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Queer, Ill, and Okay: Artists Write to Their Younger Selves on World AIDS Day

Vasilios Papapitsios 3

Vasilios Papapitsios, @yungmouse

Multidisciplinary artist not limited by medium. (If I can dream it I can find a way to create it.) Photo by Silly.

Dear Silly,

It may be hard to believe but you will come to LOVE AIDS. You really are beautiful and fearless. You only need to remember that you are a magical warrior and you will find strength in transparency even though it is scary sometimes. You are NOT a victim. Your pleasure is your power. It is in sharing defiance that hope resides. Embrace HIV, forgive the virus, forgive your body for the challenges and the lessons it has provided you with, forgive stigma and fear. Your soul fire is going to be invigorated once you realize you can transmute the negative energy around HIV into something light hearted, sexy, and cute. Be proud, be in awe of how much you’ve transformed since six CD4 cells and three months to live.

Your Human Illumination Virus will take you mind, body, and soul! Brace yourself for a cosmic orgasm. Soon you will be making art that welcomes and embraces the virus as a part of you and that is very powerful work. Love your ass. Be loud and graceful. Remember your inner child. Banish shame, banish stigma, banish ignorance. When you feel like you won’t ever know intimacy or love or sex please know that I am hugging you and use those emotions to fuel the immense creative power inside of you. You have loved and been loved a million times already, in this life and the next. You will get your scent back, don’t worry. Say it with me, “Hi, Virus: We are not alone, three letters don’t define us, and stigma will not blind us.” #poz4pleasure

Stay silly,



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