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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dignity for all man-kind as the clock strikes 2012.


Looking back on this year, I have made mistakes, I have struggled, I have fought and I have conquered.  Most of all, I am proud of myself for fighting to live. . . I am still standing tall with pride and I am truly proud of who I have become today.  I am proud of all the things I have accomplished and will accomplish. 

I am living with HIV but most of all I am living with dignity.

Before the clock strikes twenty-twelve . . . I wanted to share a closing message of hope and life with you. I hope you will listen . . . and share my message with others.


I would not have grown to be who I am today without the inspiration, support and dedication of many who work tirelessly in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  While I can’t list all those who have been there for me. . . below are some who I believe deserve some special recognition  - these are my top five 2011 warriors in the fight for dignity and love of all man-kind.

# 1: My Friends! Over the last year it is the unconditional love and support of friends that continue to allow me to feel safe. Through all the tough times, the exciting times . . . every minute of every hour of every day my circle of friends, personal and virtual have shown the most powerful, unconditional expressions and support of love. You all are a rare circle of trust and love that no matter the struggle, no matter the excitement when achieving something great – you are always there! You are all number one in my life and I want to thank you for helping me to stand tall as we close 2011 and I look forward to all of us growing together as the adventure of life continues in 2012.

#2: The Team at PositiveLite.com! This team of bloggers and writers truly get it! With an endless effort to bring readers incredible stories of inspiration and hope, I am addicted to getting my daily dose of hope from this online publication. If you are not tuned in or subscribed to the PositiveLite.com feeds . . . get in the know today to get your dose of hope and life!

#3: The Poz I Am Social Network and Blog Talk Radio! RobertBreining – founder of the Poz I Am Social Network truly has mastered the “social-environment” for people living with HIV/AIDS spot on! Anyone living with HIV/AIDS who needs a safe place that is built on support, truly inspiring virtual friends, blogs, messages of hope and more, then this place is for you. There is no other HIV social community that can top this one – so get on board today! If the social network was not enough, Robert Breining also hosts (with co-hosts Jeromy Dunn and Jack Mackenroth) a weekly Blog Talk Radio Show. . . I listen as often as I can, so I can 'hear' that I am not alone; so that I can ask questions and learn how others are fighting and living with HIV/AIDS.  If you have not tuned in already . . . TUNE IN! The show is every Sunday at 9 PM!

#4: Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC)! This non-profit organization is a hub of hope for all gay men living with HIV/AIDS. A safe-haven where anyone living in the New York City area who is dealing with a wide range of issues trying to fight his battle with HIV/AIDS can turn to for help, guidance, support and tools to win the fight of life. If you live in NYC and need help – turn to this organization. If you are looking for a place to donate before the clock strikes midnight (or even after) GMHC is the organization everyone should consider making a donation . . . their work is vital and saves lives.

#5: My Twitter Followers! While I am new to Twitter, I have never been more inspired by networking and following the thousands of inspiring tweets filled with hope, news and much more. All of my Twitter followers deserve a standing ovation for inspiring me, keeping me in the know and staying with me as I continue to share my story openly with the world. If you are on Twitter and have not connected with me, Follow me now . . . and connect with all of my followers who continue to do great, great things for all those living with HIV / AIDS.

So as 2011 comes to an end; remember another great year is upon us. Let’s all continue to do awesome things! Let’s work together – let’s join forces – let’s LOVE each other unconditionally! We will win this fight together!

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rock'n around the tree this holiday season. . .

I am sending you the most joyous wishes during this Holiday Season as you gather around the Christmas Tree or light the Hanukkah Menorah to spend time together with loved ones, family and friends. I am deeply grateful for all of your unconditional love and support as I continue to share my life so openly with the world.

While this Christmas I am once again without family, I certainly am far from alone as I am blessed to have such a new family full of love. I have the most amazing friends who helped me to find the spirit and cheer for this holiday season. A special, special thank you to M.A., D.L., D.M., T.B., J.D. and R.G. for always being there! Below is a little holiday dance I jib-jabbed up to show you just how happy you all have made me feel. I feel ALIVE and there is no other gift I could have ever asked from Santa this year than this. So again, thank you all - and HAPPY, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!



I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog! Remember you can continue to follow my story on twitter or friend me on facebook.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

LIVE your life with fun!

Looking through my previous posts, I realized that much of what I am writing about is always on the serious side about living with HIV/AIDS. I admit I sometimes get so wrapped up in my advocacy efforts as well as being caught up, brooding about the random changes that might be happening with my body (such as when I see a bump or something. . . I freak out thinking my HIV is attacking me, when in actuality it is just a darn mosquito bite or a zit). I guess what I am trying to say is that while living with HIV (both the stigma and the disease itself) is very serious and requires daily management, I have to sometimes just forget about all the hate in the world some people still have towards people living with HIV/AIDS.  I have to just swallow my handful of pills in the morning. . . and simply LIVE. . . which in the last few weeks has been a blast! It's so important for me (and anyone for that matter living with and without HIV) to find ways to stay stress-free and be diligently conscious about maintaining a fun, healthy life-style.  I make it a mission to live an adventure each and everyday I wake up.

This past week I took to the streets of New York City (my concrete jungle of a home) and have accomplished so much. . . and I ask you. . . what have you accomplished over the past few weeks? What have you done to LIVE?

