Category: HIV

College Wrestler Sentenced to 30 Years in HIV Case Is Now Free:


After serving five and a halfyears of a 30-and-half-year sentence for failing to disclose his HIV status to sex partners, Michael Johnson has been released from prison, reports BuzzFeed News.

The legal saga began October 2013, when Johnson, then a star wrestler at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, was arrested by local police for allegedly withholding the fact that he had HIV from six former sexual partners. (The sexual partners were male, and four were white; Johnson, who is Black, identifies as gay).

A Closer Look at Chunky Asian Boys and HIV in Japan’s Gayborhood:


In the June issue of POZ, we highlighted a collection of LGBT-related books for Pride. One was Shinjuku Story Vol. 2, a photography book by visual artist Kaz Senju. The images document Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ni-chome neighborhood, which boasts nearly 350 gay and lesbian bars, most of which are “the size of a walk-in closet and seat only four to 10 people,” according to Senju.

Those photos left us wanting to know more about Shinjuku and how HIV fits into the scene there, so we emailed the New York City–based artist, who has been traveling throughout Asia. You can learn more about his work at and by following his Instagram @kazviju (we include a few of his posts and photos throughout the interview).

9.4 Million People Have HIV and Don’t Know It, Says Global Report:


Nearly 37 million people were living with HIV across the globe in 2017, according to estimates in a new report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). About 25 percent, or 9.4 million people, are unaware of their positive status.

The 92-page report is titled Knowledge Is Power: Know Your Status, Know Your Viral Load. You can download it for free here.


Are you a gay trans man or woman who has been able to medically transition without your sexuality getting in the way? You have a trans man to that for that.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 16, 1951 Lou Graydon Sullivan grew up with a complicated relation with gender and sexuality. Pre-transition in his publication “A Transvestite Answers a Feminist”, he says, “at age 5 I had a Davy Crockett birthday party. The climax was when I appeared. I was Davy Crockett and I can still remember my thrill at the moment”.  At age 17, he had a self-described “feminine” male partner. The two of them played with gender roles and were very attracted to the gay liberation movement. From early in his life he felt an attraction towards effeminate gay men especially.

In 1973 he was identifying as a female transvestite. He immersed himself and was accepted by the Milwaukee gay drag scene. During this time, he began to furiously research historical FtM transsexuals, disparately searching for another gay trans man but continually coming up empty. He would sometimes wonder if he was delusional.

In 1975 he moved to San Francisco. By this point he was recognizing himself as FtM, but felt isolated in the exclusively MtF community. The day he was to start individual therapy, the story of another FtM man broke. Steve Dain had transitioned in the Bay Area and desired to continue to work in the school where he taught, though switching from girls to boy coach. This was Sullivan’s first contact with another FtM individual and he followed the story (the principal reacted phobically, Dain won a series of lawsuits and ultimately was forced to leave his job. He did, however, find success as a chiropractor.). He contacted Dain, making his first contact with another FtM man.

When Sullivan attempted to start physical transition, he was routinely denied on the basis of his sexual orientation. At the time, heterosexuality was a prerequisite for transition. He  campaigned for, and was eventually successful in, removing homosexuality as something that barred a person from transition. He was able to obtain hormones and top surgery. However, when seeking a phalloplasty, the gender clinics still denied him even though he had happily been living as a gay man for years. He eventually went to a doctor and in 1986 obtained what the doctor called a “ganitalplasty”. It was after this surgey he was diagnosed with Aids and given ten months to live.

Upon his diagnosis, he wrote, “I took a certain pleasure in informing
the gender clinic that even though their program told me I could not
live as a Gay man, it looks like I’m going to die like one.” He ultimately died on March 2, 1991 at 39 from AIDS-related complications. He left an organization, now known as FTMI, or Female to Male International and a series of books and pamphlets he wrote for FtM individuals that are still used to this day. He was identified as the first trans man to die from AIDS.

He is largely the reason we see sexuality and gender as separate entities. Lou Sullivan is a trans man who left the world better for being in it. I, as a gay trans man, owe him a debt for being able to live as I do.



The Impact of Aids on the Artistic Community

September 13, 1987

[ID: scan of an article on the AIDS crisis by Fran Lebowitz – text below the cut]

Keep reading

I feel dumb asking this, but I swear I’ve googled everywhere and I can’t find the answers I’m looking for. Were lesbians affected by aids in the aids crisis? Bisexual women? I’ve heard of many men passing from it and never women, but I don’t want to be incorrect in my history. I really do feel dumb asking, but, I’m 15 and new to learning queer history as I’m just starting to adjust to being a lesbian. It’s not like they teach this stuff in school. I’m all on my own in learning about it. :/

Never feel silly for asking! You have to learn somewhere, and this is absolutely the space for it! A teacher once told me, “We don’t know until we learn.” Which, yeah, but it’s good to keep in mind sometimes. We’re all learning.

Lesbians, bisexual women, and queer women were absolutely affected by the AIDS crisis. Many women did die. However, it’s complicated. Of all women, trans women were the most affected, especially trans sex workers of color, especially black women. Cis women who only had sex exclusively with cis women were not really at risk via sex*, but of course, that is not the only means of transmission.

For cis WSW, the biggest risk is sharing needles and blood to blood contact. A huge issue was/is thinking there is no risk because there is little to no risk via one mean of transmission. For bi and queer women who have sex with men, especially MSM, there is a risk of transmission via sex, as well as other means. This is all to say that yes, LBQ women died during the AIDS crisis and are still affected today.

The reason you hear mainly about gay men is that in the beginning and for some time after, it was believed that only gay (and eventually bi men) were affected. The initial name for AIDS was gay-related immune deficiency (GRID). “Gay cancer” and “community-acquired immune dysfunction” were also used.

All that said, the biggest effect on LBQ women was social. By far, LBTQ women can be credited with bringing the LGBTQIA+ community together in the first place. Gay and bi men and LBQ women were generally very separate in the 70s. After the AIDS crisis really hit gay and bi men, LBQ women started food banks, blood drives, home care. They went with gay men to doctor’s appointments and hospitals. When people died and funeral homes and cemeteries refused the bodies, they would hold funerals in their homes.

It is rumored that Vito Russo, on his deathbed, said: “Remember the lesbians and what they did for us.”

* ”According to the CDC, there are no confirmed cases of HIV from female-to-female transmission” (Deol, Heath-Toby, Smith, Cahill. HIV Risk for Lesbians, Bisexuals & Other Women Who Have Sex With Women. Women’s Institute at GMHC. June 2009.)

I’d also recommend this list of HIV/AIDS-related books.


Carlos Jáuregui

A life is more than the sum of its parts. As we dive into the life of Carlos Jáuregui we find this to be particularly evident. An Argentinian man who, while ambitious and accomplished, did not get the time to build the life he deserved left a legacy that will span out farther than he could have imagined. (Read Full Article)

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Let’s spend today remembering Lou Sullivan, gay trans man, author, and political activist, the stone-cold sumbitch responsible for getting heterosexuality removed as a requirement for medical transition.  After testing positive for HIV, he wrote in his diary, “I took a certain pleasure in informing
the gender clinic that even though their program told me I could not
live as a gay man, it looks like I’m going to die like one.”

a friend and boy
June 16, 1951 – March 2, 1991

As PrEP Use Soars Among Men in California, Racial Disparities Persist:


Use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has expanded rapidly in recent years among beneficiaries of California’s Medicaid system, known as Medi-Cal. Following trends seen across the country, white men older than 25 are the predominant population using Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine) as prevention for HIV.


Education about HIV prevention is critical as we work to serve the communities disproportionately affected by HIV. 

What is PEP?

Learn more about PEP>> 

What is PrEP?

Learn more about PrEP>>