Paul Alan Fahey’s writing is clean, easy and flowing—lyrical and accessible—making it very enjoyable. He doesn’t avoid the harsh realities of death or illness. While he’s taking care of his best friend in the beginning of the story, the details of AIDS and its horrible effects aren’t ignored at all. But they are an important aspect of the story in terms of how he wants to love, and be loved.

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This is a wonderful, well-written novella that I believe many of “us” will relate to on many different levels. That’s what makes this story so unique and good. I hope you’ll give When the Right One Comes Along a chance. I think you’ll find a writer’s work (with other novellas available that are just as wonderful!) well-worth getting to know. —Chuck Willman

Songs for the New Depression by Kergan Edwards-Stout Circumspect Press If you know Songs for the New Depression is also the title of a Bette Midler album from the 1970s, you’ll have a hint about the tone of this debut novel by Kergan EdwardsStout. Like the Divine Miss M, it’s funny, and, like her early musical work, it has a wellspring of darkness and pain and bittersweet longing. AIDS features prominently in the novel, but it’s like a character that informs the narrator’s relationship to others before it ends his life. It’s a graphic memoir of Gabriel Travers, a fictional gay man who reflects on his life through three time periods: 1990s, as he comes to terms with his choices in life and his imminent death; 1980s, when he sought love, unsuccessfully, through many sex partners; and 1970s, as he bursts onto

the gay scene. We follow Gabe’s relationships with his pal Clare from high school, his mother, Grace, who explores some sexual liberation that surprises him, and the man who becomes his final partner. Edwards-Stout takes some risks by making Gabe deeply flawed and sometimes a downright pain. Gabe can be distant, selfabsorbed and caustic right up to the end—yet recognizably human. The laugh-outloud humor helps to smooth over Gabe’s rough edges—it’s told from his point of view—and keeps the book from being just a two-hanky weeper—though there are tears to be shed—or merely an “AIDS book.” The structure is clever. Edwards-Stout uses reverse-chronological order to build sympathy for Gabe as he faces his own death, before showing us the young and careless man he was. Near the end, an incident from his youth puts the story into a new context. The laughs make the book deceptively breezy. Songs shines with psychological truth and historical accuracy. —Larry Buhl Chuck Willman has had poetry, erotica, and essays published or forthcoming in a variety of anthologies, journals, and magazines. He is also the author of After (forthcoming from JMS Books). He lives in Las Vegas with his partner of twenty-four years. Larry Buhl is a radio news reporter, screenwriter, and novelist living in Los Angeles. His young adult novel, The Genius of Little Things, debuted in January 2013. His comic mystery novel, We’re Here to Help, will be available later in 2013.

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A Calendar of Events We hope you dance. And so does the 12th Annual Dance Marathon at UCLA, presented by the Pediatric AIDS Coalition (PAC). Dance Marathon 2013: Illuminate! challenges you to stay on your feet for twenty-six hours to help children affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. PAC is committed to helping work toward an AIDS-free generation by addressing pediatric AIDS. It’s easy to see why the event is touted as UCLA’s biggest philanthropic tradition. Over its eleven-year history, Dance Marathon has raised $3 million. Last year’s event alone brought in $451,144.03! Every year, the marathon helps empower the campus community to step up and take action. Proceeds benefit three organizations: the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Project Kindle, and the UCLA

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AIDS Institute. The weekend event will be the party of the year, with live music and appearances by celebrities and activists. Dancers will receive oodles of support, including guidance from dance captains, plenty of meals, and plenty of goodies. If you do not dance, consider joining the fun as a moraler, whose job it is to enthusiastically encourage dancers to stay on their feet, or as a volunteer. Date: February 16–17; time: 11 a.m. (2/16)–1 p.m. (2/17); location: UCLA Ackerman Grand Ballroom, Los Angeles, California; cost: dancer ($250 fundraising minimum), moraler ($30/shift), volunteer (free). For more information about Illuminate! or to register, log on to www.bruindancemarathon.org.

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Left Field that are operating in Muslim-majority couned law-abiding moderate U.S. citizens, mentalist missionaries have been toiling tries, and stir up opposition because they are since Graham went on to add, “They quietly to turn Africa into a new frontier openly intolerant of all Muslim belief? want to build as many mosques and culfor their ideologies. Indeed—as long ago Mali presents us with a provocative settural centers as they possibly can so they as 1979, British Islamic author A. A. ting to ask this question. As I read USAID can convert as many Americans as they Sulaiman stated in his book Christianity documents on the 2006 project, I don’t and Mission in Mali that “Christian evange- can to Islam.” Graham even figures among those fundamentalist figures who see any agreement by the Mali governlization programs…specifically target Musment that their people could be proselyaccuse President Obama of being a lims. Mali, for example,…is said to be a tized. Yet, in fact, this is what happened. closet Muslim. fertile ground for missionaries.” The Obama administration continues On Samaritan’s Purse’s Web site, they One example of today’s more Islamothe Bush-era policy of giving a pass to tell a typical story of how their AIDS interphobic NGOs is Samaritan’s Purse, whose faith-based NGOs. Current policy allows ventions work towards conversion. “Last president/CEO is Franklin Graham, son of for up to 50 percent of evangelist Billy Graham. PEPFAR prevention to The organization runs a be faith-based—more program called World In 2010 alone, Samaritan’s Purse spent over than fifty percent must Medical Mission. Accord$300 million dollars worldwide, mostly from be reported to Congress. ing to SP’s Web site stateAnd what about an ment, their religion is the private contributions. But according to unthinkable situation only true one on Earth, so USAID on-line, $159,951 of this amount was where some hard-liner they are obviously in Mali taxpayer dollars from USAID FBO’s American staff for one purpose only: to might need rescuing by convert Muslims to their U.S. troops? Do First brand of Christianity. Amendment rights of far-right NGOs November, Christians trained by SamariTheir MO is to soften up Muslims for conextend to their operations in foreign countan’s Purse visited Mary in her home and version by doing humanitarian medical tries, where their attitudes might put their found her in a very critical condition. work, including AIDS work. own people in harm’s way—not to mention There was no food for her in the house, In 2010 alone, Samaritan’s Purse spent staff and converts of more moderate Chrisand no milk for the baby. She explained to over $300 million dollars worldwide, mostly tian NGOs who might be more interested the group that she was HIV positive. She from private contributions. But according to in public health than proselytizing? USAID on-line, $159,951 of this amount was did not want her baby to be infected with Should the U.S. be monitoring NGO the virus, but didn’t know what to do with taxpayer dollars from USAID and other govproselytizing more closely? her child or her life.…The group however, ernment grants. Thus American taxpayers By the time A&U readers see this column, did not limit themselves to only providing are helping this group to pursue their ideoMali events will have moved forward. I may for her physical and social needs. They logical goals in Mali. return to this subject in future columns. also introduced her to Jesus.” Does this NGO respect the religious Another USAID-funded Christian beliefs of even the moderate Muslims who constitute Mali’s majority? Evidently NGO operating in Mali is Church World Further reading: Service. There, CWS is supposedly runnot. During a televised town-hall, ning cash-for-work programs. Meanwhile Franklin Graham called Islam “wicked” “Involvement of Religious Leaders in the Nationand “evil.” Clearly, “evil” Muslims includ- the organization is in hot water in al Response to HIV/AIDS in Mali: A PathbreakAfghanistan, where it’s being investigated ing Initiative.” USAID, http://pdf.usaid.gov/ for unwelcome proselytizing. The organipdf_docs/PNADP935.pdf zation has received millions from USAID over the years. “Islam in Mali in the Neoliberal Era,” by Benjamin All in all, faith-based NGOs have fed Soares (African Affairs, December 2005). heavily at the federal trough. During the https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/ Bush era, PEPFAR gave close to $2 billion 1887/9544/ASC-1293978-019.pdf?sequence=1 dollars to 159 FBOs in 2001–2005. Today, the Obama-era total is yet to be seen, but Franklin Graham on AIDS and Africa in 2010, $1,450,000 was earmarked for www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/aids/ Mali by CDC alone—a team to assist local interviews/graham.html NGO partners and Mali government research on AIDS-related behavioral studAuthor of fiction bestsellers and provocative comies started in 2009. mentary, Patricia Nell Warren has her writings So I have some questions. Should U.S. archived at www.patricianellwarren.com. Reach taxpayer dollars support faith-based NGOs her by e-mail at patriciawarren@aol.com.

