Jim Frederick discusses being an HIV+ artist on Internet radio
Two years ago, gay Dallas artist Jim Frederick contracted progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy — a viral infection better known as P.M.L. — and it turned his life upside down.
Frederick, who has long been HIV-positive, says that the effects of P.M.L. were similar to those of a stroke. The virus attacked the right side of his brain and for the past two years he has had to teach himself to walk, talk — and even paint — again.
The mortality rate for those with HIV-related P.M.L. has fallen over the past several years from over 90 percent to under 50 percent. Reversing the immune deficient state is the best therapy, according to the Web site of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders.
Frederick’s battle with P.M.L. is reaping its rewards. He again paints and recently joined the Turtle Creek Chorale and will be a rider in the Lone Star Ride in September.
Frederick has remained largely silent about this new illness — not out of shame, but physical necessity.
"After a year of saying nothing, I’m going to talk on a freaking radio show" he says. On Wednesday, Frederick will speak about his experience as an artist with HIV on a Podcast at PozIAm.com.
Poziam.com on June 10.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 5, 2009.