The Positive Side

Summer 2011 

Daniel-Claude Gendron (Spring/Summer 2009)

Age: 42
Montreal
Illustrator
Living with HIV for 13 years
CD4 count: 630
Viral load: undetectable

“An HIV-positive man fighting against the virus with a pencil.”

How would you describe your health?
I’m in good health.

Are you experiencing any specific issues around HIV or your treatment?
I don’t have any major problems with my treatment for the moment.

What have you been up to since you appeared on the cover of the Spring / Summer 2009 issue with Super-Poz, the comic-book super hero you created?
Many wonderful things have happened-the most remarkable is the publication of the first issue of Super-Poz. Thanks to my participation in The Positive Side, several people expressed their interest in my project. Among other things, I was a contributing artist at Café des Arts at Montreal’s Gay Pride 2010, where, for the first time, the graphic novel Super-Poz was available. Since then, Super-Poz has been available in Priape stores across Canada.

One thing I certainly did not expect after revealing my serostatus to the world on the cover of a magazine was to hear that my parents carried around a copy of The Positive Side when visiting family to discuss my serostatus and to say “Look how well he’s doing!” That’s probably what touched me the most during this whole adventure. I feel privileged to have had such a reaction.

But not everything has worked out as well. I lost my job last fall after eight years of employment. The board of directors and the management of an HIV community organization decided, due to a shortage of funds, that the social re-integration I’ve been advocating for for 10 years didn’t stack up to other services offered to people living with HIV — hey kids, we have no money, we can’t do scrapbooking anymore! It is this social re-integration, however, that saved my life.

I therefore made the choice to contribute, at least for the moment, in my own way — through drawing. I would love to make a living from my illustrations in the future. Not that I’ve given up yet — I’m still a solider in the poz army and still at war against the forces that I think cause so many problems: abuse (of sex, drugs, confidence and power) and keeping secrets. I believe that these are the main reasons for the spread of HIV. If I were Super-Poz, I would have eliminated these problems a long time ago.

What one super power do you wish to have?
To cure.

In one word, describe this moment in AIDS.
Apathetic.

In 10 years…
I would like to have my own place to exhibit art.

What song is the soundtrack of your life?
“Uprising” by Muse.

 

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