My Pet Virus
The True Story of a Rebel Without a Cure
By Shawn Decker
(Tarcher, Paperback, 9781585425259, 240pp.)
Publication Date: September 21, 2006
List Price: $12.95*
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Shawn Decker isn't quite the All-American boy. Sure, he gets caught shoplifting copies of "Penthouse"; is crazy about prowrestling, especially "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair; and never has a problem getting dates. But he's also a hemophiliac who discovers, at age eleven, that he has contracted HIV from tainted blood products.
Instead of becoming self-pitying and dying (as first predicted), Shawn develops a twisted sense of humor, meets Depeche Mode through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and writes on blogs and in Poz magazine about what it's like being hetero and HIV-positive in rural Virginia. He also turns to gay men for advice on dating women and, almost twenty years after getting HIV, marries Gwenn Barringer, who is HIV-negative and a former competitor for the title of Miss Virginia. Together Shawn and Gwenn travel the country, speaking to high school and college kids about how to live and love with HIV (and how to avoid getting it).