When it comes to living with HIV, humor can be a coping mechanism, a way of diffusing a situation or disarming stigma. Positively Aware put the question to its social media followers:

What role does humor play in your life?

“I prefer laughter over sadness. Sometimes you have to cry in silence or aloud, but I’ll take laughter any ole day.”

— Randy Bowling

“I laugh nonstop. I’ve nicknamed every med and given it a personality based on its side effects.”

— Derek Canas

“I’ve always been cynical. My diagnosis just pushed that to previously unknown heights. I enjoy humor, especially when dealing with other people’s half-knowledge or ignorance about HIV; I tend to double down. It’s made me able to laugh about myself as well.”

—Christopher Klettermayer, @ongoingviral

“I use humor to keep me from crying about the loss of loved ones to HIV/AIDS. I find humor in the tiniest possible ways, even if it’s jokingly calling my antiviral pills ‘girls.’ For example, ‘What is that girl Symtuza going to do to my body today? Did she pay a bill yet? Or she going to be evicted out of my body?’ LOL.”

—Jack R. Miller, @biggroast

“I always maintain a happy attitude because living with HIV is not fun, but you make the best of it! I laugh, cry and keep on going. Life is full of surprises; you just have to know how to juggle them.”

—Lillibeth GonzaLez

“Humor is the saving grace to my insanity.”

—Wanda Brendle-Moss

“I laugh more than should be allowed for everything being considered.”


“Humor allows me to combat all the depression and side effects of living with HIV. Without humor, it would be quite difficult to bear all the daily challenges with the disease.”


“I have what is described as a ‘wicked’ sense of humor. Every situation has the potential of providing some humor. I love to laugh.”

—Eric Moore

“Laughter recharges the soul! Much like dancing, the more you do it freely and with abandon, the more infectious to your soul it becomes! Find laughter daily! Trust me on this one!”

—Marco Mays

“I’m 77 years old. I call my enlarged belly ‘my baby.’ Sometimes I accuse my mate of ‘knocking me up.’ Laughter is the best medicine.”

—Anna Fowlkes

“It’s not just humor, but the decision to live every day in the happiest way possible!”


“Humor is a tool for me to use on a daily basis. I am not the most humorous person, but I need to be enveloped by the positive energy that it creates. I have been through hell and back. Humorous events and people provide me with the antidote to the negativity in the world. Being a substitute teacher affords me the opportunity to experience laughter and happiness. If we can learn from the youth of today, our tomorrows will be brighter.”

—Mark L Grantham

“Scene in the hospital, while I was in renal care because of extremely elevated levels of creatinine kinase:

Attending physician: I was looking over your chart…

Me:      (bursts into laughter)

Her:     With the new serious diagnoses facing you, I guess it’s good that you can have a sense of humor about it. Can you tell me what those diagnoses are?

Me:      Fracture of the lesser tuberosity resulting from a fall from bed caused by a seizure apparently originating near a new suspected neoplasm in the right hippocampus.

Her:     What’s so funny about all of that?

Me:      After over 41 years, and HIV still doesn’t get to be a major cause of concern.”

—DavidMichael Phillips