Yesterday, I received the following press release:
POZ MAGAZINE ANNOUNCES “POZ 100” FOR 2013
FOR THE FIRST TIME, EACH INDIVIDUAL ON THE LIST IS LIVING WITH HIV
NEW YORK CITY, November 18, 2013 — POZ magazine, an award-winning print and online brand for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, today announced the fourth annual POZ 100. This year, POZ asked individuals and organizations to nominate an HIV-positive person in their community who is an unsung hero in the fight against AIDS. For the first time, the list is made up completely of people living with the virus. The list includes individuals of all ages, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations from across the United States and Puerto Rico, at organizations large and small. It comprises a variety of careers, from bloggers and activists to doctors and educators, and spans across many diverse populations affected by the virus.
“The individuals on this year’s list may not consider themselves to be heroes, but we do,” said Oriol Gutierrez, POZ’s editor-in-chief. “Each person—in his or her own unique way—is taking a brave stand against the virus. They are fighting back. From people who volunteer for AIDS service organizations or work as policy advocates, to those who act as educators to promote prevention and treatment, this list represents an incredibly diverse spectrum of people living with HIV and making a difference on the front lines in their communities,” Gutierrez said.
The people spotlighted on this year’s POZ 100 will inspire readers with their passion to effect change in the world. By telling their stories, POZ hopes the public at large will better understand that the fight against HIV/AIDS continues.
“Because they are living with the virus themselves, these individuals have a unique understanding of what needs to be done and how best to do it,” Gutierrez continued. “They know what it’s like to be newly diagnosed and how it feels to deal with HIV-related stigma and discrimination. They understand the challenges of accessing care, treatment and support. By sharing their stories, they are not only inspiring others living with the virus but also empowering themselves and the entire HIV community.”
POZ is an award-winning print and online brand for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Offering unparalleled editorial excellence since 1994, POZ and POZ.com are identified by our readers as their most trusted sources of information about the disease.
It’s not like we didn’t know that more than 100 people have AIDS, but strangely, seeing the actual faces of 100 people that are admittedly living with the disease and working to increase awareness is a bit alarming. It makes you realize that HIV/AIDS doesn’t have a face or discretion. Some of the women look like average, everyday mothers and grandmothers. I looked at the site beyond the list, and saw a beauty pageant queen who is living with it. Then, there was a 20-year-old who was born with it. Her mother has since died from HIV/AIDS, but can you imagine infecting YOUR CHILD with the same disease of which you are dying? The thought is just unbearable, and I think seeing these faces really just made me more aware of just how real HIV/AIDS is.