Some of you may recall a previous post back from October where I shared that I am on this workout kick - a personal goal to try and achieve that magazine ripped body look I have always wanted. Well, I am making some great progress. I am hitting the gym about 5 days a week doing a myriad of muscle group focused intense workouts, and now on the hunt for a wicked cardio routine that will shred my core. I tossed out all of my junk food (literally scowling all of my cabinets with anything and everything that is unhealthy- and I have switched to an almost completely organic diet - including all my meats, greens, fruits and ice cream!) I feel a million times better about what I am putting in my body and I am finding that I have a lot more energy to get through my day with focus. Hopefully my darn abs will start popping out soon!

Me, Mimi Stern-Wolfe & Rohan Spong
I also have spent time with friends! A healthy social life is uber-important! I have seen a few movies (including Hugo - which I thought sucked big-time!) However on World AIDS Day, I did see this one documentary, All the Way Through Evening, Directed by the very cool Ausee Rohan Spong, which takes us on a journey into Mimi Stern-Wolfe's life and the concerts she gives every year to remember and celebrate the works of composers who have passed on. The film genuinely captured the careful, sensitive humanitarian aspect of Mimi's dedication to embracing how important it is for all of us to take time to remember important history such as the work of these will-never-be-forgotten composers who bravely fought (and unfortunately lost) their battle to HIV/AIDS.

Stop! Listen, touch, look and taste! When on an adventure of living life do you ever take a moment to just enjoy the 'present' moment you are in? I almost forget to do this all the time. Especially here in NYC, when walking down the sidewalks buried in the hustle and bustle with my headphones on. I will walk several blocks, stop at a cross signal when directed and think to myself 'how the heck did I just get here. . .' realizing I probably passed some nifty things to check out. . . or action on the streets. So these past few weeks I have been really conscious about remaining in the 'now'. One of the cooler things I got to experience was the Lady Gaga thingy at Barney's. I took a picture of one of the window displays so anyone not living in NYC who wants a glimpse of Gaga's wild world that I admire - check out what I saw when I was staying 'in the moment'.

I have to admit, it's pretty cool exploring New York City (well exploring no matter where I am); and really taking in each breath of life. The feeling totally rocks. . . and after a day of true adventure of life, I sit down on my couch and think to myself 'damn it's great to be alive'; can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

Artwork by: Chris Morgan
When tomorrow does arrive (which it does every day for me) I am sure to put into motion action steps to continue to get one step closer to achieving all my goals. I am making some incredible headway into my book INSANE IN THE METH-BRAIN, and hope to have it finally up and ready for publishing early Spring. I am also working on the production 'ALIVE' (again check out that previous post where I talked about all this. . .). I am not sure when this will debut as I am trying to secure producers and investors; however in the interim I am creating a new smaller show "BEYOND BELIEF" which I hope to open here in NYC sometime this Spring or early Summer. The groovy art work you see here, is going to be the main backbone of the stage setting for a story of magic and escape to be told! Kudos to Chris Morgan for his brilliantly genius creativity in making this happen for me! (This piece is currently hanging on one of my walls just over my couch in the living room)! (Modest much - ha!)

So I am curious. . . with all that I shared with you about how I have been living life. . . moving ahead in life to do the things I love most. . . did you forget I was HIV positive? I did! The virus doesn't live me. . . I live me! So for anyone stumbling on my little blog. . . stop reading. . . yes! Right now! and Go LIVE the day away!

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog.

Oh, p.s. - want to stay in touch more with me about what's going on in my life, and also so I can follow your life events too? - friend me on facebook!









Saturday, December 3, 2011

RED ALERT: HERSHEY MAY INFECT YOU WITH HATE

I am outraged and won’t remain silent on an issue that has my blood boiling to the point where I just tossed anything and everything Hershey into my trash can because I am afraid for the safety of my mental-health whereby these products, when ingested, may infect me with hate towards people living with HIV/AIDS.  And you know what sucks about this – all this time I have been eating Reeses Peanut Butter Cups – my favorite candy in the whole wide world - and who knew it was filled with artificial love and fake yumminess that slowly kills the soul with hate! UGH!!!!! It tasted toooooo good to be true – I knew it!

Here’s the gist of what I want to share with you. . . (please watch this very short video).



In an NBC Philadelphia news release (which was posted on World AIDS Day, nonetheless), there have been an overwhelming number of comments filled with hate supporting this school’s decision to not enroll this 13 year old boy because of his HIV status. You really should read the comments, as your jaw may hit the floor faster than my gut reached the core of the earth. . . I am stunned!!

One person (who appears to be from a law-firm and is a Yale graduate) suggested in a comment that there should be a separate and special school for kids with HIV/AIDS. Really dumb-ass? Is this what you learned at Yale? What decade are you living in? Pick up a book and get educated about HIV/AIDS. Your law-firm should fire you for even making such a blatantly uneducated comment such as that.

Several students who attend this school also left comments stating such things as "we horse around and some of us are having unprotected sex, we don’t want anyone with AIDS around us, he would just give it to everybody."  WTF????!!!!! Is this school teaching and promoting? I mean what kind of insanity is at the heart of this institution that alleges it fosters the growth and genuine care for all youth no matter their challenges in life . . . and promotes (according the comments left by these students) unsafe sex?

Another individual, who is actually living with HIV, made the following comment, “The school should SUE the local HIV agencies for NOT doing enough to stop HIV, the time has come to fight the accounting fraud and negligent behavior of the HIV agencies in America. HIV is NOT job security! I will NOT tolerate being a CASH COW, the gravy train MUST BE derailed!”  I have to disagree with this. It is up to each and every person in this world to stop HIV - the agencies as I see it are here to provide awareness and education and testing and support services. . . (they cannot nor can we expect these agencies to hold our hands when it comes to prevention. . .) it is up to the human race to stop HIV / AIDS and to end Stigma. Pointing fingers at agencies (while I must say some agencies are worthless and don't do a damn thing to bring enough awareness) won't solve a thing. We need to point the finger back onto ourselves and ask "Am I doing enough . . . to prevent and end HIV /AIDS and to end Stigma and hate that is driven by fear of others who simply are not educated on the facts vs. the myths?" Until every person in our world asks this question and puts into motion his / her own action steps. . . HIV / AIDS will always be here.

I will BAN HERSHEY PRODUCTS and I am asking all of my followers and friends, from this day forward, to simply do the same until such time Hershey man’s up and publicly apologizes and admits THEY ARE WRONG. Additionally, I am demanding that the Hershey school institute a program that educates their personnel, students and the communities they serve about the facts vs. the myths re: people living with HIV/AIDS in an effort to reverse the damage they have done.

I have signed a petition as my action step (in addition to throwing Hershey Hate into my trash can) in support of this kid's fight to educate the world that discrimination towards those living with HIV/AIDS will NOT BE TOLERATED. 

Let’s send a message loud and clear that we will NOT TOLERATE DISCRIMINATION, STIGMA and FEAR.

TAKE ACTION: Share this post and sign the petition. This boy needs our support and dammit let’s make sure he has it until we win this one fight in the war against HIV/AIDS discrimination.

To the boy and his family . . . you have me on your side! Stay strong . . . you will prevail! 

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog.

Monday, November 28, 2011

How I plan to reflect on World AIDS Day (and the day after)

I can't believe that we are upon 30 years of reflection as we look back on how the AIDS Crisis has infected and affected many across the globe. I am filled with tears of joy because I am approaching my 10 year anniversary of life since I was diagnosed back in 2002.

As I reflect back on these past 10 years, I am eternally grateful and thankful for those who have joined the fight against HIV/AIDS including all the scientists, researchers, activists, support agencies, independent film makers who tell our story, online support networks and those living with and affected by HIV / AIDS. I would not be the strong, healthy person I am today if it were not for all of these entities working collectively together.

So I thought I would take this time to share with you how I will be reflecting on these past 30 years on World AIDS Day (and the day after); and for those of you that may be in New York City (and those of you who emailed me asking what I would be up to) some of my plans are open to the public and might be of interest to you as you begin to make plans.

On Thursday, December 1st,  I will likely wake up in a bundle of nerves because I will be presenting, in the morning, my new national speaking program, Blunt-Talk: How I LiVe to the student body (400 students!) at a prestigious New York City high school. My message will be strong and filled with hope; sharing the intimate details of what happened to me back in 2002 and how I have been dealing with living with HIV / AIDS since. I have performed and spoke on stages for thousands, and I admit that even to this day I still get nervous just before stepping on stage. Wish me luck!!

Rohan Spong & Mimi Stern-Wolfe
Following my speaking engagement, I felt it was important for me to learn and be part of something historical. I have decided to attend, what I believe will be one of the most epic World AIDS Day independent film premieres here in New York City, All The Way Through Evening, Directed by the internationally acclaimed Rohan Spong (previous work includes T is for Teacher, reviewed as one of the best films of 2009 in Australia.)  Check out the trailer below and for the complete synopsis of this film and to purchase tickets, please visit the film's website. If you do attend (which I hope you will), please look out for me and do come say hi


ALL THE WAY THROUGH EVENING - Trailer from rohan spong on Vimeo.




Many of my followers have inquired, asking if I will be speaking / performing publicly. The answer is YES!! On the day after World AIDS Day, December 2nd, I will present my Blunt-Talk speaking program at the Staten Island LGBT Center as well as perform several pieces of magic from my recent off-Broadway show, Purity.  This event is FREE!! And if you do attend, bring some friends along so I can read their minds!!


For those of you in Manhattan, um it's a hop skip and jump off the Ferry! I have posted a flier here with all the details.

It would mean a great deal if you would all help spread the word about these events I am attending, and I do hope many of you will come out to support.


World AIDS Day for me will be about speaking, listening, giving back and sharing the magic of my life while others share the magic of their lives with me! I am looking forward to reflecting. . . with all of you.

Love and hugs!!

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Positive vibes of life for this Thanksgiving holiday.


I am not sure about anyone else, but the holidays used to be a horrid downer for me, specifically Thanksgiving. The year I was diagnosed (2002) with HIV, I was pretty much estranged (disowned) from my family and I have not spent one holiday with them since. That’s nine years of missing my Grandma’s stuffing recipe, homemade pumpkin pies, a massive turkey special ordered from the old-time butcher down the street and time spent with my entire family.

Quite honestly, it’s depressing; I could say I am okay inside, but I am not. It hurts.  I know I am not alone just by talking to a friend this morning who I know is going to spend this holiday alone.  I am saddened by this. No one should be alone on this holiday. It took me a long time to tell people that I would be alone on this holiday. It was painful to see others with their families because inside I am missing the ‘family-bond’ love I know I will never experience again.

It took years to heal this pain. It wasn’t until very recent that I began to embrace all the new love that was coming into my life; realizing that the love being shown to me was not out of pity (as my HIV mental anguish would have me thinking), it was (and still is) pure love; acceptance that my friends really do love me . . . for me.

