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November 8, 2012

Ji Wallace: Out, Proud & HIV-Positive

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The December 2012 issue of GT Magazine has been sitting on my desk for the past week. Now, just imagine coming to work every day to find this hairy, muscular man lying down on your desk. His legs are spread wide open, giving you the perfect view of his thick thighs. His armpits are simply screaming “lick me!” His handsome face is staring back at you, as if you’re the only other man in the world…

And, if that weren’t enticing enough, he’s a great role model for people living with HIV.

His name is Ji Wallace. The Australian gymnast who won a silver medal in the 2000 Olympic Games, and this past Auguest, he went public with his HIV status.

“When it first happened, all I wanted to do was to yell and scream at the world,” he tells GT reporter Paul Thorn. “My main concern wasn’t that I was going to die, it was that people were going to treat me differently. I came to the conclusion that if I don’t treat it any different, then people won’t treat me any different.”

Wallace’s outlook on life has been an inspiration for others. After doing a television interview on Australia’s ABC, which attracted a million viewers, he received an e-mail from one individual whose life he had saved. “They were diagnosed that very day,” he told Thorn. “He was scared out of his brain, he asked the doctor for sleeping tablets and he was planning to take the whole bottle and commit suicide. He saw the programme and saw how positive I am, and didn’t do it.”

If you’re able to get your hands on this magazine, I highly recommend reading the full article. We can all learn something from Wallace’s positivity, regardless of our respective HIV statuses.

– Dewitt

Photo credit: Pedro Virgil

Click through to see a few images from Ji’s spread:

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Read more about Ji’s story in GT magazine!

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54 Comments - View all

sabazius 11:18pm on November 15, 2012

PS genome testing didn't prevent the cancer. So we still don't have an answer. I'd hate to be just a negative statistic in a system of pumping out $3000 bottles of drugs.

  • Maybe not flaunting your sexuality when presenting yourself as HIV+? Isn’t that how you got infected in the first place?

  • Maybe not flaunting your sexuality when presenting yourself as HIV+? Isn’t that how you got infected in the first place?

  • Maybe not flaunting your sexuality when presenting yourself as HIV+? Isn’t that how you got infected in the first place?

  • Anonymous

    Um, no. You do *not* know the circumstances under which he became infected, and it is incredibly pozphobic to suggest that HIV positive individuals should hide their sexuality.

    Stop.

  • Unjeunot

    I met an asshole not so long ago… To make a long story short, I’m taking antiretroviral for 28 days. I guess that if they find I got HIV, I can still look up to people like Ji Wallace and not pray to be hit by a train or a truck.

  • jeremyrain

    That’s really dumb of you to say. How do you know what is directly responsible for his disease? What if his partner at the time was cheating on him and gave him HIV. And what’s the problem with being sexy even when you are positive? Just because you have HIV doesn’t mean your life is over, you should just abandon everything you love in life. You continue to live, find a new way to be happy and healthy- and that’s exactly what this guy has been doing. Be a supporter.

  • MikeGMU

    Look, I’m the biggest germaphobe on the planet, but regarding this guy, who gives a damn? This Aussie is one of the hottest men I’ve seen on the blogs all day! He’s a perfect specimen (okay, I digress… I’ve always had a thing for gymnasts). If you can’t look beyond his positive status and see what he’s done to try and help other people, you really need to get your head out of your ass.

  • MikeGMU

    Look, I’m the biggest germaphobe on the planet, but regarding this guy, who gives a damn? This Aussie is one of the hottest men I’ve seen on the blogs all day! He’s a perfect specimen (okay, I digress… I’ve always had a thing for gymnasts). If you can’t look beyond his positive status and see what he’s done to try and help other people, you really need to get your head out of your ass.

  • MikeGMU

    Look, I’m the biggest germaphobe on the planet, but regarding this guy, who gives a damn? This Aussie is one of the hottest men I’ve seen on the blogs all day! He’s a perfect specimen (okay, I digress… I’ve always had a thing for gymnasts). If you can’t look beyond his positive status and see what he’s done to try and help other people, you really need to get your head out of your ass.

  • Bert33480

    I guess it would be safe to say that Wallace is a big bottom ? And a dam hot bottom he has on him too 🙂 Too bad these aren’t nude shots.

  • Rick

    THis message is for Phil McCrakin. Been HIV+ for over 25 years. I got mine through a contaminated blood transfusion in the US Navy. By the way, did 23 years in the Navy being Positive and still very healthy.I don’t hide my status and I am very upfront with everyone on my status. Not everyone whom is positive got it through sexual contact. You need to back off and stop pre-judging people that are positive. Only our maker above has the right to judge us. Remembe that!!!!

