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tomorrow (6/14/2006) in la: ahf social marketing public forum


tomorrow in la: ahf social marketing public forum

kearns to speak on panel, offer open poem & propose yearly prevention anthology, “the state of aids” to the june,14, 2006 ahf-hosted community forum / discussion about the social marketing campaign “hiv (not fabulous)” at plummer park from 6-7:30 pm (324)


had a boyfriend.

what catch of phrase
what diaper
what dance
what social marketing
would have saved
his bluer-than-sky eyes?

hiv hurts?
he knew already

aids will kill you?
aids always kills someone else

goodbye. i love you
how dieth the wise man? as the fool

i say
die responsibly


my name is richard kearns
i am a gay man
living with aids in
los angeles

do you deserve to know?

do i deserve to know?
are these just deservings?

what is it we know
when we know?

what does it mean to have aids?

aids. i said the word
you say
not me not i not here not now not ever no--
i will die of something else
before i die of aids
anything else
i said it too

it changes everything
& nothing &
makes our blue eyes
brown, don’t it?


does it kill?
do you kill?
have you killed?
have i?
do i know?
can i know?
once i know
will i hurt?
how will i
account it?
whom shall i

are we
each other?
am i
killing you?
will you
kill me?
shall we
kill the ones
we’re with?

how do
we love?
do we see?

position staqtement

ultimately, i’d say the ahf “hiv (not fabulous)” campaign was flawed and inadequate to our needs for hiv prevention, but was a start in the right direction. i applaud it. however, stopping the spread of aids is not like running an initiative campaign or selling chewing gum. ultimately, this is social medicine. if it were pills, we’d see if the negative side effects outweighed the benefits.

stigma is a horror. so is new infection. the same horror. not either/or. that’s a problem with ads that unintentionally stigmatize hivers. that’s a problem with ads that are not brutally and unflinchingly honest in warning the uninfected.

my conclusion from the discussions during and after the politics & poetry forum in january: the most effective prevention program is one that supports a one-on-one prevention effort. one that informs one-on-one prevention. one that encourages the infected and the uninfected to work together.

i recommend ahf commission, compile, select, edit, produce, advertise and distribute a yearly multimedia anthology, “the state of aids in los angeles & the world,” with contributions from regionally-, nationally- and internationally- known writers, thinkers, visual artists, journalists, scientists, musicians, physicians, clinicians, researchers, public health policy officials, community leaders, ngos and whoever else is willing to tell his or her story of life with hiv/aids. give the public an accessible knowledge base of our experiences.

it would be the new aids quilt, commemorating not our deaths, but our lives. stopping the spread of the disease by making our experiences with it part of the cultural landscape.

i am a practicer of cultural activism, so to me, the ahf social marketing campaign represents a significant opportunity to dramatically improve the character and effectiveness our current prevention enterprises by telling our stories. we need to change minds and move hearts. that won’t happen because of statistics or court orders or legislated morality or self-righteous outrage. our stories of our lives with hiv/aids are much more powerful tools for social change than mere political confrontation. take a look at my blogsite,

hope that’s clear and short enough. ok for off the top of my head. i suppose i’ll use it with the post of my poem for the forum tonight.

looking forward to this. catch you later.


the unconfirmed list of panel members deya forwarded on the internal document includes:

Moderator – Deya Smith-Starks
• Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President and Founder
• Karen Mall, Director, Director of Prevention and Testing
• Les Pappas, President of Better World Advertising
• Gil Mangaoang, Spokes model HIV (not) Fabulous Campaign
• Duane Cramer, Campaign Photographer
• Richard Kearns, Community HIV Advocate

i will post her confirming document when i receive it.

hope to see you there.


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