Today, I am very grateful that I have a new-found family of amazing friends who have graciously extended their warm hearts and invited me to into their homes to be part of Thanksgiving dinner. Ok seriously, there were an overwhelming number of invites by friends . . . and the gratitude I feel for such love cannot be expressed with simple words. . . but these simple words I am about to say, I say with the most sincere love that my heart can express. . . THANK YOU FRIENDS FOR YOUR UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

If you know of someone who might be alone or not sure if he/ she will be alone tomorrow, please reach out and give a little of yourself . . . everyone deserves to be loved. It took me a long time to realize I was worth my life living with HIV.

Today I am thankful for each breath I take when I wake in the morning. I am thankful that I have discovered the strength within my soul to live a life free of HIV mental anguish; I am thankful for the medications I take every day - helping me to enjoy a long, prosperous life while giving me a second chance to fulfill my dreams; I am thankful for all of my friends who listen to me (especially when I am soooo self absorbed! Ha!); I am thankful for those friends that are there no matter what; I am thankful for the courage to share my story; I am thankful for the talents of magic and escape which I am continuing to pursue; I am thankful for everything and anything simple in my life today; I am thankful for the struggles which make me stronger; I am thankful for the opportunity to fight ignorance and heal the world’s perception of those living with HIV / AIDS.

Thank you followers and friends for standing by me all this time. We have a lot of life to live and I looking forward to living it with all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving - Love, hugs and life!

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dear Oops Ouch. . .


I think it's pretty cool that following my most recent post, which triggered some pretty crappy emotions inside me (and by the way thank you for all the incredible support and unconditional love many of you shown by leaving comments here and on my facebook and other group pages), some followers have taken the time to send me emails asking questions, wanting to know more about my past and how I have pulled through some of the tougher times. Maybe my little journey of life and hope through this blog is making a difference.

I received an email . . . and from the looks of the email address, this follower might be from Denmark. Rather than just reply mono-eee-mono, I thought it would be cool to share the email with all of you and answer this person's questions out-right in this post.

After typing out a long-winded text-filled reply, I decided to print out my response and cam it hoping to add a bit more intimacy to my little journey of hope. I am proud to be the person I am today, and have no problem looking the world in the eye - and saying so. . .

Ok here is the email that was sent to me. . .
****************
From: Oops Ouch
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 3:56 AM
To: daniel@livingpozitively.com
Subject: Hi Daniel, this about your blog

Hi Daniel,

I came across your blog while surfing the internet. I have some questions, which intrigue me, if you are able to share some of your stories with me (I even sent you an email as anonymouse comment today)...

I DO understand that substance dependancy is so strong, that when you use crystal meth it completely takes over your mind.

Tell me:

    1)      do you still feel like going back to using crystal meth? What's the feeling like, to be away from the drug? Is the craving bad?

    2)      Have you sold your body for sex to procure money for the substance dependancy? Tell me everything. I am so interested in knowing more... What do you mean night of horror and destruction that you had that night using crystal meth? What followed that?

    3)      Have you had sex with someone for money and in the process, transmitted HIV? In which case, I still dont understand why they'd even pay for sex in the first case or atleast not test with you together at a clinic in the first place!

I am actively following your blog! :)

Warm greetings from a care giver for someone HIV poz
“L”
**********


And my reply. . .



The PositiveLite.com interview by Bob Leahy can be found by clicking here.



I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How many times do I need to say sorry?

Apparently there are people who still believe I am not worth living a life of dignity because they were hurt in my path of self destruction when I learned that my HIV diagnosis had become the unspoken discrimination abruptly ending a dream I worked so hard to build and live.

Today, I received an email from an anonymous email account.  The email is one sentence long, "I hope your HIV kills you for all the bad you have done, I could careless if your life has changed for the better."

My stomach dropped to the floor.

Are there people out there who really do not want to see me make a difference as I boldly open up my entire life (all the good and all the bad) as I share my story about how I have overcome many dark adversities and found the hope and strength to move beyond the time when I allowed my HIV to be the center of destroying everything around me; particularly destruction that was powered by uncontrollable substance abuse?

I admit, I did some pretty crappy things and would need more than all my fingers and toes to count the number of people that were really hurt by my actions because I gave up on life. I won't go into the war stories; nor do I choose to reflect on them as these memories are painful enough. I have taken the last many years of my life to rebuild my inner-hope and strength; and with that have done some amazing things while working with global organizations, government entities and much more. I have learned to forgive myself and I do just that each day by making the choice to live a life that is filled with a new-found love for who I am as a person today.

To this person who emailed me and who I guess I have hurt along my journey, "I am deeply sorry." While you may never forgive me and even go out of your way to try and beat me down, I won't let your words to allow me to take steps backwards. I am doing great things today. . .

I will make (am making) a difference in the world today.  I will reclaim my place in this world with dignity and will try my best to fight the stigma associated with living with HIV / AIDS by continuing to reclaim my dream of becoming one of the world's greatest escape artists since the Houdini era and by continuing to speak out boldly to inspire and give hope to others.

I am proud of who I am today. That is what matters most. Am I alone? Can anyone else relate? I need some love and support on this.

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

QUILT: A musical celebration and reflection on 30 years

As we near the 30th year Anniversary since the AIDS Crisis here in America (and the 25th Anniversary of The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt), I stumbled across an event that is going to take place right here in NYC on November 28, 2011 (days just before World AIDS Day), and I wanted to make sure everyone knew about this once in a life time opportunity; a chance for you to be part of something that will reflect on and commemorate these historic milestones in the fight against AIDS while benefiting the efforts of six amazing non-profits.