  • Rick

    THis message is for Phil McCrakin. Been HIV+ for over 25 years. I got mine through a contaminated blood transfusion in the US Navy. By the way, did 23 years in the Navy being Positive and still very healthy.I don’t hide my status and I am very upfront with everyone on my status. Not everyone whom is positive got it through sexual contact. You need to back off and stop pre-judging people that are positive. Only our maker above has the right to judge us. Remembe that!!!!

  • koridian

    “pozphobic”? — look, i love MHdaily, and check it literally daily — but that is seriously disturbing..
    it’s beyond irresponsible to put a positive spin on people who are hiv+ and act like it isn’t still a death sentence
    one of the single scariest and most disheartening moments of my life was talking to an hiv+ guy who described his clinic meetings and being encouraged to stay sexually active
    more power to Ji Wallace and being comfortable with himself, but i’m truly disappointed in MHD for putting any spin on HIV other than to desperately avoid at all costs

  • koridian

    “pozphobic”? — look, i love MHdaily, and check it literally daily — but that is seriously disturbing..
    it’s beyond irresponsible to put a positive spin on people who are hiv+ and act like it isn’t still a death sentence
    one of the single scariest and most disheartening moments of my life was talking to an hiv+ guy who described his clinic meetings and being encouraged to stay sexually active
    more power to Ji Wallace and being comfortable with himself, but i’m truly disappointed in MHD for putting any spin on HIV other than to desperately avoid at all costs

  • DAK23

    So, you know exactly how he became infected? Could it not have been via a needle, or contaminated blood? You’re just going to jump on this guy and others basically saying that they get what they deserve? You’re as bad as hetero’s who say the same thing about all of us. For shame.

  • Anonymous

    Are you fucking with me? You were “scared” that an HIV+ individual was encouraged to stay sexually active? Well, I’m scared that you are so close-minded to not accept that people living with HIV are human beings with active sex drives.

    Shaming people for being HIV+ is not the solution. In fact, it could only serve to make the problem worse.

  • DAK23

    So are you seriously trying to say that anyone with a disease should not enjoy life to its fullest? Would you tell a paraplegic that they couldn’t engage in an activity because it’s too difficult? Yes, HIV/AIDS is a terrible disease, but c’mon – it is no longer a death sentence. How about he is inspiring because he’s not letting an infection keep him living in a bubble – where you clearly would want him and others to be. Who the hell are YOU to decide that someone can’t enjoy one of the most basic needs common to ALL species?

  • stop the ignorance

    After a quarter if a century and still so much HIV ignorance. Been positive almost 18.years and have never had an illness…and been in a relationship with an HIV negative guy for 15 years…and he is still negative. Educate yourself and NEVER shut down someone’s expression of sexuality….isn’t that what we are fighting against when we deal with homophobia…possibly if we treated each other a little better it may come back to us.

  • stop the ignorance

    After a quarter if a century and still so much HIV ignorance. Been positive almost 18.years and have never had an illness…and been in a relationship with an HIV negative guy for 15 years…and he is still negative. Educate yourself and NEVER shut down someone’s expression of sexuality….isn’t that what we are fighting against when we deal with homophobia…possibly if we treated each other a little better it may come back to us.

  • stop the ignorance

    After a quarter if a century and still so much HIV ignorance. Been positive almost 18.years and have never had an illness…and been in a relationship with an HIV negative guy for 15 years…and he is still negative. Educate yourself and NEVER shut down someone’s expression of sexuality….isn’t that what we are fighting against when we deal with homophobia…possibly if we treated each other a little better it may come back to us.

  • koridian

    a paraplegic isn’t going to infect his sex partners

  • Webb

    Actually I think all of us living in the first world need to realize for 70-80% of the people in the world that have it IT IS A DEATH SENTENCE. Get over yourselves….and thank whatever maker you believe in you were born and raised in a first world country and have health insurance that covers most if not all of the costs associated with a formerly acute disease that has now, due to treatment options, basically become a chronic disease for those of us living in the “first world”. Take a moment and remember all the other HUMAN BEINGS in Asia, Africa and where ever else that have it and can do NOTHING about it and for them it is still a death sentence.

