Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 Holiday gifts for anyone HIV+

I wanted to share with you 10 things that I would recommend getting an HIV+ friend or family member for the upcoming holidays. The things I am going to mention are items that have helped me move past my diagnosis and shifted me from living with HIV to thriving with HIV. These items will not only help those living with HIV but also support some amazing causes & people.

1) The Naked Truth -Young Beautiful & HIV+ - The surprisingly hopeful story of how a straight, nonpromiscuous, everyday girl contracted HIV and how she manages to stay upbeat, inspired, and more positive about life than ever before. At nineteen years of age, Marvelyn Brown was lying in a stark white hospital bed at Tennessee Christian Medical Center, feeling hopeless. A former top track and basketball athlete, she was in the best shape of her life, but she was battling a sudden illness in the intensive care unit. Doctors had no idea what was going on. It never occurred to Brown that she might be HIV positive.The Naked Truth is an inspirational memoir that shares how an everyday teen refused to give up on herself, even as others would forsake her. More, it's a cautionary tale that every parent, guidance counselor, and young adult should read. Purchase The Naked Truth 

2) Love in the time of HIV - A gay mans guide to sex, dating & relationships - The facts of life have never been more complicated for gay men. While the threat of AIDS has been diminished by new treatments and longer life expectancy, HIV remains a serious and intractable foe. In this affirming guide, therapist Michael Mancilla, himself HIV-positive, helps fellow gay men, both single and partnered, pursue the happy and fulfilling love life they deserve. Readers will find advice on everything from meeting Mr. Right and talking about HIV status to building the long-term relationships that many never expected to have. Candid first-hand accounts reveal how others in the community are negotiating safer sex, overcoming legal and financial hurdles to plan for the future, learning to accept care as well as give it, and crafting the kinds of intimate relationships they want, whether that means casual sex, dating, or permanent commitment. Smart, honest, and insightful, this book is written from the heart. Purchase Love in the Time of HIV

3) My Pet Virus - The story of a true rebel without a cure - I was destined for a life of medical drama from day one," begins this comic memoir with a mission. "I was born in the month of July, and my horoscope sign is a disease (Cancer). The symbol for Cancer? A crab (the sexually transmitted critter). Not only that, my parents named me Shawn Timothy Decker, which makes my initials S.T.D. Shawn Decker isn't quite the All-American boy. But he's also a hemophiliac who discovers, at age eleven, that he has contracted HIV from tainted blood products. Instead of becoming self-pitying and dying (as first predicted), Shawn develops a twisted sense of humor, meets Depeche Mode through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and writes on blogs and in Poz magazine about what it's like being hetero and HIV-positive in rural Virginia. He also turns to gay men for advice on dating women and, almost twenty years after getting HIV, marries Gwenn Barringer, who is HIV-negative and a former competitor for the title of Miss Virginia. Together Shawn and Gwenn travel the country, speaking to high school and college kids about how to live and love with HIV (and how to avoid getting it) Purchase My Pet Virus

4) Dab The AIDS Bear - The Bear was created to offer those with HIV a sense of comfort. Back in 1981 Dab Garner, the founder of Dab the AIDS Bear Project ,was unable to visit friends that were in the hospitals dying of  HIV/AIDS.  You see it was in the early stages of HIV/AIDS and the health professionals,friends and family members were all afraid to touch those living with HIV. Most patients were quarantined because we were not yet sure how it was passed from one person to another. So Dab started buying Gund teddy bears and giving them to friends so they would not have to feel so alone, abandoned and afraid. That is how Dab the AIDS Bear was created. Today  Dab the AIDS Bear is a symbol of hope and many people infected or affected by the disease carry Dab the AIDS Bear around to special events and take photos with him. Dab the AIDS Bear has allowed the everyday person living with HIV a chance to offer hope to those who are newly diagnosed. Purchase a Dab the AIDS Bear 

