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Mark S. King

Welcome, My Friends

 

I’m an HIV positive gay man in recovery from drug addiction. What’s not to love?

Be sure to check my entire video library here or browse my blog postings below. Get ready for some frank opinion, inspirational writing, debate on sexual politics, videos of poz life featuring my family and friends, and even some infamous drag. And please follow me on Twitter and join the My Fabulous Disease Facebook page!

 

Kerry Thomas is a Free and Very Grateful Man

Kerry Thomas is a Free and Very Grateful Man

(This interview between myself and Kerry Thomas appears in the April/May 2024 issue of POZ Magazine.) When Kerry Thomas began serving a 30-year sentence in Idaho for nondisclosure of his HIV-positive status in 2008, becoming a prominent voice for people living with...

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Take the ‘LGBTQ+ and Aging’ Survey Now

Take the ‘LGBTQ+ and Aging’ Survey Now

If there is anything I love sharing, it’s my opinion. I just love taking surveys. And talking to therapists. And writing blogs about myself. I think you see the pattern here. But my favorite kind of opinion-sharing is when it helps my community in a really tangible...

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The Many Children of Dr. Jesse Peel

The Many Children of Dr. Jesse Peel

The students who hang out in the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center of East Carolina University (ECU) are welcome guests in a dynamic, welcoming space. Among them are all manner of gender expression and burgeoning sexualities. You’ll find them lazing on couches or typing...

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Confessions of a Guy Who Used to be Hot

Confessions of a Guy Who Used to be Hot

As I say in my recent interview for Dennis Hensley’s podcast (“Dennis, Anyone?”), it’s hard to talk about this without sounding like a total dick. But really, when has that ever stopped me before? Dennis has a way of entertaining his audience with zippy one-liners...

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Once, When We Were Heroes

Once, When We Were Heroes

(I will never explain the early days of AIDS better then this, so I post this essay to commemorate World AIDS Day every year.) My brother Richard smiles a lot. He has an easy laugh. But there was a time, years ago, when he held a poisonous drink in his hands and...

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Does This Book Release Make Me Look Anxious?

Does This Book Release Make Me Look Anxious?

The day has come. Today, My Fabulous Disease: Chronicles of a Gay Survivor is officially released. This book represents - and I know how this sounds - my life’s work. It features essays culled from writing over the course of four decades. It is joyful and dark and...

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Can We Create a Life Beyond HIV?

Can We Create a Life Beyond HIV?

I’ve known my best friend Charles for more than 40 years. He knew me when I was HIV negative, for goodness sake. That’s how long we’ve been besties. When Charles was interviewed recently for a story about my advocacy, he said something that surprised me. “Mark almost...

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Who Needs a World AIDS Museum, Anyway?

Who Needs a World AIDS Museum, Anyway?

You’re never too old to learn how terribly ignorant you are. When I first heard about plans for a World AIDS Museum in Fort Lauderdale, FL, some years ago, I might have rolled my eyes a little bit. Who’s going to that? I wondered. Those of us who were there aren’t...

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Surviving Life Itself

Surviving Life Itself

(I tested HIV positive 38 years ago today. My 2017 POZ Magazine essay still rings true.) The young woman sitting across from me on the bus is in her mid-20s. She turns to her companion and her voice grows serious. “I know someone who died,” she says in the hushed tone...

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Naughty ‘n Nice Holiday Videos with an HIV Twist

Naughty ‘n Nice Holiday Videos with an HIV Twist

‘Tis the season, y’all. And you know how much I love a nice holiday video. Okay, maybe a naughty one, too. The folks at Mistr, the telehealth platform that provides free PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and STI testing, sure do have my number. They’ve just released a...

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Once, When We Were Heroes

Once, When We Were Heroes

(I will never explain the early days of AIDS better then this, so I post this essay to commemorate World AIDS Day every year.) My brother Richard smiles a lot. He has an easy laugh. But there was a time, years ago, when he held a poisonous drink in his hands and...

read more
The Thing about Being Naked with Damon Jacobs

The Thing about Being Naked with Damon Jacobs

Damon Jacobs is moving around his hotel room, setting up a tripod and attaching his camera, all the while chatting away enthusiastically about nothing in particular. His sunny attitude is disarming given the circumstances, and maybe that’s the point, because I’m...

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Monkeypox is a gay thing. We must say it.

Monkeypox is a gay thing. We must say it.

The mainstream media and public health officials are being so damn careful not to label monkeypox “a gay disease” that they’re doing a disservice to the gay men who most need important information about the outbreak – while misleading everybody else. In a July 18th...

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The Bitter Satisfaction of Judging the COVID Queens

The Bitter Satisfaction of Judging the COVID Queens

Here’s a fun fact. If people had simply stopped having sex in the 1980s, AIDS would have been stopped in its tracks. But we didn’t and it wasn’t.  The culprit was basic human need. Even in the face of our own mortality, we reached out to one another and we touched and...

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Probing My Aging Penis

Probing My Aging Penis

File this under “things they don’t tell men about getting old.” If you qualify, this might help you. I am a long term HIV survivor at the magnificent age of 60 years old. They don’t tell guys that if you live long enough some clinician is going to slide a tube down...

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Not having as much sex? You’re not alone.

Not having as much sex? You’re not alone.

My sex life in the 1980s before AIDS came along was glorious.  My endurance level was Olympian, my sexual response time was faster than a wink from a cute man, and body fluids went flying like they were shot from cannons. Today, I am 60 years old. It’s easy to wonder...

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A Complete History of HIV/AIDS Will Depend on You

A Complete History of HIV/AIDS Will Depend on You

And when you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame? Who tells your story? Who tells your story? Who tells your story? — From the musical Hamilton   In March of 1985, I stood in the kitchen of my West Hollywood condo. The phone was attached to the...

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What Black Women in the HIV Arena Do You Honor?

What Black Women in the HIV Arena Do You Honor?

The Black women that have shaped and inspired my HIV activism -- and my personal growth -- weren’t present in my life before my HIV diagnosis in 1985. I’m trying hard to even place a significant Black woman in my (very caucasian) upbringing and early college years,...

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The My Fabulous Disease Holiday Spectacular!

The My Fabulous Disease Holiday Spectacular!

(I can't resist posting this each Holiday Season. The video below is my very favorite, of the more than 70 I have produced over the years. Enjoy!) My mother's home here in Shreveport, Louisiana, was fraught with excitement last week. Christmas decorations littered the...

read more
Once, When We Were Heroes

Once, When We Were Heroes

My brother Richard smiles a lot. He has an easy laugh. But there was a time, years ago, when he held a poisonous drink in his hands and begged his dying lover not to swallow it. A time when Richard held the concoction they had prepared together and wept. Emil couldn't...

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Mark Addison Smith Creates Art from Eavesdropping

Mark Addison Smith Creates Art from Eavesdropping

New York City artist Mark Addison Smith respects your privacy, he really does. He just can’t help himself. If he overhears you say something fascinating, he might need to turn your words into art. Every single day since November of 2008, because of a promise Mark made...

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Shopping for Socks at the Mall with Larry Kramer

Shopping for Socks at the Mall with Larry Kramer

(This is a work of fan fiction, and Mr. Kramer loved it. See postscript below.) The mall was abuzz, with people darting in and out of stores, wrangling their kids and chatting on cell phones. I preferred it that way, because it kept Larry in a fairly calm state of...

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My Message for White HIV Long Term Survivors

My Message for White HIV Long Term Survivors

There's isn't any way to discuss HIV Long Term Survivor Awareness Day (#HLTSAD) this year (Friday, June 5) without discussing racial disparities. For that matter, we should "lead with race," as NMAC's slogan goes, from this moment forward. I'm going to try better in...

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I Am Racist, and That’s a Good Place to Start

I Am Racist, and That’s a Good Place to Start

There is a fact I have always wanted to argue. I thought I was different from those other white men. If you just had let me explain, just let me tell you about me, me, me, then you would surely see the real truth for yourself, proven by my decades as an HIV/AIDS and...

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A Message for HIV Vaccine Advocacy Day

A Message for HIV Vaccine Advocacy Day

To commemorate HIV Vaccine Advocacy Day in Nigeria on Monday, May 18, I recorded a brief video as part of an awareness project for the New Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society. My message was simple. Vaccines take time, factual science, and patience. I will never...