QUILT is a musical celebration - a Star-studded Stage Performance including “The Book of Mormon,” “Rent” and “Rock of Ages” cast favorites, and while I could go on and on about this event, I would sincerely appreciate if you would take the time to go to the event website and see for yourself just how impressive and how important this event is going to be. (Please take a moment to play the video below).



QUILT from Blazetrak on Vimeo.


So here is my plea. . . I am asking you, my followers . . . my friends; to please consider attending (you can purchase tickets directly online). Also please take a moment and help get the word out about this event. Share this blog post on your Facebook, Tweet about it, where ever and however you can get the word out I would be forever grateful.


I am in no way associated with this event directly. I am simply taking this moment to let YOU know that this event will commemorate a historic timeline that has paved the way for people like me who are now able to stand taller with a little more dignity, and live longer, healthier lives.  It is a time for reflection and the more people that attend, the greater the impact we will all have in this fight against HIV / AIDS.


I am Daniel and I am living pozitively.  Thank you for following my blog.




Thursday, November 3, 2011

A strong week of living: where did the time go?


I feel like I barely stopped once to truly reflect on any individual moment that I experienced.  I looked at the date on my phone this morning and thought to myself, “Oh crap it’s Thursday . . . a week since my last post!!” Where did the time go? I guess when life gets so busy (at least for me) one day seems to melt into the next and before you know it. . . WAM . . . all this time has passed by and not once did I stop to really reflect on any one individual moment right when it’s happening.

Let me get you up to speed on what’s been going on.

Today, I am able to breathe much, much easier.  In a previous post, I had addressed the horror of working with New York’s Human Resources Administration staff, and their HASA Program and how I was near homelessness as a result of their misinforming me of specific housing payment program requirements, until after-the-fact.  But get this, there is more to the story than I had thought; it wasn’t only my rental payments that were denied; it just so happens one of the program workers who denied these payments had also closed my entire HASA case including medical coverage for no reason.  WTF??!!

I was scared shitless when this all took place the other week. I mean, how was I supposed to get my landlord to work with HASA?  I was afraid of her learning about my HIV status, I did not want her to know that I had fallen ill and now had no income and had exhausted all of my emergency funds. Well, I had no choice; either I break the lease, get evicted and homeless, or I buck it up, take my chances and tell her the details as to why payments were denied, hoping she would understand and work with me and the HASA agency. Thankfully she was very understanding and amended the lease to meet HASA requirements. The rental payment paperwork was processed (once again) earlier this week – shweeeew!

All of this stress could have simply been avoided if the HRA workers, who were assigned to my HASA case-file actually gave a crap about their job. Unfortunately, these workers were rude and careless; adding much unneeded worry and stress to my already compromised immune system. So, the second time around, I demanded to speak with a supervisor to get answers and to get mistakes fixed.  I let the supervisor know that I was NOT getting the level of dignified support that any human being should be given under my circumstances. My case-file was reinstated and the blatant, careless mistakes (which should never have been made in the first place) were fixed immediately. These agencies are here to help people like us during times of hardship. I should not have to feel like I am “the scum of the earth” or any less than the next just because I live with HIV / AIDS. It sucks that I got really sick, it sucks even more I have to put my hand out and grovel for help. It is really embarrassing. I am proud of myself for not giving up.



Now that is off my chest, let me share with you a lot of good things that have happened this past week.  I did my first LIVE interview this past Sunday (October 30) with POZ I AM Talk Radio. Hosts, Robert Breining and Jeromy Dunn truly made the experience a very safe, fun and liberating one. These guys are truly inspiring and I applaud them for all of their efforts! I am thankful that the POZ I AM social network is there to support people like myself.  I highly recommend that if you (or anyone you know) is living with HIV / AIDS, you should definitely join their social network for support as well as tune in every Sunday night at 9 PM EST for their live talk show, featuring a new speaker each week. If you were unable to listen to my interview live, don’t fret, you can listen to the interview anytime online. (Robert & Jeromy – THANKS!!!)  

More almost (very close) feel good news I got this week is when I went back to my Doctor’s to check up on blood work to see if my viral load finally went undetectable. . . and the results. . . NOT YET! (but close). Still no need to change my meds and blood work will be done in another month to continue to track the progress of the meds. All I can do is hope for the best . . . but I still worry, all the time, that my viral load simply won’t reach undetectable. Why are they working so slowly on me??!! It is frustrating; I am powerless. I have to put all of my faith into the science of these HIV meds and hope they continue to work their magic.

Seven days a week strong is the steady promise I made to myself as I continue working towards achieving that “ripped body” I have always wanted. Let me tell you that with everything else that was going on this past week, my workouts have not been as focused and I am not sure if it’s from low energy or what. I have slacked on my diet and have totally cheated on the amount of cardio I should be committed to.  I have to figure out a way to balance the turns in life so they do not distract me from giving 100% to all the goals I have set for myself and passionately committed to achieving; though, sometimes easier said than done.   I need help with this fitness goal though . . . can anyone suggest a cardio routine that is proof-positive to lean out and get that ripped look?  I have tried several and I am not seeing results. . . I would appreciate any comments and suggestions.

So I forge ahead, after another week that was filled with moments of struggle, moments of success and moments of simply being content. . . no matter how I look at them, they all add up, as moments of gratitude. I do my best to not take these moments for granted (even the struggles – because they make me stronger). I just need to work on slowing down, staying in the ‘now’ -  and truly appreciating and embracing each moment as they take place right then and there; staying in touch with every breathe of my wonderful life.

