Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Greg Sanchez: Turning His Life Around
by Ross Forman

This article shared 2814 times since Sat Mar 1, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Greg Sanchez has lived more than half his live HIV-positive.

It was early 1989 when he tested positive and, of course, he thought there was something wrong with the test—perhaps confusion with the test number he had been given, since the analysis was done anonymously. Sanchez was certain nothing was wrong with him since he felt fine and didn't look sick.

When he finally realized that he was positive, Sanchez was shocked, saddened and, quite simply, at rock bottom.

'I was scared to death, living in northwest Indiana in a large Catholic family,' said Sanchez. 'It was very difficult to talk to anyone or even access any resources. I felt hopeless.

'When I learned I was positive, I went into denial, mostly because I didn't know how I was going to tell anyone. I didn't think I was going to be alive.'

Sanchez even cashed in his life insurance policy.

In 1997, Sanchez went from an HIV-positive status to an AIDS diagnosis.

Now 42, openly gay and living in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, Sanchez has had a wide-ranging, amazing life, especially over the past 10 years. That life included a high-profile stint on a locally produced reality show for FOX-TV.

'Cancer, for instance, is very important to support,' Sanchez said. 'I know people with cancer and support it, too. I support the cancer pink-ribbon campaign [ for breast cancer ] and any other types of cancers that happen to people. I'm hoping one day soon, I'll see a red ribbon [ in support of AIDS research ] on a pack of Tic Tacs like I've recently seen with the breast cancer pink ribbon. And why not red Tic Tacs, too?

'HIV/AIDS needs to be supported by more big community businesses, big corporations and our government through a bigger awareness campaign, and not just putting the emphasis on Africa, but in our own backyard, too. The local venues—like the bars—are always hit up for money, and I'm sure it can wear on them to have that expectation so often.

'HIV/AIDS still a stigma attached to it. It involves talking about death, sex, drugs, and diverse populations of people who usually are perceived in some communities as marginalized, different and/or outcasts from family, friends and others.

Sanchez now works at Better Existence with HIV ( BEHIV ) as an education outreach prevention specialist, making HIV/AIDS-related presentations to schools and elsewhere in the community.

He is involved with testing and counseling regarding HIV, among other STDs. He also works in crisis intervention. The bulk of his work is done in the Chicago Public School System.

'Back when I found out I was positive, there was only one [ treatment ] pill and there still were a lot of deaths [ among patients ] . I went to a lot of funerals,' he said. 'Hopefully we're changing that, especially since treatment has gotten a lot easier.

'So many kids today hear about AIDS and HIV, but they don't really relate with it. We're trying to change that.'

Thus, his presentations—especially at schools—are very visual, showing HIV-infected patients of all shapes, sizes, colors, religions and nationalities.

'We have to remember where we have been, where we are and where are we going and learn from those people who have passed on before us and no longer have a voice,' Sanchez said. 'We need to bridge the gap between the generations that experienced AIDS at its worst and today.

'Back when I came out about AIDS publicly it had its repercussions. But [ today's youth can be ] strong and their lives meaningful.'

Sanchez has had quite a diverse life since learning he was HIV-positive and, ultimately, afflicted with AIDS. Just consider:

—He was part of an ex-gay ministry for about three years in the 1990s.

—He was one of the first in South Bend, Ind., to speak out about AIDS and HIV, 'and, of course, that had its own repercussions,' he said, referring to his house being egged and having to endure vandalism of his property, among other things. 'It was scary, but [ what I was doing was ] gratifying.'

—In 1990, he was involved with an abusive relationship.

—Chicago's FOX-TV affiliate, WFLD, held an experiment a few years ago, mixing gays, lesbians and straights. They lived together for a week, debating numerous hot-button subjects, such as HIV, hate crimes, adoption, marriage, etc. Sanchez admits he was hesitant to participate, but ultimately was chosen from among about 800 applicants. 'And it really was a great experience in my life, though quite stressful,' he said. 'Some of us really bonded and still talk today. Not so with others.' In fact, Sanchez said a five-year reunion of the 2003 crew was discussed, but some would not participate, he predicted. 'It was a great experience, especially since I heard from so many people who were struggling with their sexuality, their spirituality and their personal lives,' he said.

For 2008 and beyond, Sanchez said, 'I have just one goal, and that's to help people, whatever way that is.'

This article shared 2814 times since Sat Mar 1, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Sen. Baldwin, colleagues applaud confirmation of Global AIDS Coordinator, push for global LGBTQI+ rights
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen.Tammy Baldwin joined her colleagues in congratulating John Nkengasong on his recent confirmation as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. The lawmakers also urged Ambassador Nkengasong to ensure ...

Gay News

Chicago LGBTQ+ leaders, activists reflect on Pride Month at event state Sen. Simmons hosts
On June 29, Illinois first out gay state senator, Mike Simmons, hosted a press conference featuring Chicago LGBTQ+ leaders and activists at Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. Speakers included Simmons; Gerber/Hart ...

Gay News

Out at CHM: Panelists discuss HIV/AIDS' continued impact on dance community
The Chicago History Museum (CHM) hosted a June 23 panel with doctors and dancers who shared their experiences with the HIV/AIDS epidemic as well as ideas for continuing to address the disease today. Following the discussion, ...

Gay News

CDC reminds people that National HIV Testing Day is June 27
-- From a press release - June 27 is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), a day to emphasize the importance of HIV testing and make sure everyone knows their status so they can take steps to improve their health, regardless of the ...

Gay News

HIV testing dropped sharply among key groups during first year of COVID-19 pandemic
-- From a press release - New CDC data published ahead of National HIV Testing Day (Monday, June 27) show a sharp decrease in the number of CDC-funded HIV tests administered in health care and non-health-care settings (43% and 50%, respectively) from ...

Gay News

100 HIV groups call on Congress to fund Biden's National PrEP Program
-- From a press release - (New York City, NY) Wednesday, June 15, 2022—PrEP4All, Inc., along with 100 HIV organizations, are leading the push for Congress to fund a National Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Program that would ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Onetime Gay Chicago publisher Craig Gernhardt
Craig Gernhardt—who once was the publisher of the now-defunct Gay Chicago—has died at age 61, according to Tribute Archive. His father, Gay Chicago Magazine co-founder and Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame inductee Ralph Paul Gernhardt, passed ...

Gay News

TPAN to host Closing Ceremony for Ride For Life Chicago June 19
-- From a press release - Chicago, IL—TPAN will host the Closing Ceremony of the Ride For Life Chicago on Sunday, June 19 at Foster Beach from noon-5pm. Cyclists will complete their 200-, 100-, and 50-mile rides to converge at the beach ...

Gay News

Governor signs bills expanding access to HIV- and AIDS-related care and prevention
-- From a press release - Chicago—Governor JB Pritzker signed HB4430 and HB5549 into law today, removing barriers to access for HIV and AIDS care and prevention. HB4430 allows pharmacists to dispense both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis drugs (PrEP and PEP) without ...

Gay News

Out at CHM's 'Dancing for Life' to take place June 23
The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., is continuing its Out at CHM series with "Dancing for Life: Moving through HIV/AIDS" on Thursday, June 23, 5:30-8:30 p.m. In honor of Chicago designating 2022 as the ...

Gay News

New military policy keeps HIV-positive service members deployable
A new Defense Department policy allows HIV-positive service members with an undetectable viral load to not only stay in uniform but remain deployable, Military Times reported. ...

Gay News

AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to now take place Oct. 2
The 31st Annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago will now take place on Sunday, October 2. The annual event helps raise awareness and funds for individuals who are living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS across Chicagoland. ...

Gay News

Critically acclaimed Queer Serial History Podcast continues new series into Pride Month
-- From a press release - In Queer Serial's radio drama style, NLGJA award-winning producer Devlyn Camp is bringing gay history to life with news & gay radio shows from the archives, unheard interviews between historian Will Roscoe & Supervisor Harry Britt, ...

Gay News

Community and politicians gather to open the AIDS Memorial Garden
Chicagoans gathered at the lakefront the morning of June 2 for the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the city's long-awaited AIDS Memorial Garden. "There are so many ones who have passed who have come to witness ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Trans survey, Gays Against Guns, TIME 100, candidates, crimes
Transgender women experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, poor health services and low pay are less likely to receive necessary HIV prevention support or treatment, according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study based on responses from ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.