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I Am Freaked Out and I Want My Mom

I Am Freaked Out and I Want My Mom

The first time it happened, a couple of weeks ago, I was waking up from a nap. My eyes were moist. The dream began to fade but the emotion lingered, and so did the central image. Mom was standing in the kitchen, looking at me fondly, saying something reassuring. It...

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The HIV ‘Bug Chaser’ Who Changed His Mind

The HIV ‘Bug Chaser’ Who Changed His Mind

The gay men online who get off on seeking HIV infection (“bug chasers”) aren’t exactly known for their thoughtful introspection. After all, they are eroticizing something that works exactly once -- and has life-long consequences. So, a tweet posted a few weeks ago...

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How Dare Leo Herrera Pretend AIDS Never Existed?

How Dare Leo Herrera Pretend AIDS Never Existed?

What would the lives of gay men be like today if AIDS never happened? Filmmaker Leo Herrera’s answer to that question is a genre-busting web series Fathers. A dreamlike mix of actual historical information and clever wish-fulfilment -- with plenty of sex for good...

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Solving the Mystery of the Queer Angel

Solving the Mystery of the Queer Angel

When the photo appeared on social media only hours after the Atlanta AIDS Walk last week, it produced gasps and tears. There, standing pensively among the panels of the NAMES Project Quilt display, is a gloriously dressed man in white platforms heels. An enormous...

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Barebacking is Dead. Long Live Barebacking!

Barebacking is Dead. Long Live Barebacking!

Leave it to science and rational thinking to ruin a popular sexual taboo. The “bareback” label for sex without a condom has faded in the age of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and U=U. People not living with HIV who are taking PrEP are protecting themselves from...

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Four Podcasts on Gay Men, Meth, and Sex

Four Podcasts on Gay Men, Meth, and Sex

Crystal meth addiction remains at epidemic levels. If you would like to learn more about the grip of the drug, and how it fuses with the sex lives of gay men, there are four new podcasts below that should enlighten you. The first three episodes come from a Canadian...

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These Drag Queens are Anal About Their Health

These Drag Queens are Anal About Their Health

I’m a Southerner, first and foremost. We love beauty pageants and drag queens.  So, the new video series Anal About My Health is right up my (ahem) alley. Produced by MPACT (Global Men’s Health and Human Rights), the cheeky series is based on the actual life...

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All Aboard the 2019 HIV Cruise Retreat!

All Aboard the 2019 HIV Cruise Retreat!

This November, the HIV Cruise Retreat will celebrate its 15th Anniversary voyage with a cruise to the Caribbean from Ft Lauderdale. As the host and MC, I can’t wait to join them. Grab a floppy hat and some sunscreen and come along! For many in our happy group, the...

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A Review of the HIV/AIDS GLAAD Award Nominees

A Review of the HIV/AIDS GLAAD Award Nominees

The GLAAD Media Award nominations are out, and for the fourth consecutive year My Fabulous Disease has been honored with a nomination in the category of Outstanding Blog. While the GLAAD Awards have risen in stature over the years (now comprised of two star-studded...

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HIV in the Black Community: Tell the Story Right

HIV in the Black Community: Tell the Story Right

  (For the first time, the words I am posting on My Fabulous Disease are not my own. This piece is from Craig Washington, whom I have known since our service at AID Atlanta 25 years ago. He continues to teach me about the lives and issues of Black gay men living...

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The Global HIV Community is Getting a Divorce

The Global HIV Community is Getting a Divorce

The breaking point has been reached. After months of activism that has failed to convince the International AIDS Society (IAS) to withdraw their “AIDS2020” conference from San Francisco, activists have now announced an alternative conference, “HIV2020,” to be held in...

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Drag Taught Me What It Means to be a Man

Drag Taught Me What It Means to be a Man

The musty gym bag stays in my closet, ironically enough. Inside, a crumpled black wig fights for space with a sequined dress, heels, a string of fake pearls and a bag of make-up. After more than twenty years since performing with the Armorettes, this is all that...

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Once, When We Were Heroes

Once, When We Were Heroes

My brother Richard smiles a lot. He has an easy laugh. But there was a time, years ago, when he held a poisonous drink in his hands and begged his dying lover not to swallow it. A time when Richard held the concoction they had prepared together and wept. Emil couldn't...

read more
The History of HIV/AIDS in One Astonishing Poem

The History of HIV/AIDS in One Astonishing Poem

The team behind the 20th Anniversary Community Summit, being held in Atlanta this weekend and sponsored by ViiV Healthcare, knew how to open the event today on exactly the right foot. The first words attendees heard were the poetry of Mary Bowman, delivered by the...

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I Wrote “The Truth About the 7,000.” Now What?

I Wrote “The Truth About the 7,000.” Now What?

It began with a death and a lingering question. After a friend – an advocate who knew what to do to stay alive – died of an AIDS-related cause a few months ago, I was left wondering why. Together with other deaths in the news of people “unexpectedly” dying the same...

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Racquetball as an Exercise in Humility

Racquetball as an Exercise in Humility

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The Man Who Buried Them Remembers

The Man Who Buried Them Remembers

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Watch: USCA Plenary Halted by Trans Activists

Watch: USCA Plenary Halted by Trans Activists

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My Best Advice for Those Who Test HIV Positive

My Best Advice for Those Who Test HIV Positive

This is a clever social media campaign: Healthline, an online health community, has asked people who have been living with HIV to create videos for those who have recently tested positive, known as "You've Got This." Think of it as "It Gets Better" for those with HIV....

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A Second Chance at Death

A Second Chance at Death

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Examining Death, Including the One I Caused

Examining Death, Including the One I Caused

Chris Glaser, author of The Final Deadline: What Death Has Taught Me About Life My memorial service will be fabulous, I can assure you of that. I first outlined it during the initial, deadly wave of AIDS in the 1980's, and have edited it here and there over the years,...

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Fighting Trump: HIV Advocates to Watch in 2017

Fighting Trump: HIV Advocates to Watch in 2017

Donald J. Trump and the Republican-controlled congress are a threat to everything HIV advocates have been fighting for during the last thirty years, and that includes access to healthcare, HIV prevention programs like PrEP, and the dignity with which we treat those...

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Adam Saleh: Exposing Racism for Fun and Profit

Adam Saleh: Exposing Racism for Fun and Profit

The video is dramatic and infuriating. A young Arab man is seen speaking frantically to the camera as he is being asked to leave a plane. In the video, he explains he was simply talking to his mother on his phone, and his use of Arabic upset other passengers so much...

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Sleeping with President Donald Trump

Sleeping with President Donald Trump

I am on my feet at the Thanksgiving table, and my fists are slamming into the linen napkins. Silverware is quaking, pottery is rattling. The force of a particularly hard blow to the tabletop sends a dinner roll catapulting from the bread basket. My screams are...

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Video: Aboard the 2016 HIV Cruise Retreat

Video: Aboard the 2016 HIV Cruise Retreat

The spirit of the annual HIV Cruise Retreat can be summed up in one enlightening story. Matthew had some bad luck as he boarded the ship for our 8-day tour of the Caribbean. His luggage didn’t make it. He literally had his carry-on bag (which included his meds, thank...

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My Gay Love for Monster Movies

My Gay Love for Monster Movies

  My first boyhood crush was on a dead man. He was a zombie named Quentin Collins, with eyes that pierced my pubescent gay soul and sideburns the size of the Florida peninsula. He stalked across my TV screen on weekday afternoons at precisely 3:30, when the...

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What It Feels Like for a Mom

What It Feels Like for a Mom

(My mother passed away suddenly on January 13th. Her memorial, led by her six children, was moving and hilarious, which is exactly as she had hoped. I cannot properly describe how grateful I am for her willingness to be featured on my blog and to share her views.) I...

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When AIDS Activists Hijacked the Olympic Rings

When AIDS Activists Hijacked the Olympic Rings

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a very touchy organization, most especially when it comes to the Olympic rings. They guard their trademark jealously and litigiously, commonly suing anyone who dares to approximate the iconic rings for their own purposes....

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There’s More Room in a Broken Heart

There’s More Room in a Broken Heart

So don’t mind if I fall apart There’s more room in a broken heart. -- Carly Simon, “Coming Around Again”  When Will Armstrong emerges from heart surgery in just a few days, he will have weeks of hospitalization ahead. He will also have expensive new hardware in...

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The Nearly Naked AIDS Advocate

The Nearly Naked AIDS Advocate

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Into the Desert, After the Bomb

Into the Desert, After the Bomb

Daniel Cardone’s essential but relentlessly grim documentary about longtime AIDS survivors, Desert Migration, is fascinated with the bodies of the gay men it profiles. The film begins with lingering shots of each of the subjects as they begin their day.  It follows...

