The dictionary defines wellness as “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.” But that’s kind of vague, isn’t it? We hear the term thrown around a lot these days but what does seeking wellness really look like in our own lives, especially for those living with HIV?
Some of it’s the obvious stuff about physical health — eating better, getting exercise, not smoking, taking your meds — you know the drill. But another huge part of “being well” has to do with what’s going on inside your head, with your mental, spiritual, and emotional health. That’s what our cover star Felice Marano discovered through exploring things like meditation, yoga, and world travel.
“If we want to start creating a new narrative and creating more opportunities to cure and to heal,” says Marano, “it’s time we speak about love as a way of starting to switch the concepts and the narrative that we have [around HIV]; to start sending more understanding and humanity and love.”
To read our complete interview with Marano and learn more about his “Born to Be Love” movement and HIV activism, flip to page 18. (And don’t miss his inspiring personal essay on page 32.)
In this special Wellness issue, we also catch up with legendary fitness expert, author, advocate, and long-term survivor Nelson Vergel (page 30) to get his tips on how to thrive and live your best, strongest, healthiest life regardless of your HIV status. Then check out an honest conversation between two other long-term survivors and HIV activists, Mark S. King and Tez Anderson, about the reality of activism fatigue and knowing when to call it quits (page 38).
We also give you the latest mpox (monkeypox) news from within and outside of the United States. While the outbreak’s emergency status officially ended in January, as far as the U.S. government is concerned anyway (page 34), the virus continues to thrive in Latin American countries due to stigma and a lack of vaccines and other resources. Read one man’s story of living through mpox in Mexico on page 36.
In another part of the world, legendary activist and drag queen Panti Bliss (a.k.a. Rory O’Neill) has made history again by being the first drag queen to appear on Ireland’s Dancing With the Stars. O’Neill previously made history after calling out the nation’s homophobia on television (and was sued for it) and ended up becoming a key figure in getting same-sex marriage legalized in Ireland in 2015 (page 46).
Also in this issue, we celebrate two talented Black women of different generations who are fierce allies for people living with HIV, legendary songstress Dionne Warwick (page 11) and Little Fires Everywhere actress Lexi Underwood (page 13). And in our brand new section, Sex & Dating (page 42), read about how two iconic drag queens teamed up with MISTR to help promote PrEP, and why straight people should have access to the HIV prevention method too.
So, whether you’re someone who’s just been diagnosed with HIV or a long-term survivor, or just someone looking for prevention information or maybe a little inspiration, read our complete Wellness issue below...
Editor in Chief, Plus magazine