POZ Magazine Honorees For 2015

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Grammy-nominated jazz musician Fred Hersch, 1980s pop singer Sherri Lewis, artist Hunter Reynolds, documentarian Grissel Granados and her activist mother, Silvia Valerio are among the 2015 POZ 100 honorees.

POZ Magazine recognizes long-term HIV survivors and activists. This year, voters were asked to nominate people who have been living with HIV since 1995 or earlier, and who remain active in the fight to end AIDS. Other honorees included HIV researcher Perry Halkitis, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation managing director Joel Goldman, activist Larry Frampton (a.k.a. Cowboy Larry), and fundraiser Stephen Hartley (a.k.a. drag performer Kitty Litter).

In November 2015, POZ identified a confusing press release about a report by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health regarding HIV risk factors for bisexuals.  As a result, several media outlets reported that the risk of HIV for bisexual men in the United States is comparable to the risk for heterosexual men, which is unsubstantiated. A University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences clarified this In an email exchange with POZ, acknowledging the inaccuracies in the news reports.

“As of 2015, half of the population living with HIV is estimated to be over 50, while our knowledge of aging with HIV remains insufficient. We also face ongoing challenges in prevention, vaccine and cure research.”

Noting the tremendous changes in HIV treatment over the last three decades, Oriol Gutierrez, POZ editor-in-chief, states that  there are new challenges facing the community as the population of HIV survivors ages. “As of 2015, half of the population living with HIV is estimated to be over 50, while our knowledge of aging with HIV remains insufficient. We also face ongoing challenges in prevention, vaccine and cure research.”

All of this year’s honorees have been living with the virus since before effective treatment was available, and many got HIV before 1985, when the first HIV test became accessible. In introducing the 2015 POZ 100, Gutierrez said, “In addition to the many HIV advocates and educators on the list, there is an array of diverse individuals, LGBT and straight, from myriad cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds who represent the arts, communities of faith and research.  The ages of the honorees also vary. Although most contracted the virus while adults, some became HIV positive as teenagers and a few were born with HIV.  This year’s list was chosen from our most enthusiastic response ever and we know readers will be informed, moved and inspired by their stories.”

POZ Magazine is the award-winning print and online publication for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Established in 1994, POZ has been publishing the POZ 100 List for the last six years. To see the full list, go to poz.com/100.

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