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The Sound of Stigma

The Sound of Stigma

Stigma is insidiously quiet. It is conjured in the mind, born of discomfort and fear, and then it is projected at “the other” among us. It judges them and isolates them. And it happens without a sound. Stigma lets us take comfort in seeing things in others about...

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Packing Up The Man Who Wasn’t There

Packing Up The Man Who Wasn’t There

When the health of my close friend Ron began to rapidly decline in 1987, he made the decision to leave Los Angeles to return home to rural New York to be near his family. “Just long enough to feel a little better,” he told me at the time. It was a common trajectory in...

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The Man Who Buried Them Remembers

The Man Who Buried Them Remembers

When he conducted the funerals, Tom Bonderenko tells me, he always wore his priestly garments and white stole. Even when no one showed up for the graveside service. “It was important to show dignity and respect,” Tom says. He taps the coffee cup in his lap nervously....

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16 HIV Advocates to Watch in 2016

16 HIV Advocates to Watch in 2016

They come from nearly every corner of the world. They are engaged in local communities and on the international scene. They include mothers, artists, a fugitive, a performer, and a drug smuggler. They are speaking out, acting up, and in some cases risking their...

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The My Fabulous Disease Holiday Spectacular!

The My Fabulous Disease Holiday Spectacular!

(I can't resist posting this each Holiday Season. The video below is my very favorite, of the more than 70 I have produced over the years. Enjoy!) My mother's home here in Shreveport, Louisiana, was fraught with excitement last week. Christmas decorations littered the...

read more
The Charlie Sheen Moment You Probably Missed

The Charlie Sheen Moment You Probably Missed

The subtle moment came during the second segment of Matt Lauer’s explosive interview with actor Charlie Sheen. It impressed me so deeply I actually backed up my recording and watched it twice more. Sheen had already endured the first segment of his time with Lauer,...

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Why I Wiped HIV Off My Face

Why I Wiped HIV Off My Face

Some years ago, I told someone that I was HIV positive before I agreed to his invitation for a date. “Yeah, I know,” he casually replied, and then he looked a little embarrassed, as if he shouldn’t have said it. It was too late, of course; I knew exactly what he...

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How Do We Solve a Problem Like Pintauro?

How Do We Solve a Problem Like Pintauro?

My discomfort began as I sat in front of my web cam, waiting to join Danny Pintauro in a segment on Huffington Post Live. Danny had recently announced on an Oprah special that he was living with HIV, which was big news for fans of “Who’s the Boss?” and those who loved...

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Recovering from Meth, Rebuilding a Sex Life

Recovering from Meth, Rebuilding a Sex Life

For more than a decade I was an active crystal meth addict. They were the darkest years of my life. I suffered numerous relapses as I struggled to get clean, and my woeful journey back to crystal meth was always the same. First, small changes crept into my behavior;...

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VIDEO: The 2015 United States Conference on AIDS

VIDEO: The 2015 United States Conference on AIDS

Not to get all southern gothic on you, but I depend upon the kindness of strangers. Especially when producing video blogs at conferences. “Excuse me, would you please just hold this camera and point it at me while I talk to these people?” I must have said that...

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The Relentless Affections of Amy Ferris

The Relentless Affections of Amy Ferris

“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” -- Marianne Williamson The first time I met Amy Ferris, several years ago, she cupped my jawline in her hands and gave me a kiss full on the lips. There...

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Five Reasons to Take the HIV Test Right Now

Five Reasons to Take the HIV Test Right Now

Sometimes it's helpful to get back to basics, and there is no more basic, effective tool to fight the HIV epidemic than to encourage testing. How long has it been for you, my friend? Here are five important facts about HIV testing that I hope will convince you to get...

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The Odds of Love

The Odds of Love

This post will never be as romantic as I would like it to be. And it could never be as romantic as the truth. On the evening of July 22, 2012, Michael Mitchell went to a mixer at Cobalt, a gay club in Washington, DC. The international AIDS conference was being held in...

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What It Feels Like for a Mom

What It Feels Like for a Mom

"A boy's best friend is his mother." -- Norman Bates, Psycho I was standing at the ticket counter of the movie theater and couldn't believe my ears. They were telling me that Theater of Blood, with the great Vincent Price, was rated "R" and they were not letting me in...

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The Video Series: The Real Poz Guys of Atlanta

The Video Series: The Real Poz Guys of Atlanta

Why Andy Cohen isn’t badgering me with phone calls to bring this series to Bravo, I’ll never know. At any rate, you will find all three videos of the series below. During the first year of producing my blog videos back in early 2009, it occurred to me how much of my...

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Probing My Anal Phobia

Probing My Anal Phobia

My fear of all things anal began when I was an early teen. My older brother David took great delight in bursting into our bathroom to startle me, especially if I was on the john. And, since I was a pubescent redhead, his sudden visits included a lot of laughing and...

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Our Transgender Teachable Moment

Our Transgender Teachable Moment

The lobby of the Melbourne convention center at the international AIDS conference last July was packed with scientists, community educators, and activists. I was busy wrangling interviews for my daily video blogs. Across the room I spotted JoAnne Keatley and Laxmi...

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Sean Strub and the Legacy of AIDS

Sean Strub and the Legacy of AIDS

Before my interview with activist Sean Strub, author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival, let me share a revealing story. It was late 2011 and my life was in shambles. The breakup of a long term relationship had sent me into a spiral,...

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About That GLAAD Media Award Nomination

About That GLAAD Media Award Nomination

  For twenty-five years I have been writing about living openly as a gay man living with HIV. Along the way I have spilled secrets, opened up about sex and relationships, highlighted the work of those who inspire me, come clean about my history of addiction and...

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My Gonorrhea Nostalgia

My Gonorrhea Nostalgia

  One of the times I contracted gonorrhea, which in my day was affectionately called The Clap, I was 20 years old and had just moved to West Hollywood, California. It was 1981, disco was still thumping in the bars, and the bath houses were packed. My dance card...

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15 HIV Advocates to Watch in 2015

15 HIV Advocates to Watch in 2015

They come from different cultures and regions of the world, but these fifteen HIV activists all share one important trait: a fierce devotion to HIV issues and a commitment to leave their mark on 2015. Their advocacy has been noticed by some of the most prominent...

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The My Fabulous Disease Holiday Spectacular!

The My Fabulous Disease Holiday Spectacular!

(I can't resist posting this each Holiday Season. The video below is my very favorite, of the more than 60 I have produced over the years. Enjoy!) My mother's home here in Shreveport, Louisiana, was fraught with excitement last week. Christmas decorations littered the...

read more
Once, When We Were Heroes

Once, When We Were Heroes

My brother Richard smiles a lot. He has an easy laugh. But there was a time, years ago, when he held a poisonous drink in his hands and begged his dying lover not to swallow it. A time when Richard held the concoction they had prepared together and wept. Emil couldn't...

read more
The Disguised Blessings of HIV+ Poet Mary Bowman

The Disguised Blessings of HIV+ Poet Mary Bowman

When Mary E. Bowman stepped to the stage five years ago at SpitDat, an open mic night in Washington, DC, she was 20 years old and terrified. She was about to perform “Dandelions,” her first poem to reveal a secret that her own family had long kept quiet: that Mary had...

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Michael Loves Tyler: A Very Modern HIV Romance

Michael Loves Tyler: A Very Modern HIV Romance

Tyler Helms won't stop teasing his boyfriend during our video chat interview. He fiddles with Michael's ear, or tickles his face, from his seat slightly behind him. No matter if Michael Lucas, adult film producer and PrEP user, is trying to make a point. The childish...

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Finding a Pain of My Very Own

Finding a Pain of My Very Own

I have twenty staples in my back holding an incision together. It hurts. Just making that rather gruesome statement leaves me feeling conflicted. Yes, I want sympathy. Yes, this pain has been a constant companion for the last two months, from throwing out my back...

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VIDEO: Methtacular! The Addictive Musical Comedy

VIDEO: Methtacular! The Addictive Musical Comedy

It is no secret that I am a crystal meth addict in recovery. But writing about it, at least in the often humorous style for which my blog is known, escapes me. My process of recovery feels too precious, too personal, and yes, even too delicate. So it was with some...

