Recipe for Survival - Panel Discussion with Men HIV+ > 25 Years
Terry Branoff, The Phoenix Men Project
As part of Documentary The Phoenix Men Project, filming will take place during panel discussion to be included in this Documentary, whose goal is same as GMHS2012 panel: Promote a better understanding of "the early years of HIV in America" from the perspective of HIV+ men who learned they were positive at a time when Medicine was ill-prepared for an epidemic of the size and scope of HIV. We will hear from those who were diagnosed with a disease whose name changed with time, from GRID to ARC, eventually becoming HIV/AIDS and examine what the experiences of seroconversion was like before current day treatment methods and resources.
What makes this project different. Much like Holocaust survivor stories are memorialized on film to capture in their own words, while they're still alive, from the perspective of those who survived a horrific period in European mid-20th Century history, this project addresses the explosion of HIV/AIDS in America in the early 1980's from the eyes of HIV infected men. Not just a portrait of long term HIV survivors, but this project digs below the surface to look at the miracle of HOW they have survived so many others.
The Name. Much like the Phoenix rises from the ashes, the Phoenix Men Project examines the lives and experiences of long time survivors who recollect what it was like to learn the news, share it (or not), live your life in the face of hysteria and panic. There is something very special about these Phoenix Men and we hope to learn from their experiences. It is about rising above adversity, and speaks well beyond HIV but about surviving a crisis in whatever form it takes.
Goal. To educate, inform, examine, and learn from the experiences of very special men who are still around despite the odds and statistics. To examine what it is about these people that sets them apart - is it genetic, environmental, psychological, spiritual, metabolic, or something else. Hear, in their own words, stories of survival and maybe draw our own conclusions and lessons on how to survive despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Terry Branoff is the Director and inspiration for this film. He learned he was HIV+ in 1985 in NYC. At the time, he lived alone, had just ended a relationship and learned over the phone about his status from a burnt out Dr who had lost his entire patient practice to AIDS and said "I was right, you're positive." Statistically he should have succumbed to the disease very quickly but he didn't. This film is inspired by his story. Today, now asymptomatic after being HIV+ for 26 years, Terry is a geek in the I.T. industry and is healthy and living a dynamic life in Southern California, as a Network Engineer, Artist, Husband, Father (of 4 dogs) and Survivor.
The summit takes place July 20th and 21st at George Washington University. This is just one of the 40 workshops and two plenary discussions taking place over the course of the summit. Click HERE for more information about the summit, including registration, housing, workshops and events around and during the summit.