5) Sex Positive -DVD - Sex Positive  explores the life of Richard Berkowitz, a revolutionary gay S&M- hustler-turned-AIDS activist in the 1980s, whose incomparable contribution to the invention of safe sex has never been aptly credited. Berkowitz emerged from the epicenter of the epidemic as a community leader, demanding a solution to the problem before anyone else would pay attention. However, it was not Berkowitz' voice alone that sparked contention. Sex Positive explores the explicit bravery of this unrecognized triumvirate & their quest to save lives in the midst of unwavering dissent. Now destitute and alone, Mr. Berkowitz tells his story to a world who never wanted to listen.Through the eyes of Mr. Berkowitz, the audience is made witness to a graphic testimony of sex, death, & betrayal, while placing the invention of ‘safe sex’ in a fresh and compelling context. Purchase the Sex Positive DVD

6) The Fire Within - DVD- The Fire Within is an illuminating story of two people with singular spirit. Bob Bowers is a long-term AIDS survivor. He met Shawn 10 years ago and in spite of his disease, she married him six months later. To this day she remains HIV-negative. We record Shawn's participation in a 7-day, 575-mile bike ride as she tries, in some measure, to replicate Bob's everyday battles, his every day victories. The Fire Within is not only a documentary about surviving AIDS; this is a movie about thriving-regardless of your circumstances Purchase the Fire Within 

7) OTP & POZIAM Merchandise - This merchandise will not only keep your friend warm in the winter months but will also help them promote HIV/AIDS awareness. The merchandise consists of T-shirts,sweatshirts, mugs, magnets,clocks and more. TheT-shirts are perfect for conferences,local AIDS walks and of course the comfort of your own home
Visit the One Tough Pirate Store  & Visit the POZIAM Store

8) Team Mondo Shirt - Mondo Guerra, the rocking 32-year-old breakout star from the 8th season of "Project Runway" now has Team Mondo Shirts and Autographed pictures for purchase on his website.I know I would want one for Christmas. Be the envy of the crowd when you take your Team Mondo t-shirt out for a spin. Keep Mondo’s signature bouffant and boldness close to your heart in this adorable shirts. Pair it with your favorite pair of jeans and accessories and you’re ready to make a statement!
Visit Mondo's Store

9) God,Me..HIV ? - DVD - The name of the show is “God, Me…HIV?” (Just blame yourself). It displays seven different ways the virus can be spread without using vulgarity or religiosity. The beauty of this show is in the creation. It does not push people to use condoms, unprotected sex or abstinence. It just gives facts and consequences. When you push people to think, they will have a better chance of making the right decision. There is no pressure or lecture; you are just watching a funny and theatrical performance while being educated. This is the first one man show to touch the world in such a way
Purchase God,Me ..HIV ?

10) Share a Link - This is probably  the cheapest and easiest gift to give. After a diagnosis there are many feeling one will have. Loneliness is the most common. Share www.poziam.com with your HIV+ friend or family member. Let them know that there is a place for them to create a profile and find others who are in the same boat. You can do this by emailing the link to them.


  1. May I also suggest for the new person infected, The First Year: HIV: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed by Brett Grodeck

  2. Tom .. Yes I agree that is a great addition to the list above for someone who is Newly Diagnosed. Thanks for adding it :)

  3. Hi there Robert, my "T" Party www.MikesTparty.com just launched a line of "T" shirts as well just yesterday just in time for the holidays to help raise awareness and money for HIV & AIDS. Looking forward to connecting with you soon.

    Mike Hennessey
    Creator of Mikes T Party

  4. Hey Mike.. I am looking forward to seeing the shirts.. Maybe when money comes in I can get one. I also want to come on the show sometime soon

  5. Thanks for including Dab the AIDS Bear. The profits from our bears fund our Christmas parties for kids with HIV and AIDS around the world called Teddy Bear Touchdowns. big bear hug

  6. How about an AIDS RIDE SOUTH AFRICA t-shirt? For those who would like to participate in 2011, or simply support this fundraiser that raises money for research and a cure, go to www.arsa.org.za or join us on Facebook and Twitter.

  7. Very nice post! I am re-tweeting!! :)

    Kevin @RiseUpToHIV