  • koridian

    i’m not “shaming” — on the contrary, again: more power to Ji Wallace

    but actively encouraging HIV+ to get out of a funk and go out there and have sex isn’t just irresponsible; it’s reckless

    i think it is best for everyone if HIV+ people practice abstinence — at the very least, medical professionals should not actively encourage the opposite

  • Webb

    Unless of course he became paraplegic due to an infectious disease 😉

  • koridian

    woah — that little “Unless….” isn’t mine — very tacky to use the same handle and make an asinine comment in what is a very serious conversation

  • koridian

    woah — that little “Unless….” isn’t mine — very tacky to use the same handle and make an asinine comment in what is a very serious conversation

  • koridian

    woah — that little “Unless….” isn’t mine — very tacky to use the same handle and make an asinine comment in what is a very serious conversation

  • gillsy

    As a HIV+ person even after 14 months after finding out, my sex drive still hasnt’ returned, and as mentioned below my counsellor has encourage me to stay sexually active for my mental health as well. But more worried about passing it on then living with it.

  • gillsy

    As a HIV+ person even after 14 months after finding out, my sex drive still hasnt’ returned, and as mentioned below my counsellor has encourage me to stay sexually active for my mental health as well. But more worried about passing it on then living with it.

  • gillsy

    As a HIV+ person even after 14 months after finding out, my sex drive still hasnt’ returned, and as mentioned below my counsellor has encourage me to stay sexually active for my mental health as well. But more worried about passing it on then living with it.

  • gillsy

    As a HIV+ person even after 14 months after finding out, my sex drive still hasnt’ returned, and as mentioned below my counsellor has encourage me to stay sexually active for my mental health as well. But more worried about passing it on then living with it.

  • DAK23

    The point was, and still is WE have no right telling someone that they cannot live a full life because of a perceived handicap.

  • DAK23

    There are a great many other social diseases out there that aren’t transmitted sexually. Shall we deny a sex life to them, as well? I was making the point that we cannot force our morals on someone unless they are deliberately hurting someone.

  • DAK23

    What consenting adults do with full knowledge of one another is none of your business. To write that it’s flat our reckless is absurd. Are you really trying to say that if someone has HIV, they should never have sex again?

  • DAK23

    What consenting adults do with full knowledge of one another is none of your business. To write that it’s flat our reckless is absurd. Are you really trying to say that if someone has HIV, they should never have sex again?

  • DAK23

    What consenting adults do with full knowledge of one another is none of your business. To write that it’s flat our reckless is absurd. Are you really trying to say that if someone has HIV, they should never have sex again?

  • DRB

    Tell the whole story.

  • RavelTrouser

    That’s an opinion. And it’s all your’s but it’s also entirely asinine. Feeling the need to proscribe behavior for other people who live under circumstances you aren’t a part of is worthy of ridicule. It is both positive and reasonable for HIV positive people to have fulfilling lives which naturally includes sex. Having a positive, sex symbol/role model leads to greater openness, better sexual etiquette, and more informed less stigmatized discussion.
    HIV status is something that many people hide, because people with opinions such as yours project a belief that Positive men have no business being out there in the field. That is a lot of recrimination to throw out into the world and that atmosphere makes people less likely to be reckless. Both by propagating an idea that positive men aren’t sexually active, and therefore less risky. As well as by adding a burden of shame for positive individuals for even daring to tread in the world as sexually empowered beings. I think that covers my response to your notion.

  • RavelTrouser

    ‘Cept I meant to say ‘makes people more likely to be reckless’ rather than less.

  • Tucker

    I’ve been POZ for six years. There will be a period of time when you don’t have a sex drive, but you should also know that having sex doesn’t mean you’re going to transmit the virus. Using protection and informing any partners of your status will always help reduce the chances of transmission. Staying healthy and getting on a treatment regime will also greatly reduce the risk transmission. In fact once the virus is undetectable in your system it can (I stress can) be very difficult to pass it on to someone else, but you should always use a condom and inform your partners. It’s important to inform your partner(s) so they can make informed decisions of their own. There will be people who aren’t comfortable with your status, but they are plenty who will be. Don’t let other people’s fear or anxiety dictate how you feel about yourself. Also some people who may not want to have sex with you will still be respectful, others will not. Remember you’re not alone. And I’m not just talking about other POZ individuals. In any given crowd of people most, if not all, have or have had serious and/or chronic illness or other health issues. Think of all the people who have diabetes, cancer, ADHD, serious food allergies (which kill), high blood pressure, bipolar disorder, anxiety, asthma, malaria, sickle-cell anemia, etc, etc, etc. Remember we are all human; we all get sick; we all live with illness. Finally, I want to stress that what you’re feeling is normal, but don’t let your status keep you from being intimate (physically and emotionally) or enjoying it. I would recommend looking into touch therapy from a certified masseuse (not a place that gives “happy endings,” unless that’s your thing). Even it’s just a basic massage it can help you relax and become more comfortable living with HIV. I may have simply reiterated what your counselor has already told you, but I figured it’s important to stress these things.