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively.  Thank you for following my blog. Continue to be part of my journey on a daily basis and become my friend on facebook it's a lot of fun!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Surviving near homelessness and more: Listen in LIVE!!

Happy almost Halloween!! Rather than blog a big post this week, I would like to invite you to join me LIVE this coming Sunday (Oct. 30th) at 9 PM (EST), as I am honored to be a guest on the POZ I AM Talk Radio Show with hosts Robert Breining and Jeromy Dunn.

I will be sharing the details of my story and how HIV / AIDS has affected who I am today as well as provide updates on my previous blog posts including how I turned my very scary near homelessness situation around for the good. My hope is that many of you who continue to show your support for the many projects I am currently working on, and anyone else who may stumble across my blog, will be able to connect with me on a more intimate level. It would mean the world to me if you would join me this Sunday.

To give you a little history, Sports fan and self-proclaimed "cyber-activist" Robert Breining used to be in the closet about his HIV status. Now he hosts his own online radio show and runs a social-network for HIV-positive folks. Robert was honored as one of the top 25 LGBT leaders in the fight against AIDS by HIV Plus Magazine & APLA.  


I am inspired by Robert and honored to be a guest on his show this coming weekend!!  Again, the show is this Sunday (note: this is the eve that Houdini passed away - ironic timing this all came possible). To listen in at 9 PM (EST) this Sunday, simply CLICK HERE.


I am Daniel (successor to Houdini), and I am living pozitively! Thank you for following my blog.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My journey to homelessness starts today. . .

"Hi Daniel, I just received a letter from the city stating that the program for rental payments is discontinued." This text message from my landlord came in yesterday at 12:53 p.m.

When I was rushed to the hospital on June 7, 2010, no one was sure if I would be coming out. It was a pretty scary moment for many. Thank god I am alive today. Now, at the time, I was employed and living a financially comfortable life; and just like you hear on the news or from financial advisers, I had put away 3 months of living expenses in the event of an emergency.  When I was discharged from the hospital I did not return to a consulting project which was a hefty source of personal income. Additionally, I was nearing depletion of my emergency funds.

I took all the pride I had, swallowed it, and went looking for help; and for those of you who know me that is NOT an easy thing for me to do.  However, I admit it is the best thing I did.  There are two organizations here in New York City, Community Action and GMHC which helped me to apply for a NYS Human Resources Administration service called HASA; an NYS Agency Department that works to help people living with HIV / AIDS.

I was approved for services based on my medical condition(s) and submitted all these documents to HASA so that I could temporarily get medical assistance and help with paying some bills (such as rent) so that I would not have these financial burdens sitting on my shoulders while I am healing.  I had my landlord fax over copies of needed documents, I supplied copies of my lease, bills, etc. etc. etc. and a ton of other documents so that the rental-assistance program could be put into place.

If anyone has ever gone through this process here in NYS (or anywhere else) - let me tell you the experience itself is harsh. These HASA reps, who sit behind desks and push a couple buttons, basically have total control of your temporary survival and they let you know it by talking down to you with condescending tones of speech and genuinely rude body gestures. It's shitty enough that I have to even ask for help, but to be made to feel like I am a piece of crap for asking. . . it's really embarrassing. I rate NYS HASA service reps with a big fat 'F' for lack of compassion.

I just finished the entrance way to my place! Ugh!
Anyways, I was pretty much told, after all the documentation was submitted, that I just had to wait for my landlord to receive her checks. This is where the text message I got yesterday comes in.

How the hell does my landlord get notified that there is a problem with the rental assistance before I do?  I had NO idea it was even denied! My stomach dropped to the ground. Apparently because the lease does not stipulate that the heat and hot water are included with the rental price, HASA will not assist me. However, they encourage me to break a 2 year lease, move out and find a place that includes heat and hot water.

So today I am on the chase to find out if I might become homeless soon. Thank god I have the advocacy organizations to assist me. . . this is not something I would want to be going through alone. Sitting in a place where I am basically squatting right now is bad stress which my HIV should not have to take on. Wish me luck. . . my fingers are crossed that becoming homeless is not the end of this journey.

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumped, "ALIVE" and INSANE in the METH-BRAIN. . .

Taking some time after mourning and celebrating the one year anniversary of my younger brother's passing was much needed! I want to take this time to thank all of my followers and friends for your unconditional love and support!

I am soooo pumped right now, literally! I just got back from the gym, sitting here all hot and sweaty, with this insatiable energy for life. . . so I have to get it out and share.

After talking with some friends, I have decided that I am going to re-focus how I blog and schedule time dedicated to the various projects I am currently working on - so that I can remain focused and organized.

I will be blogging once a week - a diary of everything that I have accomplished and worked on, such as my magic, my speaking program Blunt, HIV advocay efforts, a book I have begun to write and much more - such as what I am doing to stay healthy, dating, sex-life, etc.

I figure posting once a week (and at other times if something of specific interest comes along) is more than enough to keep myself in tune and maintaining my commitment to keeping this public, personal diary going. I don't want to overly bore or lose you (my friends and followers), so if you think I should blog more than once a week or anyone has some additional insight on this, please share your comments below. . .  (Does this sound like a good strategy?)

So here goes - my personal diary for this week!

