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This year AIDS/LifeCycle raised more than $13 million for the fight against HIV/AIDS, benefiting the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation -- while helping to save thousands of lives in the process. Embedded Press Corps photographer Stephen Busken experienced the ride from the inside. He spent a week on the road with over 3,000 participants, traveling 545 miles from San Francisco to L.A.

"While photographing AIDS/LifeCycle, I was overwhelmed by the sense of community formed among the riders and volunteer roadies who donate their time and talents to make the ride possible," Busken said. "By capturing images of the riders, I got to hear their personal stories of how AIDS has touched their lives."


The following is a small glimpse into a massive ride down California's coast.

June 16 2011 7:00 AM

 Originally designed for the rehabilitation of patients with joint problems, Kangoos are high intensity – low impact running and rebound sport shoes, and they’re becoming an international fitness phenomenon. Green’s classes at the New York Health and Racquet Club are always packed, and for good reason. Though the shoes may look gimmicky, the results are undeniable, and the workouts — dance classes, boot camps, or running outside — are endorphin generators.

March 10 2011 4:00 AM

Saying yes to the truth is not always easy. I was brought up in a world of secrets. We were, on the surface, a perfectly regular family. But, looking back, we had an odd relationship with truth and reality. Unpleasant events were omitted from the record. My grandfather died of cancer, we were told. Not true. My uncle had a different last name than his brothers. Why? He changed it to get jobs that Jews couldn’t get. Not true. The list would go on and on ...

Carrying secrets and lies can be tiring. Mark Twain said, “The great thing about telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said.” Amen.

Traditionally, psychotherapists hold the confidences and secrets of their clients. I have been well trained in this art. Yet as a columnist I am out to reveal my truth. Is this a conflict? Not really: My clients’ business is sacrosanct; my own can be shared. Is a psychotherapist supposed to be a blank slate on which the client projects their view of the world or a full-bodied human being? I am seeking to find a balance here, and I’m still working it out.

Recently I was asked to hold a secret I couldn’t contain. It paralleled a family secret that I have hated carrying for almost 30 years. At this point, revealing it would, I believe, cause more harm than good. However, to be asked to begin to hold such a secret again felt unbearable. I followed the path of truth and was loyal to myself and my nearest and dearest. This was very hard to do. I was being disloyal to my upbringing. I was, however, being true to what I believe is honest.

In this column I am trying to speak my truth. Revealing doubts and/or conflict goes against my training. Always show the best side of yourself, I was taught. However, this often leads to falsity. We all have issues, and most of us have traumas to work out. Our process, our imperfection, is a significant part of our gift to the world. Occasionally we need to stand naked emotionally and allow for the complications and messiness of life.

This is my 11th column in a series of 24. Turning 60 is obviously big for me. I want to reach young men to let them know that getting older is more a plus than a loss. I miss my young skin, but the rest of aging is about things getting better. I have tools. I can choose the challenge of telling the truth as fast as I can — to myself and others. I can be disloyal to my lineage and true to myself.

August 30 2010 4:25 PM

COMMENTARY: I don’t remember much about the day I was diagnosed, but I do remember the first question that came to my mind. Who do I tell? Followed by, When do I tell them? My doctor, after giving me a prescription for Xanax, quickly took my BlackBerry away and said, “Be cautious who you tell and know once you tell someone; you can never take it back.” Now, three years later with a different doctor, an iPhone to replace that BlackBerry, and having told virtually the world my status, I still struggle with the question: When is the right time to tell someone you have HIV?

The first person I told was my best friend, Felipe. Over a glass of wine and sworn to secrecy, he would be one of 12 people, including my family, past boyfriends, and a few friends that would share my secret for nearly 2.5 years. During this time, I had researched at length about when and how to tell people. Medical sources encourage caution and honesty. HR handbooks encouraged privacy. And personal blogs ranged from openness to horror stories. I was finding that society expected full disclosure, would hold you accountable for any risk, but was virtually unprepared for the openness.

