Support a vital work-in-progress, and stop criminalization of people living with HIV!

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Filed under African Americans, arts and culture, criminalization of HIV, gay and bisexual men, police repression, prison, sex workers' rights, stigma

2 responses to “Support a vital work-in-progress, and stop criminalization of people living with HIV!

  1. Ron Osterberg

    My name is Ron Osterberg and I was diagnosed with HIV in March of 2000. 3 and a half years ago I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and I am grateful for my recovery after having radical neo-bladder surgery. I spent a year recovering and I was hired by the Olson Visual in Southern California to help manage their mounting and laminating that was coming off the worst loss in their company’s history because they had under quoted a job for the Page Museum. At the time I had good Health Insurance from my wife’s job and I did not need their help. My wife parted ways with her job and I was left uninsured so I signed up for Kaiser insurance because I cannot survive without healthcare. My HIV drugs cost close to $4,000 dollars a month. 2 months after I asked to join the company’s Healthcare plan I was told that I was being laid off for financial reasons and my position was being eliminated. Olson Visual has posted the highest sales in the past 2 years after just celebrating 55 years in the business. The Olson’s 2 biggest clients are Paramount Studios and Focus Films along with every other studio because they are in the marquee business for movie theatres. They produce graphics The Getty and LACMA.
    I used to think that the Olson were different but I have never known them to hire anyone who was openly gay ever. I am not gay but I contracted HIV from promiscuous sex during a time when I was dealing with depression. Two weeks ago my daughter Ruby who is five years old and HIV negative “thank god”, crocheted me a necklace with rainbow string and started where it to work. I wonder if the Olson’s thought I was coming out.
    Here I am sitting up at 5:00am wondering what to do less than17 hours after I was fired or as the Dan Olson wrote,” Olson Visual has been impacted by lower sales this season. One action the company needs to implement is a reduction of employees. Unfortunately your job as a Mounting manager is being eliminated in the Mounting department. The document ended with the usual ball washing:” We appreciate your effort, cooperation and contribution to this company. We wish you the very best.”
    The names Richard Olson, Daniel Olson, and Thomas Olson were at the bottom. I was given a final check for 28.30 hours + 9.0 hours of Paid Time Off. Hooray tiny Tim will get a new crutch for Christmas. Bad timing for me because the day before I was eliminated I had a cat scan to find out if my cancer has reoccurred. I am turning 50 years old next and I hope to be around for my 55th anniversary. Merry Christmas to all.

  2. Suzy Subways

    Hi Ron,
    I’m so sorry for what happened to you with the loss of your job. I don’t know what to say, it sounds so unfair. I hope that things will get better for you and your family soon.

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