Getting my sexy on. . . (diet and health). . .
I have started to work out 7 days a week. Mon-Fri I am doing light cardio mixed with high reps of lifting focusing on specific muscle groups each day.  Saturdays and Sundays I am only doing cardio and abs. I have some pudge I am trying to lose and hoping this will get rid of it and help to get my abs to really pop out.  My workout goal is a starting effort to prepare to build the strength I need for escape attempts. I am going to begin training for some brand new death-defying feats, never seen before, which require extreme ab and breath retention power.

In addition to the professional focused goal, I have always dreamed of sculpting a magazine picture-perfect body, so I am pretty excited to see if I can make that happen too.  If anyone, who stumbles across this blog (and actually reads down to this point) has some diet and exercise pointers, please share them, I could use them.

INSANE in the METH-BRAIN: My personal tell-all diary
Yep! The rumors are true, I have already begun to work with an online publishing company and have started writing a book that will be a wide-eye opener, complete tell-all of my life to date. I will begin to share various writing samples here for everyone to chime in on. . . and get some feedback!  I am really excited about this project.


"ALIVE" - the Magic. . .                   
Following the release of an interview I did with PositiveLite (missed the article? Click Here), I have begun to reach out to capital venture folks to discuss bringing my production "ALIVE" back to life.  I suspect this will take some time, so while I continue to update you weekly on what's happening with these developments, I am also focusing on booking gigs with my current production Purity, which debuted off-Broadway back in 2009.

Also, I have begun to work on a new creative overhaul of my website, which should be completed in the next week or so (hopefully sooner!). I want to bring back some color to the arts, so stay tuned for developments.  If anyone knows of a photographer in NYC who would be willing to help me out with some new promo shots for the new site design, please leave a comment or email me through my site.

HIV / AIDS -Forward moving. . . beating down the stigma
My HIV advocacy efforts are moving full steam ahead! My website is now being followed globally and my blog is hitting almost a couple thousand a week; this is awesome stuff! My Twitter followers are growing (slowly), so if you have an account, be sure to follow me.  You can also join me at Facebook by adding me as a friend where you can chime in and experience even more about what is happening with me daily.

My BLUNT Talk Program is getting some interest. Anyone looking to bring BLUNT to your HIV awareness event (conference, convention fund-raiser, etc.), please contact me through my site.  Some organizations that are contacting me are inquiring about the Blunt program combined with a special showing of my production Purity as entertainment - so anyone looking for an inspiring speaker and mind-blowing entertainment. . . do check me out.

I have an upcoming interview with POZIAM Talk Radio Sunday, October 30, 2011 @ 9 pm. Pretty cool timing, considering this is the eve when Houdini passed.  I will have more information on this, and hope some of you will find the time to join me "Live" and hear my story and ask questions.

Well, that's what's up this week!  I will create these weekly posts each Friday! I hope that you will continue to share my story with your friends!

I am Daniel, and I AM LIVING pozitively.  Thank you for following my blog.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Remembering Andrew P. Bauer: the Love, the Pain, the Spirit






Today, I ventured to Father Flanagan Park (NYC) where I, along with friends, planted a tree in memory of my younger brother, Andy, who passed away exactly one year ago.

I was sitting on the Staten Island Ferry, reflecting on the pain, the love - ya know all those memories some which I hold onto and some which I wish I could just let go of.

Andy's Tree - Father Flanagan Park, NYC
The day was somber, quiet and very emotional. I got to meet up with some of Andy's friends and his life-long care taker to exchange memories and "hug" his spirit-tree.

There is much pain I hold inside, and I thought this would be a good time to let some of it out. . . it is time I be blunt about what is going through my head. I wanted today to be a special day of remembrance, but it is was difficult because my head was so clouded by the very immediate events which led up to his final breathe. . .

I remember getting a call from my half-sister, telling me that my younger brother, Andy, had been rushed to the hospital, as he could no longer walk and could barely breath on this own. 

On October 7, 2010, I was able to reach my little brother on the phone (after learning of this news) and he told me they (the doctors) were about to intubate him. He asked me to please come to the hospital right away and tell the doctors not to and that if I didn't get there in time, to remove the tubes. . . and let him go in peace. 

Me (in the red) and Andy
Andy and I were born into a very privileged family and lifestyle. We had 7 brothers and 1 sister (half-blood). Andy took a wrong turn somewhere in his life and started to hang out with a crowd because he thought it would be "cool".  He landed a life of addiction to heroine. It was sad to see him fall so hard so many times.

I assume, while I am not certain, that Andy became infected with HIV through IV drug use.  I recall clearly the day he came home and our family learned of his diagnosis. The reaction was hateful. One of our older brothers punched him in the face and told him never to return home again.

Andy had lost contact with the family for some time - he reached out many, many times for help, but he could not win the addiction fight and he didn't want to deal with the other fight inside him . . . he could not live with the fact he was HIV+.

My mother and the rest of my family were fully aware Andy was in the hospital, and this time he would not be coming out. NO ONE in my family wanted anything to do with his passing. One of my older brother's had told me on the phone that "the family buried Andy a long time ago." (My jaw dropped).

The hospital required, that if I am to have the tubes pulled out of Andy, I needed the doctors in charge to speak with his biological mother (our mother) to pass on the primary medical decision making to me. On October, 9, 2010, the doctors reached my mother, and in less than one minute made it clear to the doctors she wanted nothing to do with Andy.

Just before I ordered the tubes, as per Andy's wishes, to be pulled out of him, I called my mother and said, "do you want to say anything to Andy before I pull the tubes out? I will put my phone up to his ear. . ." She said, "No."   It was done. I was ready to help Andy go in peace, however I was far from being at peace. The tubes were removed and in an an hour, at 2:25 pm on October 9, 2010, Andy took his last breath. No one should ever have to witness this kind of pain. It has scarred me for life.

