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A List of Famous People with HIV

By Health, ThinkingNo Comments

There aren’t a lot of famous people who’ve been open about their HIV status. This is not surprising given the historic stigma associated with HIV. In the 1980s there was a real lack of information about HIV/AIDS, this led to myths and a lot of fear. There were also no treatments. This was a public information broadcast back in 1986, and it really shows how little we knew about HIV/AIDS and what a diagnosis meant (death):

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But there are some brave people who have been open about being HIV positive.


Freddie Mercry [Deceased], Singer. Image from & Copyright ©

1. Freddie Mercury
Perhaps the most famous person to be open about their HIV positive diagnosis was the legendary Freddie Mercury. He opened up about his HIV positive diagnosis the day before his death.

What is fascinating about Freddie Mercury is that he has been remembered for the way he lived, not the way he died. He is remembered for his work: writing songs, singing them and fabulous performances.

If I could have tea with anyone from any time, living or dead it would probably be Freddie Mercury. As a fellow creative soul (albetit not in the same field) I’d love to know where he got his inspiration. How he came up with his ideas. How he managed to find the magic melodies and be ahead of his time, yet timeless at the same time. Freddie Mercury gave very few interviews, so I guess I’ll never know the answers to these questions.


Gareth Thomas, Retired Professional Rugby Player. Image from & Copyright © Wikipedia.

2. Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas is a Retired Professional Rugby Player from Wales, UK.

Gareth Thomas disclosed his HIV status as being positive, yet also being undetectable and untransmittable earlier this year. His HIV status really shows how far treatment for HIV has come. Once a death sentence, it is now a treatable condition. Many people who are HIV positive can now have the same life span as those who are HIV negative.

Prior to this Gareth Thomas is the first major sportsman to come out as gay in Rugby, which he did so in 2009. Rugby is a very masculine sport, so he should be commended for being honest and open about his sexuality.


Andrew Bell, Singer. Image from and Copyright © The Info NG.

3. Andrew Bell
Andrew Bell is the lead singer in the band Erasure. In 2004 he disclosed his HIV positive status to the public.

Since Andrew Bell’s disclosure he has been involved with a number of charities raising funds for HIV research and projects. This includes work with National AIDS Trust (NAT).


Charlie Sheen, Actor. Image from and Copyright © GQ.

4. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen is an Actor with a checkered past. His past according to several sources includes violence, alcohol and substance misuse and being very sexually promiscuous. It is the latter of these behaviours that probably led to Charlie Sheen being diagnosed as HIV positive.

In 2015 Charlie Sheen disclosed his HIV status in an interview. In the same interview he reported that he had spent approximately $10 million to keep extortionists quiet about his HIV status.


Christopher Smith, Retired Politician. Image from and Copyright © The Info NG.

5. Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith is a Retired Politician in the UK. I didn’t know that he even existed before doing research for this blog post. He is one of the unsung heroes in the LGBT community.

Christopher Smith was the first gay male Politician to come out, coming out as gay in 1984. He has severed in several Governments and has undoubtedly influenced people’s views about people who are LGBT. He has probably supported legislation for LGBT rights and promoted a more inclusive and equal culture.

I am aware that there are no women on this list. I couldn’t find a single famous female who has been open about their HIV positive diagnosis. If you know one, please leave a comment below and let me know.

A HIV positive diagnosis used to be like a death sentence, but today it isn’t. Treatments for HIV positive have never been better and have led to people with HIV being found to be undetectable and untransmitable. Want to know more about HIV? Learn more here.

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World AIDS Day (2019) – This Year’s Theme: Communities That Make A Difference

By HealthNo Comments

Today is World AIDS Day. The theme this year is communities that make the difference. With this in mind, here is a short video explaining how communities make a difference to people living with HIV and/or AIDS:

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Ruth Cocker Burks: The altruistic woman who cared for gay men dying with AIDS in the 1980s in the USA

By Gigs & Shows, Health, Inspiration4 Comments


Ruth Cocker Burks, image by Brian Chilson (from Out Magazine’s Website)

The photo above is of Ruth Cocker Burks.

Ruth is the altruistic woman who cared for gay men dying with AIDS in the 1980s in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. It started when she was at University Hospital visiting a friend who had cancer. At the time she was 25 years old with a young family.

One day she saw a door to a patient’s room with a big red bag over it. Inside was a gay man dying of AIDS. Nobody came to visit him. He was asking for his mother. So Burks called his mother. His mother told Burks that being gay had brought shame on the family. His family didn’t want to know. Even the healthcare staff treated him as cursed. So Burks cared for him. She visited him in hospital and when he finally passed away she buried him.

Burks then went on to give this end-of-life care to hundreds of gay men and to bury at least three dozen herself. Luckily for Burks, her mother had bought 262 plots in a graveyard when she was younger due to a colossal family argument. This meant that Burks has plenty of space for the burials.

From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of those gay men, I just want to say: Thank you Ruth Cocker Burks. Nobody deserves to die alone, afraid and without care or love.

Burks believes that a higher power led her to her destiny of caring for these gay men dying with AIDS. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But what I do know is that Burks’ actions represents the very best aspects of humanity: care, compassion, kindness and love.

Burks is an inspirational woman and I wish we could all be more altruistic, meaning that we care for the well-being of others more.

The blog post above is a shortened paraphrase of Meet the Woman Who Cared for Hundreds of Abandoned Gay Men Dying of AIDS from Out Magazine’s online website.

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Book Review: Gaysia – Adventures in the Queer East by Benjamin Law

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Gay, ReviewsNo Comments
gaysia-benjamin-law-book-cover Journalist Benjamin Law is an Australian with Asian roots. In Gaysia, he takes us on a tour of Asia showing us all things gay across the continent.

Benjamin with his warm and engaging writers voice takes us to: Bali to meet the money boys and explore the cheap tourist destination; Thailand to see the world of trans Lady Boys in Miss Tiffany’s Beauty Pageant; China to interview gay men and lesbian women who often marry one another; Japan to explore the explosion of non-sexual Drag Queens on TV and the underground lesbian subculture; Malaysia to meet Christian and Muslim fundamentalists who claim they can cure homosexuality; Myanmar were HIV positive people are so poor that only one in five can get life saving treatment; India to interview people in the LGBT rights movement and to meet a man that claims he can cure homosexuality with yoga.

Benjamin’s description is perfect, covering the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and sensations of each place and experience. This makes the reader feel that they are sharing his adventure from start to finish. Benjamin documents his observations and interviews well; but for the majority of the book he holds back from experiencing first-hand what it is like to be gay in the countries that he visits. Whereas it wouldn’t have been practical or appropriate in some countries, it would have been great to see Benjamin dressed as a Drag Queen in an attempt to get on Japanese TV. Benjamin does make up for this, by attending his first Pride in India in the final chapter of the book. It would have been pleasing if he had included some glossy photos in the book of places he’d visited and possibly people he’d met.

Gaysia starts with relatively light-hearted subject matter but quickly moves on to more heavy subject matter. Emotive subjects such as: the lack of civil rights, the lack of access to HIV medications and gay cures all gave a negative impression of being gay in Asia. But this is a real and honest account of what being gay in Asia means, and was usually told to him by the gay people of Asia he interviewed.

Gaysia is travel writing, but not a holiday guidebook. Instead it is a captivating in depth look at Asian societies, cultures and subcultures of the gay sexual minority group. Gaysia is educational, enlightening and a must read for anyone whose interested in travelling to the Asian continent to experience gay Asia or anyone who loves Asian culture, food or places.

Gaysia is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,



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