A Day with HIV in America

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10:30 AM: Vacaville, CA: Phillip was adopted by Amanda Proctor and her partner: [Phillip’s] biomother was infected during pregnancy and he showed up positive at six months-old.

Thirty years have molded the face of AIDS into various shapes and forms dictated by the disease itself, medications, shame, and stigma. The modern-day face of AIDS is again transforming, taking the shape of hope and the form of courage. It is not afraid to show itself and offer a glimpse into “A Day with HIV.”

September 21 is A Day with HIV in America, one that brings together individuals from the U.S. and Canada to document a day in their lives with HIV/AIDS and share it with the world in an on-line photo gallery presented by Positively Aware magazine. People from all walks of life post their compelling pictures and stories with which they paint the bigger picture of AIDS.

Among this year’s 120 participants are Robert Breining, founder and host of POZIAM, an on-line support social network and radio show; Anthony Johnson, founder of BOLT (Bringing Our Lives Together), an HIV-centric but not exclusive social/support group; Justin B. Terry-Smith, author of I Have a Secret, a children’s book about HIV; and Dab Garner, founder/CEO of Dab the AIDS Bear Project, a community-based AIDS organization.

“Dab the AIDS Bear and I participated in A Day with HIV for the second year because it is important for a thirty-year survivor like [myself] to show [that] people can live with HIV/AIDS, while pursuing their dreams in life,” Garner comments. Terry-Smith reiterates the idea, explaining that “the more we, as HIV-positive, are open about our status, the more we can educate the community and the world about HIV, [and show that] we are not afraid [and won’t] go silent into the night.”

A Day with HIV in America dares to display the new face of AIDS and its message. Each September 21 offers a chance to keep that message alive, one image at a time. Log on to www.adaywithhivinamerica.com.
—Alina Oswald

Alina Oswald is a writer/photographer and the author of Journeys Through Darkness, a biography of AIDS. Contact her at www.alina-arts.com or follow her blog, Unconventional, at alinaoswald.blogspot.com.

December 2011