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I Lost My Mind… Until the NIH Found It

I Lost My Mind… Until the NIH Found It

When I moved to Los Angeles in 1981, my first job as a struggling actor was making popcorn at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. My encounters with celebrity was limited to serving Diet Cokes to the occasional sitcom star. Until, that is, one day when I was...

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Damon L. Jacobs: The Calm in the PrEP Storm

Damon L. Jacobs: The Calm in the PrEP Storm

In 1977, I ran for senior class president, hoping against hope that my penchant for wearing platform shoes and fellating men in my spare time might somehow get overlooked by my high school classmates in Bossier City, Louisiana. I lost that faith when my campaign signs...

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AIDS2014: The Complete Video Blog Collection

AIDS2014: The Complete Video Blog Collection

The AIDS2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, proved to be as colorful and exhausting as I had anticipated. There was no lack of images in the gorgeous city to share in my daily video blogs, and that included the faces of countless advocates from...

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Going Down Under for AIDS2014!

Going Down Under for AIDS2014!

(NOTE: My AIDS2014 coverage is exclusive to TheBody.com this year and you can find my daily videos on their main page beginning this Sunday, July 20th.) Are you ready for a theater piece about HIV that takes place on an enormous bed that doubles as a boxing ring? How...

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Was I a Teenage Sexual Predator?

Was I a Teenage Sexual Predator?

We're on a dirt road in the cotton fields, sitting in the back of his Plymouth. It had been my idea to stop and look at the sky, and it doesn't come off like a sneaky move now, because the moon is full and bright and gorgeous. I've been playing along but I wish he...

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The Battle for the Soul of AIDS

The Battle for the Soul of AIDS

I used to get saved at the drop of a hat. I loved the pageantry of church youth revivals, the thrill of coming forward to give my life to Christ, and that tingly feeling of being part of something greater than myself, of feeling truly blessed. Of being forgiven. The...

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Secrets of the Masturbating Gay Male

Secrets of the Masturbating Gay Male

May is National Masturbation Month -- Hurry, folks! Only a few days left to celebrate! -- and I will admit to feeling smug, because I have more experience with gay men masturbating than anyone else I know. During my years in Los Angeles in the 1980's, I owned and...

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When People with HIV Became Suicide Bombers

When People with HIV Became Suicide Bombers

Maybe we should blame the criminal prosecutions of people with HIV on the mythical legend of Gaetan Dugas, also known by his slanderous nickname, Patient Zero. Dugas was a gay flight attendant from Canada who, according to Randy Shilts' 1987 book And the Band Played...

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Lessons Learned from Kissing a Straight Boy

Lessons Learned from Kissing a Straight Boy

Last night I kissed a straight guy full on the lips. Then he tenderly put his arms around me and kissed me back. Tonight I'm going to do it again. It sounds like conquest. Or breaking a taboo. At the very least it fulfills the fantasies of many a gay man. And it makes...

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Will HIV Ever Be Safe Enough for You?

Will HIV Ever Be Safe Enough for You?

There is a classic episode of Oprah from 1987 that can still raise my blood pressure. That year, the tiny town of Williamson, West Virginia, became part of a national discussion about AIDS when Mike Sisco, who had returned to his home town to die of the disease, dared...

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Our Problem with Being ‘CURED’ of HIV

Our Problem with Being ‘CURED’ of HIV

In the late 1980's, I let this odd, fussy man into my office at LA Shanti, my first AIDS agency job. He seemed earnest and harmless and he just wanted a few minutes of my time. "I have the cure for AIDS," he politely announced. Sadly, he wasn't the first person to say...

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What Donna Summer Still Means to Gay Men

What Donna Summer Still Means to Gay Men

The music my friends liked when I was a teenager intimidated me. It was the head-banging rock of the early seventies, and it felt alien and unappetizing. Most of all, it just felt… straight, in a way I knew I could never be. Alone in my room, I listened to my beloved...

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The Fog of a Thousand Years

The Fog of a Thousand Years

"Remember when Billy Perry gave you a black eye?" David asked me. He stood on a ladder with a screwdriver in his hand.  I was holding up Mom's new light fixture while David attached it to the ceiling. We took on the project during a visit I made back home a few weeks...

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Designing and Disclosing on Project Runway

Designing and Disclosing on Project Runway

If you're considering how to best disclose your HIV positive status to everyone you know, here's one suggestion: learn to sew. Television's long-running reality hit Project Runway could be holding a spot just for you. Over the course of a dozen seasons, the fashion...

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The Top Ten ‘Fabulous’ Posts of 2013

The Top Ten ‘Fabulous’ Posts of 2013

The year 2013 was a game changer for My Fabulous Disease, and I want to thank you for your clicks, comments, and shares.  I have more confidence as an advocate and a writer, thanks to you, and traffic for this blog more than doubled over last year! I'm bad at...

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Once, When We Were Heroes

Suicide: A Love Story

I knew about assisted suicide but had never heard of the mechanics of it firsthand… or had witnessed the haunted result like the one that now sat chain smoking across my living room.

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Once, When We Were Heroes

An AIDS Death in the Family

We heard wheels, barely squeaking across tile floors, rolling out of the master bedroom toward the front door. A heavy door opened and then closed. I wanted to pull the shades wide open and see for myself, and I didn’t dare.

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The Fabulous Wizard of POZ

The Fabulous Wizard of POZ

Negotiations between myself and POZ Magazine were heated, I will admit. First they claimed Leibovitz was busy and Scavullo was dead, and then they rejected my request for body painting at the studio to sculpt my abs. Oh, and I had to wear a shirt.

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The New National Voice of People with HIV is…

The New National Voice of People with HIV is…

At a recent town hall forum in Washington, DC for people living with HIV, the very idea of what it means to be positive -- and who is our national voice of advocacy -- was questioned. With the demise of The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) earlier this...

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What It Feels Like for a Mom

What It Feels Like for a Mom

"A boy's best friend is his mother." -- Norman Bates, Psycho I was standing at the ticket counter of the movie theater and couldn't believe my ears. They were telling me that "Theater of Blood," with the great Vincent Price, was rated "R" and they were not letting me...

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Probing My Anal Phobia

Probing My Anal Phobia

My conundrum: exploring the pleasures of my tush while fighting the terror that something stinky might be going on down there. I suspect I am not alone in this anxiety.

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The Private War That Killed Spencer Cox

The Private War That Killed Spencer Cox

When legendary AIDS treatment activist Spencer Cox died on December 18, 2012, the cause of death was AIDS-related complications, which is understandable if post-traumatic stress, despair, and drug addiction are complications related to AIDS.

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The Night Don Lemon Hugged Me

The Night Don Lemon Hugged Me

Don Lemon, who remembered our first visit and never mentioned the circumstances, who knew this interview meant growth for me, a sort of redemption perhaps, and who even knew a little about overcoming shame himself, reached out in a simple gesture of support.

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On Board the 2012 HIV Cruise Retreat

On Board the 2012 HIV Cruise Retreat

The protective walls that often surround those of us living with HIV came crumbling down, replaced with new relationships, email addresses and phone numbers. By the time we docked back in Ft Lauderdale, hugs were long and new confidants had been established.

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AIDS2012:  Farewell to the Voices of the World

AIDS2012: Farewell to the Voices of the World

In this farewell video posting, I pay tribute to the people on the front lines who are the very essence of this conference. They are the ones with the “star power,” and they fill me with renewed commitment and energy that might possibly last until AIDS2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

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AIDS2012 Day Four:  The Global Village

AIDS2012 Day Four: The Global Village

You’re about to meet drag queens who make their living handing out condoms, sex workers demanding an end to criminalization, young prevention workers from far-flung corners of the planet, a stunning photo exhibit from the Ukraine… the list goes on.

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AIDS2012 Day Three:  The March to End AIDS!

AIDS2012 Day Three: The March to End AIDS!

The people included in the video can speak for themselves, and quite eloquently. Maybe it was the emotions of the event — anger, nervousness, pride — but it was an exhausting day. I felt the residue of grief for lost friends in a way I haven’t experienced in years.

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“Gay Day” at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS2012)

“Gay Day” at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS2012)

Includes United States Rep. Barbara Lee, who has just introduced comprehensive HIV legislation; the advocates fighting laws that criminalize people with HIV, a little social research on Grindr), a chat with Positive Frontiers editor Alex Garner about getting rejected (and rejected others) while dating, and a visit to a poz social event.

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The Stupid Question:  “Are You Clean?”

The Stupid Question: “Are You Clean?”

