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Shawn Decker & Gwenn Barringer

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POZ I AM RADIO

POZ I AM RADIO

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Infected with HIV as a child through the contaminated blood products used to treat his hemophilia, Shawn learned early in life about discrimination. Within a month of testing positive for the virus, he was kicked out of the 6th grade. By all accounts, he wasn’t expected to live five years. His freshman year of high school, he met his favorite band, Depeche Mode, albeit through the The Make-A-Wish Foundation. After beating the odds and graduating from high school, Shawn opened up about his life with HIV after a decade of silence by creating one of the first “poz blogs”, humorously describing his life as a twenty-year old dating with HIV as a third wheel. He caught the attention of Poz magazine and was invited to the White House under the Clinton Administration on World AIDS Day, 1997. Today Shawn has happily found his wife partner in life, Gwenn Barringer, and the two speak together as a couple, educating about how they keep Gwenn, who is HIV negative, safe in their relationship. Since 1997, Shawn has penned a column for Poz Magazine, entitled “Positoid”, a word he created for himself and others living with HIV. His first book, My Pet Virus: The True Story of a Rebel Without a Cure, was published by the Penguin Group in 2006. In his spare time, he fronts a synthpop trio, Synthetic Division, in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. www.mypetvirus.com

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