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photo by Stephen Churchill Downes

continued from page 20


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Ruby’s Rap

didn't lose anybody close to me.

continued from page 22

Argentina working on some art project and my mother knocked at the door. I opened it and she said, “Something horrible is happening. Come and see on the news.” We both went into the dining room where the TV was and she pointed, “Look, Rock Hudson is infected with la peste rosa.” That was the nickname they used to use back then, the “Pink Plague.” She had a big crush on him and she was very disappointed when she found out that he was gay. Gee, I remember that shocking announcement Rock made, too. I remember back then people were talking nonsense and scaring people, saying that it could be transferred by sweat, saliva, and by even just touching the person who was already infected. It was horrible. [Our entrées arrive. We begin to munch.] How has the epidemic affected you? It affected me a bit in the beginning when people were splattering chaos about it and discriminating against homosexuals. I am fortunate, I have to say, because I

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How grand. Let’s keep it like that. You were in high school in the eighties. Were you taught HIV prevention in school? Not really. It was taboo where I lived. My family was conservative and so were my teachers at school. [His luminous eyes squint as he remembers.] I do think that we had a brief class once but that was it. I learned on my own by getting information through magazines, newspapers, and also by sharing opinions with open-minded people. You’ve been tested. When was the first time? My first time was in Argentina, I was very young, and it was quite an experience…[He smiles, reminiscing, then takes a sip of white vino.] I went with one of my best friends. She and her boyfriend were having sex without protection, so she asked me to please go with her. I then confessed to her that I was having casual sex without protection, too, with a stranger I had met at a club in the bathroom, where we had sex for the first time. We both looked at each other, said, “Oh my god!”— and then just laughed. (He pauses.) I get tested once or twice a year now.

Looking back, what is better today in the HIV/AIDS community? I like that there’s more awareness today, though it would be great if there were more campaigns that were not limited to just the gay community. There needs to be an increase of education in all different locations and public institutions. Amen! [We pass up dessert for coffee.] You’ve always called yourself a “universal artist,” what does that mean? I use that expression as it gives me power every time I remember that the energy I project through my images and art pieces are coming from the universe. That makes me feel that I am a free spirit who can travel miles and miles away beyond my actual point. My imagination makes me a universal artist, and once you get close [to my projects] you will see what I am talking about. [He takes a deep inhale and in his cute native ArgentinianSpanish accent, passionately states] Art for me is universal and has no limit. Ruby Comer is an independent journalist from the Midwest who is happy to call Hollywood her home away from home. Reach her by e-mail at MsRubyComer@aol.com.

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On December 16, 2012, about 400 runners in nothing but their undergear (and most with a Santa cap) braved the cold as they took to the streets to create holiday merriment and raise funds for the free services of San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF). Starting and ending at Lookout, a bar/restaurant on the corner of 16th and Market, the runners—donning variations of Santa costumes (and at least one Christmas tree and one Snowman)—dashed through the streets in a spontaneous blitz of boisterous fun. An inflatable Santa towered over the Castro District caper and Noe Street was closed off to create the Santa Skivvies Village. The Santa Skivvies Run raised over $50,000. SFAF provides education, advocacy, and direct services for prevention and care tailored to the needs of the local communities it serves. From innovative social media campaigns to street outreach, SFAF raises awareness to reduce HIV infections and secure healthcare access for those living with HIV/AIDS. The nonprofit also recently released How AIDS Ends, an anthology of essays from visionaries within the AIDS community. For more information, log on to www.sfaf.org/santa.

Clockwise from top left: Top fundraiser Steven Bracco; everyone’s a front runner in their skivvies; participants like Suppositori Spaz Spelling (front) and Mercedez Munro even used Segways (and festooned them with holiday swag); (left to right) Sam Kohler, Dan O'Leary, Scott Mills (front), Crowley Rae Jepsen, Daniel Powell, and Paul Saccone; at Santa Skivvies Run, everyone’s invited to play reindeer games

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photos 1& 3 © 2012 by Georg Lester; photos 2 & 5 © 2012 by DOT; photo 4 © 2012 by Sam Breach

Santa Skivvies Run


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A&U Magazine - February 2013