Anyone who questions whether or not HIV stigma is on the rise need look no further than online profiles and hookup sites, in which “Are you clean?” is asked with infuriating regularity. Or perhaps you have suffered the indignity of someone asking you “The Stupid Question” while negotiating a tryst. The sheer ignorance boggles the mind.

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I am the man my father built.

I am the man my father built.

“Never worry about making a fool of yourself,” he would say, “if it means taking a risk, Mark.” He would recognize my adolescent need to simply fit in with everyone else and he would deny me of it, locking his eyes onto mine. “You gotta take the risk.”

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What Donna Summer Still Means to Gay Men

Coming Out with Donna Summer

The music my friends liked when I was a teenager intimidated me. It was the head-banging rock of the early seventies, and it felt alien and unappetizing. Most of all, it just felt… straight, in a way I knew I could never be. Alone in my room, I listened to my beloved...

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Remembering, and Saying Her Name

Remembering, and Saying Her Name

In the Summer of 2008, I received a curious package from Bonnie Goldman, the editor of TheBody.com. Inside was a Flip video camera, what was then a new-fangled device that allowed you to take video footage with a camera the size of a pack of cigarettes. It came with a...

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The Unfortunate Pursuits of a Gay Porn Critic

The Unfortunate Pursuits of a Gay Porn Critic

Being a writer is not without its perks. I can’t exactly name one at the moment, but I’m certain they exist. Hold it, here's one. Starting sentences with “Being a writer…” Oh, and receiving gay erotic fiction from a guy who wants feedback on his work. This morning as...

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Dealing with Shame can be a Drag

Dealing with Shame can be a Drag

“We’re born naked… and the rest is drag.” -- RuPaulWhen I was nine years old, I took my parents’ album of the Broadway musical “Damn Yankees” and memorized every syllable of Gwen Verdon’s show stopper, “Who’s Got the Pain When They Do the Mambo?” Once I was satisfied...

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Grave Hep C News… and oh yeah, the Oscars!

The image in my mind has never left me, even after many years of trying, of applying layers of wallpaper to that corner of my mind. I am in someone’s bedroom -- it could have been anyone, really -- and I am offered a syringe to inject crystal meth. The syringe has...

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The Day Larry Kramer Dissed Me

The mall was abuzz, with people darting in and out of stores, wrangling their kids and chatting on cell phones. I preferred it that way, because it kept Larry in a fairly calm state of quiet attention, ever vigilant as to where and when his next mortal enemy might...

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On Milford, and Finding Home Again

Even in darkness, in the bitter cold of northern Pennsylvania on a January night, the town of Milford can’t help displaying its charm. I’m walking through Main Street and the shops splash warm light in my path as strolling shoppers offer smiles and salutations. This...

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HIV Positive Criminals: Have Sex, Go to Jail

This may be the defining HIV issue of our time, and it is a true test of our compassion and understanding of both HIV stigma and the law. Please read this closely. Around the country, and without leadership or guidelines from the Federal government, individual states...

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The Value of Asking for What You Want

Remember when we were little, and if we wanted something we simply asked for it? It felt easy. It seemed natural. And if there was really something special we had to have, there was a golden opportunity every year to ask the person who made all things possible. Santa...

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The Long Road Home from Relapse

Florida highways have lovely rest stops. You would expect that from the Turnpike, where toll booths charge a premium every so often, but the manicured picnic areas continue even as you drive further north and onto I-75. I'm on a cement bench in a concession area,...

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(Not exactly) Like a Prayer

Soon, as many families take a seat at their Thanksgiving table, after the food is set but just before the feasting begins, a paralyzing moment will occur. What now? They'll wonder, glancing left and right. Should we pray? Uncomfortable seconds will tick by. Finally,...

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Sailing on the 2011 HIV Cruise Retreat

It was my distinct privilege to serve as host and M.C. for a second time on The HIV Cruise Retreat, the labor of love by openly HIV positive travel agent Paul Stalbaum of Cruise Designs Travel. Paul has become the go-to man for gay travel groups " in addition to the...

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Divorce, Stress, HIV… and no jokes.

This is a rather personal blog video, there's no doubt about that. I'm even a little apprehensive because it doesn't offer the usual helpful tips or the "entertainment value" of my other videos. But one of my problems has always been trying to be the life of the party...

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Did I Abandon Family for Gay Community?

Did I Abandon Family for Gay Community?

  Panama City, Florida, with its sugar sand beaches and busy tourist trade, is affectionately considered the Redneck Riviera. Folks from Alabama and its neighbor states make the trip down Highway 231 and straight into the Florida panhandle, breezing through a...

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Lessons Learned from Kissing a Straight Boy

Last night I kissed a straight guy full on the lips. Then he tenderly put his arms around me and kissed me back. Tonight I'm going to do it again. It sounds like conquest. Or breaking a taboo. At the very least it fulfills the fantasies of many a gay man. And it makes...

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Playing the Last Scene of a Marriage

"I'm not in love with you anymore." He said this at the dinner table as he made the first cut of his steak, a beautiful ribeye he had grilled to perfection. I put down my own knife and fork and stared at him. "This isn't new, or else you haven't been listening," he...

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Revisiting ‘The Real Poz Guys of Atlanta’

During the first year of producing my blog videos back in early 2009, it occurred to me how much of my health and happiness was the result of having a solid support network. I wanted to find a way of showing this through my blog, and the result would be two video...

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Finding Support in an e-Patient World

Finding Support in an e-Patient World

You're part of a healthcare revolution in cyberspace, my friends. It's changing the way people find treatment information, relate to their doctor, and support one another. And you're about to meet some of the marvelous people who are leading the charge. Did you know...

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The Twilight of the Redhead

The Twilight of the Redhead

According to family lore, my arrival at birth with a full head of orange hair was met with shock and awe. My five older siblings ran the gamut from blond to dark brown, but they otherwise lacked my peculiar genetic mutation. Although the hospital nursery staff was...

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Those Doggone Days of Summer

July and August were almost frantically productive for me, and I've followed it by the longest period of, well, nothing, since I began producing this blog. Sorry. Sometimes an HIV guy just needs to lay around and catch up on Top Chef and Real Housewives (God bless...

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7 Ways to Save Money on Meds

With all the doctor appointments and wellness activities we engage in, living with HIV/AIDS can be a full-time job. And the truth is, it doesn't pay very well. We've all been feeling the pinch of tough economic times. So I hope you'll find some savings in this new...

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Facebook Put My Life Together Again

Today I accepted the Facebook friend request of someone I knew in high school. We haven't spoken in more than thirty years. She is married with a load of kids, and God knows why she wants to befriend the scandalous queer who wore knee-high platform boots to the junior...

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I’m Gonna Wipe That AIDS Right Off of My Face

Several years ago, I told someone that I was HIV positive before I agreed to his invitation for a date. "Yeah, I know," he casually replied, and then he looked a little embarrassed, as if he shouldn't have said it. It was too late, of course; I knew exactly what he...

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Outliving My Father

The descriptions of his decline, in whispered calls from back home, had a dreadfully familiar feel to them. Weight loss at a frightful pace. Losing interest in the world. Suddenly looking very old indeed. Most gay men of a certain age have heard those words, have seen...

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The Entire 2011 ADAP Conference in Nine Minutes!

The 2011 ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+) conference held July 5-7 in Washington, DC, was bursting with spirit. Dozens of advocates from across the country met for three days of workshops and speakers, and in this video blog, you'll see the entire conference boiled...

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Should AIDS Activists and Pharma Just Get Along?

I'm having an identity crisis. Am I an AIDS activist, ready to question authority and demand high standards of service for those living with HIV/AIDS? Or am I a "resource" for the pharmaceutical industry, so that they might craft more effective community programs that...

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Dab Garner’s 30 year story of survival.

Storytelling is a crucial part of our culture, and not simply for entertainment value. Sharing our stories can heal our pain, educate others, and help us relive our happiest triumphs. This video is quite simple, really. One man explains to you what happened to him,...

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The Dirty Little Secret of Gay Men and Meth

How addiction to crystal methamphetamine is threatening the gay community's long struggle to turn a corner on the AIDS epidemic. I really shouldn't be trusted. That's the problem with drug addicts like me. We've protected our addiction through a myriad of lies and...

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For Dad: “I am the man my father built.”

Never in my short life had I been camping. I hated the grit of dirt and leaves, bugs, peeing outdoors, and the looming prospect of sleeping amongst it all. The woods looked like the terrarium for my pet alligator, and from what I could tell, Wally didn't sleep all...

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Hiding from the “AIDS at 30” media storm.

I shuttered myself from most of the hoopla surrounding the "AIDS at 30" milestone (we seem to have agreed on June 5, 1981, when an item in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reported deaths among gay men). The trauma of those early years is tough for me to...

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My Surprising Lack of Gay Pride

For most of my life I've been judgmental and a little impatient with gay people who didn't just come out. Are the risks really that dire? I suspected they were just chicken shit, or unwilling to stand up to their family or to whatever screwed up religious upbringing...

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Calling HIV Negative Gay Men: This is Your Time

This is directed to HIV negative gay men. Listen carefully. This is your time. I've lived with HIV more than half my life, and people often praise me far more than I deserve, simply for surviving. They use words like brave and courageous. You know what takes courage?...

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How one Mom handles HIV/AIDS in the family.

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb My mother raised six children, topping off this great achievement with yours truly. Yes, I'm the youngest, which explains a lot, but not all. To understand the rest, you'd have to know the woman. Or,...

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Vacations and Retreats for People with HIV/AIDS

Summer is approaching and vacation plans are being made " but have you ever considered a retreat or getaway with other people living with HIV/AIDS? It might sound odd to seek out a vacation event just for people with HIV. For me, my status is only a part of who I am,...

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Trying to put away childish, damaging things.

When I became a man, I put away childish things. -- 1 Corinthians 13:11 We're on a dirt road in the cotton fields, sitting in the back of his Plymouth. It had been my idea to stop and look at the sky, and it doesn't come off like a sneaky move now, because the moon is...

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My sad and trivial night with Rock Hudson

My sad and trivial night with Rock Hudson

(This essay appears in my collection of essays, My Fabulous Disease: Chronicles of a Gay Survivor, available now at online outlets or your local bookstore.) Over and over, footage of Rock Hudson standing next to Doris Day was playing on television, and he looked...

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Walmart Gets Better.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. -- Andy Warhol Yesterday I had a conference call with Walmart public relations manager Ravi Jariwala, and Crosby Cromwell, a manager for constituent relations. We discussed the fact...

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Walmart, the G word, and internet activism.

Forgive your enemies. It messes with their heads. -- Unknown Walmart is selling the new It Gets Better book. Just don't call it gay. Okay, this is really a story of how a selfish act turned into a firestorm of activism. It has drama, self-righteousness and the hottest...

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The Book with a Promise: It Gets Better

There were moments while reading It Gets Better, the new book inspired by the YouTube video project to help bullied youth, when my heart leapt to my throat and hovered there. It happened a few times, quite unexpectedly, usually while in the middle of some essay from...

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A Very Special One-Year Anniversary Posting!

When Mark first started My Fabulous Disease, I was pretty sure it was going to directly result in the destruction of humanity.  One year later, we're all still here. I can't believe I lost that bet. Myles Helfand, Editor, The Body, The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource My...

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My Fabulous Disease: The Video Collection

Here is a brief description and link to the early collection of My Fabulous Disease videos, stretching back to the premiere episode in 2008. The videos have been viewed in classrooms, at conferences and in support groups, and you're welcome to re-post and share with...

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Tabatha, take over my life!

(Note: Stay tuned for bonus postings at the end of this story!) I don't wish to hide the truth anymore. My blog is devoted to complete honesty about who I am, so brace yourself: I have a total gay guy crush on Tabatha Coffey. The snow-haired vixen hosts Bravo's...

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The Hilarious Idiocy of Anonymous Gay Sex

The cute robots in this video are about to get down 'n nasty after hooking up through a gay chat site. There's just one problem: the horned up bareback bottom forgot to ask the top about his HIV status. What follows is a funny, pornographic (NSFW), painfully realistic...

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AIDS Activism 101: Steps to end the ADAP crisis.

Activists held an "emergency summit" this weekend to address the growing AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) crisis, and I'm taking you there. In this video episode of My Fabulous Disease, you'll learn about the panic over ADAP, and exactly what you can do to prevent...

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Five Things About HIV (They’re Not Telling You)

In the early 1990's, I was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with national public health officials. They wanted to gauge what those on the front lines were thinking about HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns. I gave them an earful. "Why won't you tell gay men...

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Fitness stud Nelson Vergel raids my fridge.

Nelson Vergel is not impressed with my refridgerator. Sure, it has double doors and a freezer drawer, but he's criticizing almost every damn thing inside it. Most of the items say "low fat" or "sugar free," but he claims it's all a terrible lie. Letting the HIV...

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Carlton’s glorious, dangerous denial.

My friend Carlton is a chain smoker, even if all his cigarettes are imaginary. His standard pose consists of one hand resting on his hip -- elbow jutting out as if in the midst of a runway strut -- while the other arm is forever in motion, his hand swiveling...

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Recovering Joy

"Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me." " Hoyt Axton If you have spent any time wandering around this blog or watching my videos, you know I have an almost stubbornly positive view of things. I like to smile, I love to laugh, and if someone is...

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Hurting Mom (or) My First Gay Christmas

There is so much distance in my mother's eyes that I fear she may never come close to me again. Circling her stare are wrinkles of pain, betrayal even, and in her hand she holds the watch. It was December of my senior year of high school, and things had calmed down...

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Once, When We Were Heroes.

My brother Richard smiles a lot. He has an easy laugh. But there was a time, years ago, when he held a poisonous drink in his hands and begged his dying lover not to swallow it. A time when Richard held the concoction they had prepared together and wept. Emil couldn't...

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(Not exactly) Like a Prayer

Soon, as many families take a seat at their Thanksgiving table, after the food is set but just before the feasting begins, a paralyzing moment will occur. What now? They'll wonder, glancing left and right. Should we pray? Uncomfortable seconds will tick by. Finally,...

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My mega-blog week with The Bilerico Project

This week I am honored to be a "guest host" for The Bilerico Project, the leading online blogging salon for GLBT commentary, politics and culture. My job is to contribute three times a day and get out of my HIV rut! I'm having fun with pop culture topics you don't...

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My t-cells could use a facelift.

Can I still complain about getting older if I was supposed to be dead twenty years ago? That's the dilemma of aging HIV positive guys like me. Feeling victorious over AIDS only takes your self esteem so far; there's no HIV medication to fight wrinkles. Oh wait, there...

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Examining death, including the one I caused.

My memorial service will be fabulous, I can assure you of that. I first outlined it during the initial, deadly wave of AIDS in the 1980's, and have edited it here and there over the years, updating the songs I would like played or the video footage shown. Focusing on...

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My video report aboard the HIV Cruise Retreat

If I clear my mind, I can transport myself back to so many fun moments during the 2010 HIV Cruise Retreat. Maybe I'm zip-lining through the rain forest of Costa Rica, or I'm gorging myself at the dessert buffet. The water slide high above the 3,000 passenger ship will...

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The Price is Right, 30 years after coming on down

Within a few years of Coming On Down, there would be enormous differences between that video boy and myself, shaped by life events that would throw a wet blanket on my aw shucks optimism. I’ve tried to recover from them, to regain the hopeful, expectant glimmer found in the eyes of the kid from “The Price is Right,” with mixed success.

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In Praise of HIV Negative Gay Men!

In the anxious world of sexuality and HIV risk, we could all use a little love and support. So, in the spirit of everyone getting the attention they deserve, allow me a moment to throw a party for HIV negative gay men. HIV negative gay men hear a lot about what they...

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The 2010 HRC Dinner (in under four minutes!)

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest GLBT political advocacy group, held it's annual black tie dinner in Washington, DC on October 9, 2010, and I was there to sit through all the speeches on your behalf. HRC has done commendable work for gay rights,...

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Fighting Back Hard Against Bullying

"You've got to fight back. You've got to fight back hard." -- Abby, the young vampire of the new film Let Me In In the melancholy new vampire thriller Let Me In, the most unnerving scenes for me had nothing to do with fangs or bloodletting. They were the scenes of...

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My Forbidden Love for Gay Monsters

Zombies are deeply misunderstood, in my mind. They're outcasts, picked on, and are the perfect stand-ins for things we fear or don't understand. Things like death. Or gay people. Or disease. Or getting a disease from gay people that could lead to death. Work with me...

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Condoms & Bareback Sex at Gay Summit

While "gay men's health" as a concept -- aging, mental health, relationships, physical fitness -- tried mightily to get some respect at the 2010 Gay Men's Health Summit in Ft Lauderdale, HIV continued to dominate much of the workshops and discussions. The evergreen...

