Every March, a diverse community of more than 400 PLWHA's (people living with HIV/AIDS) journey from several states, mostly the southeast, and meet up at the annual Positive Living Conference. The conference take place along the Florida's Emerald Coast stretches along 24 miles of pristine sugar white-sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico's emerald-green waters.
I have been attending this jewel of a conference every year since 2006 and value the time to meet up with peers and attend various workshops on HIV-disease management, prevention and advocacy. Even after 30-years of HIV, PLWHA's still struggle, especially in rural communities, to find safe space to dialogue and share their experiences. Positive Living is hosted by Butch McKay and his exceptional staff at Okaloosa AIDS Support & Informational Services.
Back on World AIDS Day 2009, I posted a World AIDS Day message from my humble hero Butch McKay.
Over the years, I have had the incredible honor to call him a friend. In 2006 when Democratic Congressman Jim Davis was running for Florida Governor, Butch stood by my side at a campaign rally when I threatened an ACT UP style demonstration unless Davis signed a pledge to end AIDS at his Fort Lauderdale campaign rally just across the street from the Gay & Lesbian Community Center. Needless to say, Congressman Davis signed the pledge.
Watch my video interview with Butch McKay after the jump: