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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

09.27.12 - National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

As a very out and proud gay man and 10 year warrior living with HIV/AIDS, I stand tall in an effort to bring a greater awareness to this year's National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on September 27, 2012.

This morning I was searching the internet to see how this year's awareness day is shaping up; and to find elements of hope that would not only inspire me but also lend a voice to a call to action. In my search, I came across the following powerful statement by Frank J. Oldham Jr., President and CEO of the National Association of People with AIDS. I believe he sums up what I is a very necessary call to action as a gay man - a call to action I feel I must embrace and put into motion. In his words, I share this with you:

"We have a responsibility. To the quarter-million brothers and lovers we have buried. To the allies who have supported our fight for treatment access and civil rights. To ourselves.

We have a responsibility – to know our own status. Every gay man who is active with multiple partners (or thinks his partner may be) needs to get tested every three months.

We have a responsibility – to know how to protect ourselves and others. We’re excited about the potential of treatment-as-prevention and PrEP, but we all still need to keep our condoms handy.

We have a responsibility – to be as open as we can be about being HIV-positive. Sometimes disclosure isn’t safe, and safety comes first – but our brothers need to know they know people just like them who are living with the virus. And any new partner needs to know our status before the clothes come off.

We have a responsibility – to demand access to healthcare for ourselves and for all Americans. It’s not just a human right, it’s common sense. It costs the public sector more to ignore epidemic than to deal with it, and we need our elected officials to know we know that.

We have a responsibility – to demand to be treated as “normal.” We are normal. We should insist on marriage because it’s our right, and because it forces our neighbors to reconsider the homophobia that gave the HIV epidemic its opportunity to explode in the gay community and move on from there.

We have a responsibility – to love. Last year on National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we gave a Positive Leadership Award, NAPWA's highest honor, to Alvin Collins and John Sullivan. Alvin had been one of the unlucky few who, despite the best modern treatment for HIV, don't do well. John stuck to Alvin through thick and thin – and Alvin stuck to John. Alvin died this Spring. We have a responsibility to honor that love.

We have a responsibility. We changed the world in the eighties, insisting on treatment and research when Washington didn’t want to hear us. Today we have the medical and behavioral prevention tools we need to make new HIV infections a thing of the past. We insisted then. We can do it again."

So on this day - I will embrace these words and calls to action above! I hope you too will join and follow me!

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


Friday, September 14, 2012

AFRAID to get back into HIV care: WORST MISTAKE I ever made!

Forget the dizziniess, puking, diarrhea and other wacko-side-effects that come with starting the once-a-day antiretroviral (ARV) pill Atripla (um - this is my experience, I have friends who are fine with this ARV);  it was when the killer whales came out at night swarming the wooden raft I was trapped on in the middle of the black sea; [me] deathly afraid as they smashed the corners of the raft trying to get me to roll into their death-jaws; AND THEN WAKING UP BREATHING DEEPLY DRENCHED IN SWEAT; that made me think twice about popping this pink sucker daily ever again! These effects. . . these wicked evil dreams went on for weeks. . . I couldn't take it! I simply just couldn't take it anymore! So I stopped.

Fact is when people asked me if I was taking my meds (after I stopped) - I lied. I told them I was. It was none of their business and I certainly didn't want to hear the damn lectures about the importance of taking HIV meds. ["Blah, Blah Blah in my head!"] I had big muscles, my diet was good and after my first blood checks, I was undetectable. So there was no need (or so I thought) to have to go through the hell of getting past the side-effects of the medication anymore. I "took control" of my own health (meaning stupid-in-my-head-kicked-in) and I stopped taking the pill. As long as I could see big muscles on the outside, I figured my insides were okay. Besides, I figured if this one medication had all these side effects I could not handle, all the rest must be the same; so there was no reason to even ask my doctor for another dose [prescription] of punishing.  So in plain-jane-terms. . . I said to myself,  "Fuck-it! I am done!"

In a previous post I talked about my baby brother Andy and his struggles; I share the story about when he called me [back in 2010] and I had to rush to the hospital because he told me that the doctors were about to intubate him (he refused to take meds - back then AZT); he couldn't breathe on his own. He couldn't handle the med's side-effects. He asked [begged] me to not let the doctor's do this to him. He wanted to just die.He was done fighting for life. When I arrived I was too late - the tubes were inside him; However, even the doctor's told me it was too late - even with the tubes inside him; with PCP and so many other complications his body would not win. Regardless, I had to honor Andy's wish and have the tubes pulled out of him. What was really scary for me was the very moment my eyes laid upon him. I froze! OMG!!!!!! I thought I stared death [my own death] in the face! I was now truly afraid - sooooo afraid - to tell anyone that I had stopped my medication. I was ashamed.

Early June 2011, I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance as a result of various health complications; following tests and more I learned that my t-cells had crashed. UGH!!!!!! I figured there was no saving me now. I figured I would become just like Andy. DEAD so early in life. Man was I scared shitless!

REALITY!!! The doctors told me I still had a fighting chance, but only if I stayed in care; it was my choice to make. So I dropped the ego, let go of my fear and listened! I took an active role in following direction and I started on new meds. Truvada / Kaletra cocktail. Once I got past the puking and "shit" (literally) and saw my t-cells climbing and my viral load decreasing, man did I ever feel better about myself. 1-year later I have managed to get back on stage, live my dreams and fight for every fiber of life I have with which I have been blessed.

I can't tell you how grateful I am to be back in care and living a VERY HEALTHY lifestyle. I am living like I have never before. Every 3-4 months I go to get my blood checked just to make sure things are still good; I am beyond anal retentive about taking my meds in the morning and night! Actually I now freak out if I am an hour late! HA! That's how important I now realize it is to maintain regular care of living with HIV.

With all this said, I hope others - out there - who have dropped out of care; including those of you who have stopped taking meds - no matter the excuse- that you - ALL OF YOU  - will reconsider!

If my blog and personal experience is not enough, then this coming Tuesday, I invite you to join me as I sit on a panel for a Partners In+ Care webinar session to learn about the importance of staying in care. YOUR LIFE MATTERS! SO PLEASE JOIN ME IN RETURNING. . . COMING BACK TO MANAGING YOUR HEALTH CARE.

Here's the info:

Partners in+care Webinar Series
Reaching Out to Keep Our Friends in Care
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 4:00pm ET

Agenda: We all know people who know their HIV+ status, but are not in care. How do we work with our friends, family, lovers and others to make sure they get into and stay in care? Tyler TerMeer of the Ohio AIDS Coalition will talk about his experiences in working with loved ones on staying in care. In addition, we will have a panel conversation to flush out issues why our loved ones are not in care and how we can respond to make sure they lead happy and healthy lives. The panel includes Dr. Loida Bonney of Emory University College of Medicine and Daniel Bauer of Living Pozitively in addition to Tyler TerMeer!

Dial-in#: 866.394.2346
Participant Code: 394 154 6368 #


I hope this post inspires at least one person living with HIV/AIDS to consider the importance of getting back into care. I hope you will join in next Tuesday and chime in [or simply just listen]!

I am curious - has anyone else stopped care? Why? And what did it take for you to get back into managing your HIV care? I want to hear from you!

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

p.s. I encourage everyone to JustGetTested! Sex is fun! Infection is not!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FIGHTING STIGMA: HIV and the past.

I came a across these words this morning written by Kate Raidt "I don’t think there is a single person on planet earth who has not experienced trauma, heartbreak, verbal, emotional or physical abuse, failure, humiliation or grief. In fact, most of the most important and successful people in the world have experienced all-of-the-above in doses most of us could never imagine. I heard long ago: It’s not what happens to you, but how you handle it that defines your character. Repeat after me: I cannot change the past. I cannot change the past. I cannot change the past. I cannot change the past. I would never ask anyone to simply “Forget the past. Get over it. Suck it up”. We are human beings and unless you have a brain transplant it is impossible to forget the past. I feel in order to get through an event that has emotionally or physically crippled you, you must acknowledge it, embrace it, learn from it and use it as motivation to make your dreams come true. How in the world can someone use something tragic and motivation to be successful?"

As an entertainer and activist, I am trying to find the balance in life that both embraces my passions and dreams while fighting stigma. However these past couple of weeks have had their trials and tribulations which I am finding to be more upsetting than most times. So I thought I would write about it and ask for your advice to help me get through this.

See, this past July I performed a show for an organization; I was referred to them by a former friend. After entering into a verbal agreement and confirming some details via emails, the organization is now backing off their end of the bargain. I decided to possibly pursue small claims legal action and when I communicated this, the organization decided to take my past and use it against me to start a smear campaign.

Living the life of a public figure is NOT EASY. There are good days, bad days, good press and bad press! I thought airing my dirty laundry, would allow me to move past my past, while standing tall about the kind of life I want to live today and rebuild hope so that I can walk with dignity. As the words clearly stated above, we are not all angels in this world! I have done my fair share of crap! I even publicly talk about some of that so that others who may feel that a fresh start is not possible. . . would also discover hope and start living their lives with genuine purpose to make a difference in this world.

Well, yesterday, a few HIV Activists, trudged up an unfortunate article that was written about me, and they decided to launch a smear campaign against me. Stating "Now the real truth about Daniel Bauer is out." These are activists who I have done amazing things with this past year. Activists, some of whom unfortunately I no longer speak with. Partly my fault, partly their fault.

While I am not happy about things that have happened in my life well over 10 years ago since my diagnosis, or other bumps and bruises that took my place in my life, I have owned up to them; each and every day. I am just stunned that because I felt the need to protect an agreement that was made (and maybe this is Karma - because I have certainly broken my fair share of agreements in the past) - that this organization who backed out on their agreement and individuals associated with this organization felt it was okay to take this one article written about me, post it all over facebook and begin this negatively launched smear campaign against me.

To those of you who picked up the phone to begin this childish campaign and to those of you who posted the posts and so forth; "Go ahead and do what you need to do. . . while I am not proud of my past. . . I am proud to be who I am today. . . proud to inspire people to reach for the stars, proud to be open about living with HIV and proud of myself for not allowing anyone who tells me otherwise to keep me from living with dignity."

To those of you HIV Activists who felt it was okay to do this. . . I hope you think about what kind of lives you want to live. I aired my dirty laundry - and now you choose to use it against me when I am public about the dark days I have overcome?!? Simply not cool!

So readers I guess what I need is. . . is some advice . . . how would you get past this? How would you handle fellow HIV Activists who felt the desire to try and bring you down because of your past?

Thank you for reading. . . and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively.

P.S. Remember - Knowing your status is "SMART" - so Just Get Tested!!!