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HIV Stigma (and my lover Jack) at USCA

At the United States Conference on AIDS in Orlando, I've learned that HIV stigma is alive and well. Providers report that client will travel to distant counties to get services just so they aren't recognized -- and that's if they bother getting tested in the first...

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Tracking the elusive HIV “Bug Chasers”

"I hate any suggestion that AIDS is a gift. A Mercedes is a gift." -- Mark S. King, "A Place Like This" I must admit my belief that bug-chasers are an extremely elusive and exotic form of pervert that aren't as much seen as talked about. For the mercifully uninformed,...

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Sex while HIV Positive: The New Criminals

As you and I relax here surfing the internet, an HIV positive man is sitting in a Texas prison, serving a 35 year sentence for spitting on someone. In Michigan, an HIV positive man was charged for not disclosing his status under a bio-terrorism statute. And just weeks...

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I am the man my father built.

Never in my short life had I been camping. I hated the grit of dirt and leaves, bugs, peeing outdoors, and the looming prospect of sleeping amongst it all. The woods looked like the terrarium for my pet alligator, and from what I could tell, Wally didn't sleep all...

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A Dance to an Atlanta Night

Stephanie's feet are bare, and she is on a sidewalk, and she is dancing. And everything in the world is exactly as it is supposed to be. We've already been hanging out with each other all evening, our group of a dozen or so. I'm visiting Atlanta for the weekend and...

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AIDS2010 for Dummies: An entertaining review.

These are the sights and sounds of AIDS2010, from the people on the ground committed to their projects to the “feel” of such a massive event. From advocates to muppets to dancing sex workers to protesters, here is a detailed review of the video blogs created by My Fabulous Disease.

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AIDS2010 in Vienna: A Final Look

I knew AIDS2010 in Vienna would be a great learning experience, but I suppose I didn't expect to feel such profound gratitude for my life and my advantages. Life is such an arbitrary thing; I was born here, you were born there, she was born over there... and that...

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AIDS2010: The Art of AIDS

Everywhere you look at AIDS 2010 (the international conference in Vienna I'm blogging), HIV is being expressed artistically. It's as if the disease is so profound to people that simple words can't communicate their feelings. AIDS has been a productive artistic muse...

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AIDS2010: Human Rights March with Annie Lennox

The AIDS2010 theme, "Rights Here, Right Now," took center stage on day three, with speakers, seminars and events focused on how important human rights are the the AIDS equation. Access to health care and treatment is a human right. Women deserve rights around the...

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AIDS2010 Day Two: The Wisdom of Youth

Today was a blast, because I spent it with my intellectual peers -- puppets, show people and youth! In this video blog entry from AIDS2010 in Vienna you'll meet some amazing young people from around the world who are making a difference in their communities. You'll...

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“Gay Day” at AIDS2010 in Vienna!

The AIDS2010 conference was still one day from making its grand arrival, so the MSM Pre-Conference took center stage, playing host to gay men and their advocates from around the globe. I'm here blogging for the best HIV resource of the web, TheBody.com, and here is my...

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The Magic (and Gay Turks) of Istanbul!

My partner Ben and I are in Istanbul for five days. We're vacationing here until we move on to AIDS2010, the international AIDS conference in Vienna beginning on the 17th. I'll be producing daily video blogs from there as a correspondent for TheBody.com. In the...

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AIDS2010, get ready for My Fabulous Disease!

My favorite online HIV/AIDS resource, TheBody.com, is sending me to Vienna for AIDS2010, the bi-annual international AIDS conference July 17-23. I will be producing daily videos from the conference, and I don't mean wonky, dry reports about research minutiae! This is...

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An AIDS Golden Oldie, Spinning Again

An AIDS Golden Oldie, Spinning Again

We can turn it around in our minds, trying various reasons on for size, but nothing ever fits. In the end, it doesn't matter how much he was adored by his friends or whether he ignored his better judgment or if he secretly hated himself. Steven is, simply and...

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Live Video Chat with Mark S. King Scheduled

This Wednesday, June 30, at 2:00 PM EST, I will be the featured speaker on an online "Webinar" seminar, hosted by Wellsphere, a partner of TheBody.com. Meaning, if any of my video blogs have ever made you want to talk, argue or scream back to me, this is your chance....

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My 2010 Gay Pride PSA (that will never air!).

What would I talk about if I had my very own public service announcement? I'd probably waste the whole thing telling some embarrassing story about growing up gay. Or how much I hate being a queer man pushing 50. What if, though, I really allowed myself to cut the crap...

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Hi Bilerico, hi POZIAM, hello World!

It's turning into a busy Summer. I'm looking forward to a return to POZIAM Radio next Sunday, June 6, from 9-10PM, when I'll be the guest of Robert Breining, the host of the weekly radio show devoted to those living with HIV. It's a cool set-up: you listen to the show...

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Six Tips for Choosing your HIV Doctor

"Doctor doctor, give me the news I got a bad case of loving you..." -- Robert Palmer I had to say goodbye to my doctor recently. I was moving out of state, and Dr. David Morris of Pride Medical Group in Atlanta (pictured at right) had been nothing but a patient,...

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Secrets of the Masturbatory Male

May is National Masturbation Month " Hurry, folks! Only a few days left to celebrate! " and I'll admit to feeling smug, because I have more experience with masturbatory gay men than anyone else I know. During my years in Los Angeles in the 1980's, I owned (and oh yes,...

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The Day Larry Kramer Dissed Me

The mall was abuzz, with people darting in and out of stores, wrangling their kids and chatting on cell phones. I preferred it that way, because it kept Larry in a fairly calm state of quiet attention, ever vigilant as to where and when his next mortal enemy might...

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You can always go… Downtown!

She is brushing a crimson polish onto her nails with breathtaking speed, all the while trying on pairs of high heels to match her fingers, the color of blood, and yet she still has the presence of mind to patiently answer my questions. "We ain't Nero fiddling while...

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My Pretend Life without HIV

My mother-in-law is visiting us this week. She's still active at 84, engaged in life, and accepts me completely as her son's longtime partner and a member of the family. So it's a shame she doesn't know the first thing about me. That first thing is the fact that I am...

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October’s HIV Cruise Retreat is coming!

Ahoy! Or as I say in the promo below, "Yahoy!" (I was still learning my sea-faring lingo.) This October I'll serve as one of the hosts for the HIV Cruise Retreat, and this is a friendly reminder that organizers need to hear from you if you'd like to go. There's a...

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What it feels like for a Mom

"A boy's best friend is his mother." -- Norman Bates, "Psycho" I was standing at the ticket counter of the movie theater and couldn't believe my ears. They were telling me that "Theater of Blood," with the great Vincent Price, was rated "R" and they were not letting...

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Positive Lite: Humour and Living with HIV

Brian Finch knows a thing or two about "humour" and HIV. As a fellow HIV positive gay man (and addict in recovery) he has applied his entertaining world view to serving as editor of PositiveLite, an uplifting HIV/AIDS oriented site, and to his personal blog, Acid...

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HIV Plus Magazine: It’s Just Sex?

Sure, you're HIV-positive, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be having -- or don't deserve to have -- the most amazing sex life possible. This story just hit the stands in HIV Plus Magazine, and I am featured as a profile subject. The writing by Benjamin Ryan is...

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The Shirt Heard ‘Round the World

So, living with HIV is still quite a shocker, it appears. Whether true or rumored, whether "HIV Positive" is voluntarily displayed as an act of activism or the status is maliciously spread on the internet, the label still packs quite a punch. And I have to wonder why....

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My Very Last Night in a Gay Bathhouse

THE LAST TIME I went to the gay baths, some years ago, I stepped in poop. Actually, more like a pile of poop, because it crept up between my toes for a horrific second before I realized what my bare feet had stumbled across. I made the grim discovery while standing in...

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Has my AIDS crisis ended?

A few weeks ago I spent the day at the Florida AIDS Walk, and it was striking how different it was from the Walks I attended years ago. Smiling faces, racial and ethnic diversity, baby strollers, and most of all a feeling of happiness and celebration. That's progress,...

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Five Fun Facts about Flatulence!

Lately, I've been filled with more gas than Rush Limbaugh on an Oxycotin high. It usually happens in bed at night, where my long-suffering boyfriend has a very limited retreat. "What food pyramid item was that?" he'll ask like a horrified Top Chef judge, his fingers...

