On the couch with

Educator Josh Robbins on finding love after his HIV diagnosis

Josh Robbins
Josh Robbins (Photo: Supplied)

Josh Robbins, 37, is an entrepreneur and sexual health advocate based in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2012, at the age of 29, he was diagnosed with HIV. In shock, he spent days afterward curled up on the floor or searching the internet for information on HIV. He has since become a leading advocate for raising awareness around the virus and tackling stigma, including giving TEDx talks and utilizing social media to share his journey.

He talks about living with HIV and interviews others about sexual health via his YouTube channel and Podcast (check out imstilljosh.com). His blog was nominated for a GLAAD award in 2017 and he’s acted as a consultant for sexual health-related nonprofits.

Related: 5 things every gay man thinking about losing his v-card should know about HIV

Josh got married in December in Naples, Florida, to his husband, Jeffrey, who runs a commercial cleaning business. The couple met each other in November 2019.

Josh, critical pandemic question we all need to know: What are you reading/streaming/listening to right now?

I’m actually spending time listening to the audiobook A Promised Land by Barack Obama (narrated by himself) because 2020 has been a hell of a bad year – the past four years, actually. So I am finding comfort from Obama’s voice and familiarity. I liked him as President. I enjoy listening to him. And it’s an escape from Trump’s voice. Literally.

What are you looking most forward to doing as social restrictions start to lift?

I feel pretty lucky because before the pandemic started early in 2020, I had gotten engaged. So much of 2020, I was home with Jeffrey and we spent that time doing couples stuff at home! It was hot and fun. We did get on each other’s nerves at times but we worked through it. Our home is very organized since he’s really good at that. [Josh and partner Jeffrey married in December 2020.]

I did discover how important those little moments of just saying, “Hey, how are you?” to people you randomly see at the local gay bar. This year really made me miss people in general so I’m looking forward to being around people without masks on soon.

Josh Robbins (Photo: Supplied)
Josh Robbins (Photo: Supplied)

Have you been following any fitness programs that you can share?

Some people love to work out. I’m not really someone who “loves” that— but it’s important. So I found ways to burn calories with Jeffrey at home. Often! Lol! Besides that sweating, I did a lot of walking from my apartment to the park in Nashville which has a cool outdoor workout routine with equipment. I also live on the 5th floor and using the stairs instead of the elevator made my legs look sexy!

I also really watched my overall consumption of food. I ate less than usual when I knew I wouldn’t be burning as many calories. I cut out red meat almost completely.

How do you think the political situation will impact HIV treatment and prevention efforts?

I think national organizations and local groups serving the LGBTQ community all have worked the past four years either knowing funding would be cut, was cut, or assumed it would be— so now that an administration that respects and understands the needs of this community are in office, I’m looking forward to those organizations continuing to help those in need.

Specifically, I’m looking forward to the Office of National AIDS Policy reopening in The White House.