Accountability is evident through legislation in some 30 states that require you to tell sexual partners. But is the expectation to tell someone on that first date — or first hookup — realistic? Even if you don’t partake in sexual activity early on, how long is too long before the person across from you should know?

I remember being asked by someone at a bar if I was “clean.” Is that what everyone else thought — you were either "clean" or "dirty." I couldn’t very well say, “I am dirty”. Before HIV, believe it or not, I had never had an STD. I don’t let anyone sleep in my bed without showering and can often be found cleaning my office phone and keyboard simultaneously. We, of course, went our separate ways when I disclosed that I was in fact “dirty.”

Outside of the bedroom, the question is just as difficult. In the workplace, while privacy is encouraged and laws are in place to protect us from discrimination, I was often conflicted: Is it too personal, unprofessional, or an “over-share”? Regardless of where you work, there is an innate fear of being treated differently, being judged or simply feeling exposed, a fear that leads to secrecy.

The first time I had complications that involved a large infection on my face, I told coworkers an elaborate story that involved a spider bite while on vacation. I lied out of fear, to cover my greatest truth, a truth that was manifesting on my face, one I didn’t want to impact the career I was working hard to build. When I eventually disclosed my status, my company became one of my biggest pillars of support. The conversations I have had with some of my coworkers have been among the most compelling and valuable moments.

July 26 2010 4:50 PM

I’m turning 60 and officially single.

In our culture this is considered semitragic. We are so couplecentric and ageist that to not have a partner after 40 is often seen as a kind of failure. I don’t buy it.

Many of my clients struggle with this. Yesterday, a 60-ish client talked about his hesitation at ending a toxic relationship for fear of being alone for the rest of his life. We talked about solitude versus loneliness, and about balancing solitude with relationships, romantic and otherwise. It’s important to be at home in oneself. I always tell my clients that a healthy relationship has “two I’s and a we.” We should all be working on our healthy “I.” To create and nurture a “we” is both challenging and enlivening.

I do want a partner.

In the song “Being Alive,” composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim writes, “Somebody hold me too close / Somebody hurt me too deep / Somebody sit in my chair / Ruin my sleep / And make me alive ... ”

He speaks of not really having a relationship until he was 60. I like hearing that — that there is time for another great love.

My last relationship, with C., was a success. We are both better, stronger, more realized than when we met almost six years ago. We were always honest and respectful and told our truth as fast as we knew it, and we remain “exes with benefits.” However, we let go of plans for a joint future a few months ago. My first long-term lover has been like a brother for over 25 years, and, A., the man who took my virginity in Italy almost 40 years ago, is my friend and current landlord.

Why not?

Forms change. I don’t stop loving.

June 07 2010 5:40 PM

I live with an overeducated bitch.

Sophie is beautiful. She’s an elegant blond with a bit of Grace Kelly hauteur. She has shared my bed for almost five years. She has the equivalent of a Ph.D. She is often photographed and has appeared in an Oprah magazine, on the Web, and in newspaper features. She assists with more than 100 clients a week. She is intelligent. She is good at getting her way. She hates to be left home alone.

By the way, she’s a yellow Labrador.

Sophie was a guide dog for the blind, decommissioned at three years of age for "not wanting to work." She’s just too social to be a seeing-eye dog. When she first came to live with me, I called her "The Stepford Dog" because she was too good to be real. As the years go by, she becomes less perfect and more of an individual, stubborn and wily and therefore even more lovable in my estimation.

Sophie is not my first dog. Knickerbocker was also a yellow Lab, rescued from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter at about two years of age. He was handsome and dignified, joining me as I turned 40. At that point in my life, I had real concerns about his outliving me. My will provided a fund for Knick and stated who was to get him in the event of my death (presumably from AIDS). He died in 2000. I am still here. Of course, Sophie might outlive me, but I now live with the expectation that I will see her age and die, that once again my heart will be broken and once again I will go on.

May 03 2010 1:50 PM

Build up while going down the slopes

November 10 2009 10:00 AM