At the 2014 Saints and Sinners Lit Fest (from left): Amsterdam-based writer David Swatling, Andrew Holleran (author of Chronicle of a Plague, Revisited: AIDS and Its Aftermath and several other books), Canadian journalist Shawn Syms (author of Friend. Follow. Text.), and HIV Plus editor in chief Diane Anderson-Minshall (author of Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders).
Andrew Holleran, one of the earliest writers to tackle AIDS — in a groundbreaking column for the New York Native — was joined on a panel at the Saints and Sinners LGBT Literary Festival in New Orleans last week by HIV Plus's editor in chief Diane Anderson-Minshall and Canadian author Shawn Syms. While the discussion was meant to look at LGBT media and LGBT issues in the mainstream media, all three authors began discussing what it takes to get the mainstream media to talk about HIV.
"Celebrities," said Anderson-Minshall. For better or worse, she says that having actors like Matt Bomer — who stars in the upcoming The Normal Heart and is on the cover of HIV Plus next issue —talk about HIV is like adding cherry to cough syrup. It makes it easier for average Americans to pay attention to an issue they'd rather not deal with.
Holleran concurred and built on that idea. Listen to the video clip here: