Friends and colleagues of staff from Test Positive Aware Network's ( TPAN ) Positively Aware Magazine gathered at the Museum of Broadcast Communications ( MBC ) Oct. 29 to mark the publication's 25th anniversary.
Editor Jeff Berry marked the occasion with a champagne toast alongside his staff, Associate Editor Enid Vazquez and Creative Director Rick Guasco. In his remarks, Berry reflected on how the magazine, even in the earliest, bleakest moments of the AIDS crisis, was not afraid to be sex-positive, use humor and offer some semblances of hope.
"Even though it was a very scary time, Positively Aware made it seem less scary," Berry said.
Dr. Tony Mills, a Los Angeles-based clinician who frequently contributes to the magazine, said that Positively Aware "stepped in and provided this information about this incredibly important part of our lives."
He spoke about first seeing the magazine in a physician's office in Atlanta, as well as building a medical career even after he himself became HIV-positive. In 1998, Mills won the International Mister Leather title.
"My platform was hope," he said. "I was open about my HIV status, and [didn't think] you had to look like you had HIV or feel like you had HIV. You just had to keep moving forward."
Moving forward is something the publication had done successfully as well, keeping on top of new developments and advancements, according to Mills.
"Positively Aware has been there from the beginning. They're going to be there now and for the future," he added.