man in the mirror

Michael Petrelis, Not Afraid Of A Little POZ Face

When lipodystrophy affects the face, deep creases and crevices in the cheeks appear, and this was once known as protease face, but has since evolved into poz face. Other ways lipodystrophy changes the body is when the back of the neck enlarges to the point of a buffalo hump shape, while the stomach expands into a protease paunch, which derives from one key ingredient to the drug cocktail. For some reason, this last term has not devolved to poz paunch. I’m living with poz face, buffalo hump and protease paunch, and I’m lucky enough to have public insurance and access to top-notch doctors and researchers. The reason why I’m mentioning all this is to, you’ll pardon the expression, put a face to what it is like to be a PWA in 2010, after more than a decade of being on ever-evolving cocktails. I consider my poz face to be one of character, and won’t be getting the facial filler treatment to puff up my cheeks. The looks of sadness, obnoxious emails from adversaries and occasional instant rejection when people on the street realize I’m a pozzie, are things I can live with.

—Michael Petrelis, the blogger and activist, is not letting vanity get in the way of a positive attitude about living with HIV [via]

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #aids #anatomy #hiv stories and more


  • Enron

    His poz face is not so bad, kinda cute too. The reality of HIV/AIDs though, its a sentence to a life of trying to survive in a world where its already difficult to be who you are. That’s why it is important to be as safe as possible in every sexual encounter. Getting your rocks off with a guy you don’t even know might be a life of drug cocktails waiting for you.

  • Parker

    I’d hit it!

  • Toutwest

    I too refuse to change the way I look now. I will not put more suspicious chemicals (or fat) in my body just to look “normal.” It’s difficult in the gay community because we put such a high price on pretty and young. But you will hear no whining, I got this in 1981 and I wear it like a badge of courage.

  • Jon (not that one)

    Michael deserves our respect. He’s done more for the LGBT community than any snarky writer or commenter on this site could ever dream of.

  • Jason

    You are beautiful and you wear the scars of your battle with HIV with pride!

  • mcc

    @Jon (not that one): Hey while I agree with what you say, this is one of the few times where I don’t feel you should be being a bitch towards the writers of queerty. It isn’t like they got anything wrong this time, and this article celebrates Petrelis for being proud to be in his own skin. He definitely deserves our respect, but no need to bitch about writers being snarky when they did a good job on this article, even if it is just a quote. Unless of course this article was meant to be sarcastic, which I don’t see as being true.

    wow never thought i’d be sticking up for queerty writers, but then again, i’m here everyday and love what you guys (and girls?) do, even if its riddled with typos sometimes

  • Fitz

    This is one of those “do what you need to do (but don’t bemoan other people doing what they need to do)” situations. There are LOTS of diseases where the treatment is disfiguring, not just AIDS. Many people wear their scars as a badge of honor, but many others need to make alterations to feel comfortable. People wear fake eyes, prosthetic limbs, cover deformed areas, have aesthetic plastic surgery, etc.

    Just do whatever you need to do to enjoy yourself. Life is too short to worry about it.

  • Slingshot

    Thank you Mr, for going on about your life in th public eye with dignity and no fear in being yourself. That alone is Gay pride epitomized.

  • jason

    The drug cocktails are phony. Don’t use them. We’ve been tricked into taking them by the pharmaceutical companies and the devious sleazeballs in the GLBT community who could never admit that it was their promiscuity and amyl use, and not a virus, that brought about lowered immunity.

    As for Petrelis, I appreciate his activism. I think we need more like him. There’s not enough true activism on the gay scene. Almost all of us have been anesthetized by a combination of alcohol, dance music, and the thrill of sex with strangers on a Saturday night.

  • MSZP

    POZ or not (it’s beside the point), Petrelis is a sneaky dirtbag.

  • Clark35

    Who is this guy?

Comments are closed.