Saturday, May 25, 2013

'My Fab Disease' Vlog: Who Speaks for People With AIDS?

One of these days I hope to meet Mark S. King in person, because he's a longtime survivor and thriver living with AIDS who uses his wicked sense of humor to keep himself healthy and can teach even old PWA dogs like myself new tricks.

Mark was at the recent Federal HIV Town Hall in Washington hosted by the National Minority AIDS Council, that was riddled with technical glitches and ethical questions. Go here to read my critique of the meeting.

At his My Fabulous Disease vlog, Mark offers a written and video response to the town hall and really zings it to NAPWA's former executive director. He writes:

With the demise of The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) earlier this year, it’s an important conversation to have. The forum, sponsored by the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership, a coalition of AIDS-related organizations and interests, didn’t bear much fruit in terms of hearing the feedback of people living with the disease. 

The event was lightly attended in person, with most of those living with HIV present representing some organization or another, and the online viewers had technical problems and, presumably as a result, contributed very little. 

The most compelling minutes of the event, to me at least, were courtesy of the sheer audacity of former administrators from NAPWA (like Frank Oldham, pictured above), who made a pitch for their new HIV advocacy venture. After bankrupting a multi-million dollar agency and charges of financial malfeasance, you’d think they would opt for a lower profile.

Don't delay and hit the play button to watch Mark's serious and comedic video. Then do yourself a special favor, regardless of your HIV sero status, and read his feature essay in the new POZ magazine, all about the stigma PWAs face and the myriad complicating issues helping or hurting us.

His essay, "The Sound of Stigma", is here.

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