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Mark S. King
Mark S. King has written about living with HIV since testing positive when the test became publicly available in 1985. His blog,, chronicles his life as an HIV positive gay man in recovery from addiction. He is also the author of A Place Like This, his memoir of life in Los Angeles during the dawn of the AIDS epidemic.

Entries by Mark S. King

Was I a Teenage Sexual Predator?

(34) Comments | Posted May 31, 2014 | 11:28 PM

We were on a dirt road in the cotton fields, sitting in the back of his Plymouth. It had been my idea to stop and look at the sky, but it wasn't coming off like a sneaky move now, because the moon was full and bright and gorgeous. I'd been...

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VIDEO: HIV Negative Men on Sex, Fear and Poz Guys

(4) Comments | Posted April 24, 2014 | 2:26 PM

"Talk to me like you talk to your friends when no one is around."

That was my only request when I sat down with each of four HIV negative gay men to create a short film for My Fabulous Disease about their lives and attitudes (watch video...

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When People With HIV Became Suicide Bombers

(25) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 2:57 PM

Maybe we should blame the criminal prosecutions of people with HIV on the legend of Gaetan Dugas, also known by his slanderous nickname "Patient Zero." Dugas was a gay flight attendant from Canada who, according to Randy Shilts' 1987 book And the Band Played On, was among the...

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Lessons Learned From Kissing a Straight Boy

(10) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 5:19 PM

A version of this post originally appeared on in October in 2011.

Last night, I kissed a straight guy full on the lips. Then he tenderly put his arms around me and kissed me back. Tonight, I'm going to do it again.

It sounds like conquest....

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Will HIV Ever Be Safe Enough for You?

(2) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 6:07 PM

There is a classic episode of Oprah from 1987 that can still raise my blood pressure. That year, the tiny town of Williamson, West Virginia, became part of a national discussion about AIDS when Mike Sisco, who had returned to his home town to die of the disease,...

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Your Mother Liked It Bareback

(3) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 8:29 PM

Whenever a new study of gay men shows, yet again, that we are having bareback sex, the arbiters of sexual rectitude among us clutch their pearls and decry this behavior as shameful, shocking, and murderous. So you can just imagine runaway pearls showering the floor when HuffPost Gay...

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The Fury of the PrEP Debate (and Facts to Win It)

(21) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 9:31 AM

"We don't know the side effects of this drug. It's too expensive. Insurance won't cover it. It hasn't been studied enough. It will encourage slutty behavior. And why the hell don't people just use condoms?"
- Objections raised to the oral contraceptive progesterone ("The Pill"), approved by the...

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Stop Bludgeoning Young Gay Men With Our AIDS Tragedy

(27) Comments | Posted December 2, 2013 | 5:21 PM

Lesley was my closest friend to become sick in the 1980s, and he fought bravely until his death from AIDS. I don't particularly need World AIDS Day to remember him. He comes to mind nearly every day, and I often write about him, the first of many friends lost to...

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The Beautiful Sadness of Dallas Buyers Club

(1) Comments | Posted November 18, 2013 | 7:36 PM

Just because it's over
Doesn't mean it didn't happen
Doesn't mean it wasn't beautiful
Even with the pain.

--"Beautiful Sadness," sung by '80s chanteuse and gay favorite Jane Olivor

In the first minutes of Dallas Buyers Club, the astounding new film about the darkest...

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Why Do Gay Men Love Monsters?

(5) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 12:29 PM

Long before the Big Moment in the shamelessly delightful Clash of the Titans remake, somewhere between the Winnebago-sized scorpions and the fatal gaze of a slithering Medusa, it occurred to me that I've been squealing with delight at monsters longer than, well, I've squealed for anything else. And I still...

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Why Aren't You Out About Your HIV-Positive Status?

(4) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 6:37 PM

Through the last decades of the LGBT movement, we have learned that the most effective way to change perceptions is to come out. It forces people to face their prejudices, and it is almost always a positive experience, even in the face of potential discrimination.

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Two Minutes of Advice for Those Testing HIV-Positive (VIDEO)

(1) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 7:32 PM

This is a clever social media campaign: In a project called "You've Got This," Healthline, an online health community, has asked people who have been living with HIV to create videos for those who have recently tested positive. Think of it as "It Gets...

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The Amazing Advocates of the 2013 U.S. Conference on AIDS (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 2:38 PM

At the recent 2013 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) in New Orleans, the word "stigma" wafted through the event, in workshops and throughout the exhibit hall, like an annoying new pop song you can't stop humming.

The Stigma Project. The Mr. Friendly campaign....

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The Real Poz Guys of Atlanta Episode 3 (VIDEO)

(3) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 7:52 PM

Why Andy Cohen isn't badgering me with phone calls to bring this series to Bravo, I'll never know.

2013-09-14-PozGuysPic300pix.jpgSeveral years ago I invited four friends living with HIV over to my place for a night of devouring brownies and sharing secrets, all of...

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I Was a 9-Year-Old Drag Queen

(17) Comments | Posted August 9, 2013 | 6:38 PM

"We're born naked... and the rest is drag." --RuPaul

When I was 9 years old, I took my parents' album of the Broadway musical Damn Yankees and memorized every syllable of Gwen Verdon's show stopper, "Who's Got the Pain When They Do the Mambo?" Once I was satisfied with my...

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Suicide: A Love Story

(5) Comments | Posted July 30, 2013 | 9:15 PM

2013-07-29-DickEmilKilaRESIZED.jpg"Did I ever tell you about the night that Emil died?" my brother Richard asked me. It was 1992, and AIDS had taken Richard's lover a full three years earlier. The death ended a love affair that had lasted more than a decade.

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The Trouble With Praising HIV-Negative Gay Men

(31) Comments | Posted June 24, 2013 | 5:45 PM

National HIV Testing Day is Thursday, June 27, and there is no better time to praise the many HIV-negative gay men who are making smart decisions to remain that way. Hooray, HIV-negative gay men! Let's show some love for our negative brothers. Who's with me?

Oh, Lord. Now...

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The Gay Pride PSA That Will Never Air (VIDEO)

(16) Comments | Posted June 15, 2013 | 9:00 AM

With Gay Pride festivities in full-swing this month, allow me to share this Gay Pride public service announcement. Regrettably, it will never be broadcast on any television channel. It's actually pretty funny until it punches you in the gut.

The video is really a reminder that Gay Pride isn't simply...

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Gay Media and HIV: The Vanishing Virus

(3) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 3:44 PM

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and...

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I'm Gonna Wipe That AIDS Right Off My Face

(5) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 3:18 PM

It was all well and good to be front and center as an HIV-positive man during the first years of the AIDS crisis. It's easier being a role model when your face looks good on the poster. But then, slowly but surely, a common side effect of HIV medications, facial...

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