My Pet Virus by Shawn Decker is probably the funniest book you will ever pick up. Now, I admit, this isn’t something you expect to hear about a real-life-story of a kid with hemophilia who ends up contracting HIV through a blood transfusion, but that’s only because you don’t know Shawn Decker. Shawn has faced down his HIV positive status with a twisted sense of humor and a series of anecdotes that will challenge what you think you know about prejudice, AIDS and life as a teenager while making you laugh until your guts hurt.
In addition to writing My Pet Virus and performing in the band Synthetic Division, Shawn, and his HIV-negative wife, Gwenn travel the world educating people about AIDS and safe sex. They believe that if a “positoid” and a “negatoid” (Shawn’s terms–read the book and find out more) can make a sexually active marriage work, then maybe other people should be aware of how to do it, too. In addition, Shawn has recently finished his first fiction work, a story about vampires, and if you are anxiously awaiting the release, you will find updates at his blog Shawn & Gwenn: Blog.
Even though Shawn has just finished one of the more hectic times of year in his life, he agreed to sit down and answer a few questions for our Geek Crafts readers.
So you grew up in a small town as a hemophiliac, HIV positive kid who loved
Depeche Mode…did you ever see yourself traveling the US speaking publicly
about your cult-hit memoir and safe sex?
I really had no idea I’d be talking about my HIV status with my friends, let alone strangers. At age 20, around the same time I definitively decided that Black Celebration was Depeche Mode’s finest album, I realized I wanted to open up about my HIV status. At that point, I’d been diagnosed half my life, and it seemed like an exciting thing to do. Also, I was inspired by Pedro Zamora, who’d been on MTV’s Real World reality show. He was young, HIV positive and speaking at college campuses. He passed to spirit a couple of years before I started educating about HIV, but I was able to meet his partner, Sean, and his roommate, Judd Winick, both of whom I thanked for the inspiration.