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Expert bloggers discuss Miley Nascar Porn!

When all the planets in our solar system align, you either get Mayan-themed global disaster, or you get... this. The leading queer bloggers in the country, a virtual hall of presidents, together on one stage. Such was the scene at the Gay and Lesbian Literary Arts...

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Smokin’ Kraken: Why gay men love monsters.

Long before the Big Moment in the shamelessly delightful "Clash of the Titans" remake, somewhere between the Winnebago-sized scorpions and the fatal gaze of a slithering Medusa, it occurred to me that I've been squealing with delight at monsters longer than, well,...

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Did the Bareback Time Machine kill Chad Noel?

Among the many online condolences to the family of Chad Noel ("Jim and Bonnie, so sorry to hear of the loss of your son...") are glimpses of the boy this young man was, while growing up in the ironic hometown of Laramie, Wyoming (where Matthew Shepard lived and...

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Gay Otter Love: “Thus with a kiss, I die.”

Romeo and Juliet they were not. For, dear reader, they were but Otters, they of fur and fang. And hark! Hear more! For Juliet wouldst find no sister here, for these loves were brave and happy males! An otter typically lives to a ripe old age of 14, at the outside. But...

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Tracking the elusive “bug chasers” of HIV

Tracking the elusive “bug chasers” of HIV

"I (have) always hated any suggestion that AIDS was a gift. A Mercedes is a gift." -- Mark S. King, "A Place Like This," pg. 180 I must admit my belief that bug-chasers are an extremely elusive and exotic form of pervert that aren't as much seen as talked about. For...

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“The Clap” is becoming The Applause!

After living with HIV infection for nearly 30 years, the thought of acquiring an STD like gonorrhea makes me feel... nostalgic. But my flip attitude may be put to the test by a recent report at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting in Edinburgh,...

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We’re AIDS walking “post-crisis.”

While attending the South Florida AIDS Walk yesterday I was struck with the obvious. These walks just aren't what they used to be, and neither is the HIV/AIDS crisis. In fact, "crisis" is hardly a word to describe it anymore. This isn't simply about the fact that, for...

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In My Humble, Closeted Opinion

This is the story of how one AIDS activist sold his soul for sixty bucks. Being queer can be expensive -- you never know when you may need to dash to The Gap for some damn thing. Or renew Vanity Fair. So I was happy to get on a list for a marketing company that would...

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Facing Change

I recently made the move from my beloved Atlanta back to Fort Lauderdale, and it's been tough saying goodbye to my friends, my doctor and my support system. And the physical act of moving is hard. I've had to decide what is worth keeping and what to finally give up....

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Medicare to pay for facial wasting treatments

In what may be seen as a controversial decision by some, the U.S. Medicare program will begin paying for facial filler treatments for HIV patients who have experienced the loss of fat in their face (facial lipoatrophy). The catch: those patients must not only be...

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Scholarships exhausted for HIV Cruise Retreat

Well, they went faster than plasma TV sets on Black Friday. The capacity for financial assistance for fare on the HIV Cruise Retreat has been exceeded, and it's nice to know that the organizers will be able to assist some folks with expenses. Remember, the cruise...

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Health Care Reform saves HIV-positive lives!

After decades of inaction, a year of work, unparalleled Republican obstruction and no small amount of leadership by President Obama, health care reform soon will be law. This bill will save lives. Millions who don't have health coverage now will. And insurance...

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Anita came out to play last night…

Sometimes the old girl busts out of her shell (how she breathes stuffed in a gym bag in the back of the closet I'll never know) and takes the stage. She got her chance last night, when my drag alter ego brought some laughs to a group of friends in recovery with her...

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I’m MC’ing the HIV Cruise this October!

Warning: Very excited aging poz queen here. I'm so thrilled I'm leaking t-cells. I have the pleasure to announce that the coordinators of the annual HIV Cruise Retreat have invited me to join the voyage this year as M.C. I am humbled, flattered, and just plain damn...

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Guess who’s headed to Vienna!

TheBody.com, the great HIV resource site that premieres each episode of the "My Fabulous Disease" videos, has invited me to join them in Vienna, Austria this summer for AIDS 2010, the international AIDS conference. I'll be blogging live from the event and also...

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My interview on serosorting for HIV Plus Magazine

This month HIV Plus Magazine ran an article on serosorting, or the process in which people limit their sexual partners to those with the same HIV status (I'm quoted as part of the piece). As you might imagine, it's a controversial practice and hardly perfect. But what...

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The Real Poz Guys of Atlanta

Social support means a lot when you're living with HIV/AIDS, especially from friends who tease you, insult you, feed you, and share their secrets with you. Once again, pals Craig, James, Eric and Antron came for an evening of laughs, chocolate and soul bearing (they...

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Chris Glaser leads the 2009 Atlanta Pride Parade

For more than ten years I had the pleasure of being the significant other of Rev. Chris Glaser, who has devoted his life to reconciling gay and lesbian people and the church. He's also a best selling author ("Uncommon Calling," "Coming Out to God") and speaker. In...

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Talking zombies on the morning news

Since helping re-create scenes from "Night of the Living Dead" is too much fun to pass up, I visited Shreveport, Louisiana to help my brother Dick mount a production of the zombie classic. Here, I'm interviewed on the morning news while Dick clowns around as the late,...

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Anita Mann as “Miss Pink Cloud”

My drag queen alter ego first appeared while in recovery at this event, which raised funds for Hotlanta Roundup, an annual gathering of gay and lesbian folks in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Here, Anita vies for the title "Miss Pink Cloud," and later in the evening...

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Anita Mann’s infamous TV Set Number

Set to Nancy Lamott's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," my drag queen alter ego battles herself locked in a TV set in this, her finest hour on stage. This performance was taped at a fund raiser for gay and lesbians in recovery from drugs an alcohol, since Anita (and I)...

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My television commercials from the 1980s

In my distant youth, I did television commercials as a young actor in Los Angeles (described in my book "A Place Like This"). I specialized in nerd, dorks and geeks, as this video clearly demonstrates. Everything from McDonald's (the director kept asking me to place...

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Winning a car on The Price is Right in 1980

I was a 19 year old gay man on vacation with my boyfriend Charlie (that's him in the audience in the matching outfit), and Bob Barker asks, "Do you have a girlfriend?" It's 1980, people, so don't expect me to have come screaming out of the closet on national...

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Serosorting and Gay Sex Clubs

By far the most viewed episode of the series so far (was it the guided tour of a sex club? Hmm. I wonder.). Since serosorting (limiting ones sex partners to those with the same HIV status) has been written and discussed a lot lately, I interviewed Bill from...

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Drag and Gratitude

My drag alter ego Anita Mann comes out to play in this video episode from December of 2009, when she read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" at a fund raising event for gay and lesbian friends in recovery. Just remember: we all have gifts in our bag. Why did I waste so...

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You Gotta Have Friends

Is there anything more important than social support when living with HIV or AIDS? Four of my friends spent an evening comparing notes (and telling secrets) about sex, disclosure, and what our Moms thought about our HIV status in this video episode from April 2009. My...

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Treating My Facial Wasting

After dealing with facial lipoatrophy (wasting) and seeing it so evident in my videos, I decided to do something about it by visiting Dr. Gerald Pierone in Vero Beach, FL and being treated with injections of facial fillers. Facial wasting and fat displacement are...

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Mark’s R-Rated Sex Pig Blog

Barebacking, glory holes, casual sex and disclosing my HIV status are all discussed in this funny, provocative episode from January of 2009. Aging and negotiating sex as a gay man is as funny as it is frustrating, if you ask me. If you're new here, you'll wonder why...

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The Drug Addict Takes a Holiday

Long after my former partner Ben ended our relationship when I ended up in drug rehab, I visited him in the home we had shared in Ft Lauderdale and tried to make sense of our past -- and what may happen in our future. This video from January of 2009 was a real...

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Taking Care of Hal

I never dreamed I would be spending two months in Michigan helping my oldest brother through chemotherapy. But it got me outside of my head, beyond my own HIV diagnosis, and helped me focus on helping someone else. Sometimes, that's the best medicine of all.

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Oprah Comes Calling

In this episode of my ongoing video series, Oprah reaches out to touch... me! It leads to bittersweet memories of Louise Hay (the "Hayrides" of the 1980s in West Hollywood), and of my gay brother Dick and his partner's struggle with AIDS. Also, I get an annual...

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