  • Commenter

    It’s both callous and ridiculous to suggest that HIV-positive people should practice abstinence. And why on earth should that even be necessary? If it’s simply for your peace of mind, think otherwise, because what you’re suggesting simply ain’t gonna happen.

    Safer sex, people. It’s behavior that matters, not status. Safer sex (outside of any situation in which your partner’s status isn’t an absolute certainty) is the surest possible way to protect yourself and to start bringing an end to the epidemic.

    Big respect for Ji Wallace and the way he has made the most of what is still a tough situation. That is something a real man does and Ji is obviously a real man.

  • Commenter

    Yeah, he has an awesome ass. But what makes you presume that he’s a bottom?

  • Commenter

    Yeah, he has an awesome ass. But what makes you presume that he’s a bottom?

  • Commenter

    Such an incredibly off base and ignorant remark. By any chance, do you work for the Family Research Council?

  • 4moreaction

    Great guy… and honest too! Good rolemodel for many of Us!! :O)

  • Anonymous

    “REALLY ” you condemn this man for being HONEST about his HIV status isn’t that partially the reason for the disease growing so rapidly because so many LIED and yet you RUDCULE him ! It is not your message that is problem for I understand what you are attempting to say but the problem is the manor in which you chose to deliver it ! I have re-read this post over and over again and NO WHERE does it speak about reckless sexual activity but rather it ( the post ) speaks of a man dealing with his reality where he chose to LIVE rather than to DIE ! I myself suffer from kidney disease ( diagnosed in Nov 2011 ) 3 times a week I am attached to a machine for dialysis and I have been in and out of the hospital More times in one year than have in all of my life I HATE dialysis it;s the biggest pain in my ass ( LOL TRUE TOP ) but I go because like JI Wallace I chose to LIVE rather than to DIE !! Koridian I do believe you mean well but ridiculing people for attempting to deal with the cards that they are dealt ( for what ever reason ) is not helping to solve the problems but is a part of the PROBLEM itself , How Ji Wallace contacted HIV should not be the issue but rather preventing it from spreading and HOPEFULLY finding a cure that will IRADICATED this disease ( and so many others ) from the face of the earth! Finally Kiridian I think you meant well but I also think you chose a very RECKLESS way to say what you meant !!

  • tarnashun

    this post was like madonna walking into a restaurant wearing a greasy strap-on. the man is gorgeous. the man is laudable. the man needs my phone number. i don’t consider my HIV status to be a “handicap”; i consider it to be another thing in life that i encounter, deal with, and am responsible for. anyone who suggests that i am less than who i am for it, or that i shouldn’t live life to the fullest gets my teary-eyed pity for his narrow, unimaginative, and inhumane self-centered worldview. next.

  • ChrizMx

    Incredible for people to still discriminate others for this, we are all part of the problem and the solution, if we have sex in a safe way we won’t be likely to get infected, and people living with HIV still have the same rights as any other human. Please guys read more about the how people living with HIV feel, if you just cut that sexual part of anyone person you’ll be cutting off a very important part of that person.

  • Anonymous

    He’s fucking gorgeous and I’d take him home in a heartbeat!

  • Anonymous

    Loser.

  • Anonymous

    Koridain you seem to have a very bitter attitude towards HIV positive people is there another reason for your INTOLARENCE & HATRED that you are not sharing with us ?

  • Commenter

    Amen to everything you said, Chriz. Poz guys are just as worthy of love, respect and inclusion as anyone else. Discrimination and segregation based on status only exacerbate the problem. Safer sex is the solution.

  • sabazius

    after using antiretrovirals with a warning of liver and kidney problems possible – I ended up with cancer. No blame. Just that our medical system can’t measure tolerance. I believe that there would be a totally different healing experience if we could simply have a test that would say – this person his highly sensitive – and needs 1/2 the dose or less. But we don’t. Or three major hospitals and HIV doctors in Vancouver have never heard of it. I envy guys who have no side effects. I have had 6 attempts and 6 failures – the last one is now inoperable cancer because I have no immune system left for post surgery. Antiretrovirals are great. But they aren’t the only answer I could have chosen. Some folks can’t handle toxicity. Simple fact. Remember AZT? Man wasn’t that an ass-whooooping in a bottle. So = thinking outside the box – I’m hoping to find an answer that won’t kill me or poison me. I know it exists – and I’ve yet to find it. I believe I will find it.

  • sabazius

    PS genome testing didn’t prevent the cancer. So we still don’t have an answer. I’d hate to be just a negative statistic in a system of pumping out $3000 bottles of drugs.