The Positive Side

Summer 2013 

Editor's Letter

By David McLay


The current talk about HIV seems to focus a lot on the end of HIV. The media has reported on recent “cures.” Vaccine research has been re-invigorated. And the buzz about HIV treatment as a form of prevention continues to grow. Optimism is high and so it should be. Yet, it seems that sometimes this broader discussion misses the perspectives of people living with HIV.

For example, what is the impact of the growing interest in treatment as a form of prevention? The issue alters the way people approach HIV treatment decisions and how they think about sex. CATIE cannot provide all the answers, but we can help to ensure that the voices of people with HIV are part of the conversation. This issue’s feature “Sex and the Serodiscordant” looks at the latest research on treatment, viral load and the sexual transmission of HIV. We share the stories of people who are using this info to come up with creative ways to keep their sex lives satisfying and safer.

In this issue, we also hear from people who have lived through much of the epidemic. We profile the experiences of two men who have been living with HIV for decades: Yves Brunet and Mike Holboom. Their stories remind us that in 2013 HIV still requires medical care (more on that topic in Chatty CATIE), that many people still need to adjust to life on meds (Ask the Experts tackles the subject of nausea and vomiting) and that staying healthy is something that takes an active commitment (Bob Leahy recounts how he quit smoking and we feature some health apps).

Yves’ and Mike’s stories also remind us that living well means supporting each other. Shari Margolese takes us on a very personal tour of disclosing HIV status. In “Spirit Matters,” three people talk about how their diverse forms of spirituality have anchored them and helped them help others. And our From the Front Lines column reports on peer support programs. Indeed, we all get by with a little help from our friends.

We welcome all your comments—your stars or your cherry bombs. Get in touch at And enjoy summer!