The Positive Side

Summer 2011 

Brian Huskins (Fall/Winter 2004)

Age: 48
Living with HIV for 20 years
CD4 count: “I always hover around 400.”
Viral load: undetectable for 14 years “with only a few blips”

“I am a person who works for change. Without change, we are stagnant.”

How would you describe your health?
Good. My greatest challenge is managing my asthma.

Are you experiencing any specific issues around HIV or your treatment?
I have always been very compliant and experienced minimal issues with HIV treatment. It is important that I keep current, as I find that being informed helps me keep ahead of the “curve” when it comes to any changes required and allows me to have informed discussions with my doctor.

You appeared on the cover of the magazine in Fall/Winter 2004 and were interviewed with your partner, Neal Abdool, about being a serodiscordant couple. Now it’s six years later and you’re married! Has it gotten harder or easier to maintain serodiscordancy over the long term?
HIV is a subtext of our relationship and is something that has been there since we met; as such, the habits and precautions around transmission that we developed at the start have simply become routine for us. It really isn’t a question of harder or easier. It is a fact of life, and we give it very little thought in our day-to-day interactions. Other issues — such as communications, finances and household chores — are our challenge, as they would be for any couple.

Have you gone through any major life changes since appearing on the cover?
There have been a few, most important are the employment changes. I’ve gone from working at CATIE to being self-employed, and Neal has experienced a few changes in employment, ending with us forming a new business that he runs. We are both now self-employed. Those are major changes, as the financial issues in a relationship are sometimes the greatest area for discord.

In one word, describe this moment in AIDS.

In 10 years…
Hopefully I will have published at least one book and will be doing the talking circuit!

What song is the soundtrack of your life?
"Wild Flowers" by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.