I realize that when I die. . . when it is time for my personal journey to come to an end . . . I too, will be family-less. While there may be a family plot. . . actually I don't know if there even is one. . . what I do know is that I nor Andrew are "good" enough to be buried along with the family because of HIV. 

It fucking sucks and there are no words to describe the deep, dark pain I feel inside; so let me focus on what is helping to heal the pain. . .

On October 9th and days just prior, I am grateful to ALL of my friends who were there to console me and who came to see Andy at the hospital. I am truly grateful to my friend Samantha for taking time out of her truly dedicated family life to make sure I was able to be at the hospital to see this through.  I also am grateful for my friend Lance. . . for making a quick connection to make sure my brother's body was properly taken care of for the after-life.  And lastly, I am grateful for Joel. . . he was Andy's life-long care-taker here in NYC, and without Joel I am not sure how Andy would have lived as long as he did! I can only imagine the pain you are feeling, you were the closest thing to an angel he ever had in his life.

I am proud to say I have a new family today. . . built of friendships more solid than "born-blood" could ever bond or fuse together. Anyone who has been disowned by their family, much like my brother Andy and me, I wish there were words I could share to make you smile or feel better. It's tough and the reality is only time will heal this pain.  So as time passes I remember that my life today is not only an adventure for me but it is also an adventure I will continue to live for my brother. HIV will not beat me down.  Today I find comfort in my friends who I am proud to call my new family! You know who you are. . . through the good and the bad times. . . we stick it out! 

Thank you for being there.

I am Daniel, and I am living pozitively.  Thank you for following my blog.


Friday, October 7, 2011

CALL TO ACTION: PLEASE READ & SIGN THIS PETITION TO END AIDS!

TreatAidsEndAids.org
It's time to take action! We all have a chance to END AIDS here in America and abroad - and yet President Obama has done nothing about it! I have just signed a petition to help END AIDS and I am asking all of my friends, followers and anyone else who stumbles across my blog to please do the same.

Please take a quick minute to visit Treat Aids End Aids website (click here) and sign the petition - it will help people like me who are living with HIV / AIDS.

Make a difference please! Once you have signed, please leave a comment that you did, so others can be inspired to do the same! Thank you for playing your part in the solution to END AIDS.

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

'GAY' BLOOD is NOT OKAY with FDA!


When did Gay Men become the vampires of America? Apparently 'gay men' are so venomous that even their blood is banned from blood drives regulated by the FDA and conducted by the American Red Cross.

A couple days ago, on my facebook page, a friend alerted me to a post created by a student at The College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY), who identifies himself as gay and was excited about being a blood donor at a recently conducted blood drive on his college campus. However, he was denied the opportunity to do some good, to an already blood shortage problem in our society, because he is gay.

Taken from CDC.GOV

According the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the FDA, there are many ways HIV can be transmitted; and that it is not just 'gay men' who are at risk. So why would a healthy gay man, such as a college student be turned away at the door to donate blood as opposed to a heterosexual female, male, etc.?  Is the CDC / FDA sending the message that if a person identifies as a gay man, society should auto-assume he likely has HIV / AIDS, therefore he can't give blood?

Thank you CDC / FDA for keeping your heads up your asses, continuing to maintain the 'idea' that HIV / AIDS is still the Gay Cancer of our society.


NOW LET'S DO SOME FACT VS. MYTH CHECKING. . . . SO THE FDA IS CLEAR ABOUT WHAT IT HAS PUBLISHED ONLINE VS. THE MESSAGE IT IS SENDING.

ACCORDING TO THE CDC,  HIV / AIDS AFFECTS EVERYONE.

The above clearly shows and proves that there are RISKS IN EVERY TYPE OF HUMAN LIFE. So again, I ask, "Why is the FDA solely targeting the gay community?"

2010 USA HIV / AIDS Progress Report
Moving along. . . as if the above is not enough to convince the FDA to change it's outdated, bogus stigma-based policy, I digged a little deeper to find the 2010 HIV/AIDS United States Progress Report submitted to the UN AIDS commission / advisory board. 


Apparently there is very little data available on any statistics in the US! 



Testing Steps according to FDA / American Red Cross
Moving forward again, with more facts . . . according to the FDA and American Red Cross, each pint(s) of blood donated are thoroughly tested for HIV / AIDS, as well as a number of other blood related complications. According the FDA and American Red Cross, 100%  of the blood donated at blood drives are tested with more than a dozen tests to ensure the blood is safe.

The FDA has made it clear. . . their message is divine in hate! Blood is needed but the "gays are no good!

I feel sad for this student who was turned away! I am not sure what to tell you, or how to even approach this fight - but this is why I do this blog. . .  

Here is my message to the FDA, CDC, American Red Cross, The White House and anyone else who is part of this blood regulation policy decision making. 

"YOU are tossing away good blood by placing a major stigma on gay men! What is this solving?  You are adding to already escalating 'gay' bullying issues as well as making it your mission to ensure that the HIV / AIDS blame game stays focused on the gays. Your own facts above state HIV / AIDS is a non discriminatory disease, so why be a hypocrite and discriminate against gay men? Let the college student give blood. . . he wants to save a life! He is just as human as the next!"

Does anyone have any suggestions? No one should be turned away if they are healthy! NO ONE!

I am Daniel, and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog.