such a thing
as a force
in our lives,
Watch for Bob Bowers'
appearance on VH1's, Couples Therapy - Season 5 starting this
September! Stay tuned!
Thank you for taking
the time to visit my
However you got
here, I'm thankful
you did. I sincerely
hope that you enjoy
browsing through the
OTP has been
in existence for
fourteen years now.
This site is a
testament to hope, survival
and the power of
compassion in the
AIDS. It also pays
homage to the
over 36 million of
sisters who were
taken from us far
too early in life.
I've lost dozens of
dear friends to the
disease and I do my
very best to honor
their lives and
courage. I miss them
I have survived
living with HIV/AIDS
for three decades
now and have
dedicated my life to
empowering youth and
adults about this
dreadful scourge we
I am honored to wear
multiple hats in the
these many years of
being a long-term
survivor of AIDS, an
AIDS activist, and
through my advocacy
as a youth HIV/AIDS
educator, I have had
the honor to speak to
of students and
adults. As a result,
my life has been
enriched in a deeply
Without a doubt,
our greatest weapons in helping to
stop the spread of
HIV. The goal of my
outreach: to fight
stigma, slow the
spread of HIV and
people about the
33-year toll of AIDS
on our planet, and
most importantly -
change on our planet.
Without a doubt, I
did not get here
alone, and I
sincerely believe it
is my God-given
give back that which
I've been so freely
given! I extend my
heartfelt thanks to
who have blessed my
wondrous journey in
life - past and
involvement in my
life, as well as
your words of love
are forever embedded
in my heart, carried
with me on my
mission, and can be
found on the many
Pirate Production, Inc.
is extremely honored and proud to partner with Skinny Bitch's Cookie
Company in spreading awareness and education of HIV/AIDS. Stay-tuned
for more and how to get your hands on one of these delicious OTP
Just released from UNAIDS, HIV is the leading cause of death and
disease in women of reproductive age!
A song called
I never grew up
I just kinda' got older
And fossilled in my ways
Like some jaded rolled out stoner
Often lost outside the frame-up
Of this battered ill reflection
God.. Give me strength to kill the seed
That chokes this weed of insurrection
I may never fully realize the error of the ways
By which I justified the freedom
That had bound me to this place.. But..
..Ah ah ah..
..Oh oh oh..
..My Day Will Come!
So I take a hit upon the mask
That laughs back at it's measure
At the smell of rot..
This bleeding clot..
And gums.. Sunk like a treasure!
..Still I smile..
..Because I know..
..My Day Will Come!
I may be draggin' one bum leg
Or livin' deep within the shanty
'Mong the Pirates and the Peaches..
N' my friend Freddy in his panties!
But I'll rise to my unmaking
Midst the Quakers and the Nuns
And I will Fight this scourge of AIDS
.. Until the day that I'm forgotten..
..Ah ah ah..
..Oh oh oh..
My Day Will Come!
Yes.. I'll rise to my unmaking
With a swiveling hip replacement
Take a bow, and tear a page
Out of the burning books they're bakin'
Yeah.. I smile..
Because I know..
My Day Will Come!
By: Roberto Angelis
A song called, Bob.
Music and video by
HIV/AIDS educator Bob
presentation with students
at North Bend High School in
SPREADING THE WORD
Preventing HIV is goal of North Bend graduate
After speaking to the students at North
Bend High School Tuesday, Bob Bowers
poses for photographs in the gym.
Bowers, a 1981 graduate from the school,
has been living with HIV for more than
30 years and travels around speaking to
raise awareness of the disease.
you have a friend who is an actual hero? I do!
Meet my friend, Bob! In the 80's, he was livin
life and having fun. One mishap changed his
life! BUT, what he did was AMAZING! After
swallowing his diagnosis, he STOOD UP and pretty
much said, "screw you"! For over 30 yrs he has
tried to educate and break the stigma of
HIV/AIDS. To look at this hunk of a tattooed
man, to see his contagious smile and actually
see inside him, I'm pretty sure his heart is
made of gold! Take a few minutes to read this.
And check out his website. The youth HIV/AIDS
awareness poster's themselves will bring hope to
your heart! I love you, Bob!
HIV/AIDS educator Bob
Bowers' complete YouTube
at North Bend High School in
Heartfelt thanks to
The World Newspaper, KDOCK Radio, and KEZI TV in North Bend, Oregon
for providing amazing coverage of Bob's Ribbon Warrior MC Pacific
Northwest Tour! Knowledge and awareness are priceless! CURE HIV! END
By Lou Sennick, The World Oct. 22, 2013 Bob Bowers
arrives inside the gym at North Bend High School on his motorcycle
that he travels around the country on. Bowers, a 1981 graduate from
the school, travels to raise awareness of living with HIV. He has
been living with it for more than 30 years
happens with so
many kids as you
make it REAL while you speak your truth
and tell your story
with words they
hear. You are truly
an old soul with
much wisdom and
a big heart! Thanks
for doing what you
do and making it
Much love to you from the Teen AIDS Task Force peer educators and coordinator in Northern NY... It's nice to be reminded that there are other "HIV Warriors" out there fighting the fight with us - even if we don't see them...
Today I am thankful for my friend Bob
Bowers. I had been looking at
films for my AIDS class and had come across a
documentary about his life. A week later I was working at AIDS Walk Wisconsin
and looked up to find him at my window. He visited that semester for a screening
of the film and presentation. Living with HIV/AIDS for 30 years, he has been
through so much but has given so much more. He has spent much of his life with
HIV working to educate young people, sometimes at the expense of his own health.
He is affectionately known as One Tough Pirate and is a wonderful advocate. He
also inspires me to keep working to educate about HIV/AIDS no matter how
discouraging it can be.
~ Jennifer Peterson
Assistant Professor at Mount Mary University
"We, at Uddeshya would like to tell
Bob Bowers that we salute real heroes like him! Fighting HIV and surviving
with it for the past 31years - inspiring millions everyday with his approach
towards life that is full of positivity! All our friends back home who have
interacted with you over Facebook have told us that they felt amazing to talk to
you! And like I already told you - you were one of the sources of inspiration
that motivated us all to work! We make sure that we show your
documentary - The Fire Within ~ Siddharth
Youth HIV/AIDS educator Bob
Bowers and Senator Tammy Baldwin
Bowers is a
As someone who
has lived with
AIDS for over
30 years, Bob
is not just
He works passionately
to fight complacency
the lives of
him. His commitment
about the importance
of healthy choices
in their lives,
and his advocacy
of quality health
care for those
AIDS, are just
of his numerous
-- United States Senator
HIV/AIDS educator Bob
Dab The AIDS
Bear with students
at North Bend High School in
Youth HIV/AIDS educator Bob Bowers with Powers, Oregon
and school teacher, Sam Stevens
An abundance of
gratitude to Powers High School and Powers Elementary
School in Oregon for having us present to the 3rd
graders and high school student body on HIV/AIDS
education and awareness! Dab The AIDS Bear and I look
forward to future visits!
END AIDS! #ENDaids!
The ink on his body was injected with a small needle
that moves up and down at a rate of several hundred
vibrations per minute. It penetrates the skin only by
one millimeter but can leave grown men in tears.
It only takes one look to know Bob has felt some pain in
His tattoos tell a story. Somewhere in the living
mural is a beginning and an end. Bob goes back to the
parlor year after year adding to his body new cryptic
"I shared a needle with my girlfriend one time," Bob
said. In 1983 Bob and his girlfriend wanted to get high
and so they shot up some crystal meth. It changed Bob's
life forever. Two years later he was diagnosed with the
tattoo means one more year of survival. He
celebrated 20 years with a tattoo of a blue bird. AIDS
is trying to kill him but Bob is fighting back. I don't
want sympathy and I don't want people to perceive me as
a victim, he said.
Bob will do anything to survive the disease. He lives
one day, one dose at a time. Drugs have turned his
automatic death sentence into a painful but manageable
disease. He estimates that his prescriptions cost about
$3,000 per month.
"I'm a walking testament to modern medicine," Bob said.
He opened a medicine bottle and poured a heap of pills
into his hand-the "morning dose." He tried to pop the
handful into his mouth all at once but couldn't do it,
there were too many.
He passed around a hypodermic needle for everyone in the
classroom to see. The needle is more than an inch long.
His body stopped producing testosterone a long time ago
so he will inject some of the hormone into his thigh.
"That's a lot of meat to go through!" he jokes.
He has a big smile on his face. To him, this all feels
like a miracle. The drugs keep him alive.
Years ago he was being injected with mice cells just to
experiment for potential treatments. Some of the drugs
he was once prescribed made him so sick he couldn't eat
a house salad without vomiting.
In 1989 he started what was known as "monotherapy," or
AZT. It was the first drug approved for the treatment of
HIV. The drug stops the virus from spreading to new
cells but does nothing for cells already infected. To
Bob the medication is like a Band-Aid over a gaping
wound. "There is a multitude of ways they attack it but
they're just slowing it down," he said.
Bob used monotherapy for seven years until the FDA
approved new drugs called protease inhibitors in 1995.
Bob started taking the combination therapy, also known
as the "cocktail." According to the Center for AIDS
Information and Advocacy, combination therapy "radically
altered the course of HIV disease."
But the cocktail made Bob feel sicker than ever. He
began to wonder what chemotherapy must feel like. "They
wear on your body and your mind. Then try going to work,
shitting yourself, vomiting yourself." The side effects
of the medications got worse. He stood in his shower for
hours vomiting everyday.
"We kept hope for a new drug." One pill made him numb
from his mouth to his belly, like a shot of Novocain
from the dentist's office. One pill put him in a
wheelchair. He didn't care about the side effects; Bob
was surviving to see tomorrow.
He kept score as the "cocktail" had a great impact on
the AIDS community. Deaths attributed to the disease
dropped drastically wherever combination treatment was
available. In 1997, for the first time since 1990, AIDS
dropped from 8th to 14th place as a leading cause for
death in the United States, according to the national
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1999 the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
announced they had finally traced the origin of AIDS to
a group of subspecies of chimpanzees in Africa. Bob had
been living with the disease for 16 years already.
Bob can look back and remember everything that has
happened. He can remember his friends dying. He can
remember all his girlfriends and his 11-year marriage.
While living with AIDS, Bob owned a gym in Los Angeles
and he can remember that, too. He looks back and thinks
about his mother dying of breast cancer when she was 35
"I never thought I would see 35, no way," he said. Bob
is now 43. "It's a miracle." Most of all, his dreams
have kept Bob going. "Every dream I ever had even before
I had AIDS has come true," he said.
Bob was 21 years old he went to the doctor. He
thought he had simply been partying too much. Swollen
glands, fever and fatigue called for a blood test and
the results came soon after.
That was how it all started: the treatments,
medications, blood tests and injections. The insults,
anger and confusion, they all started, too. In 1985, the
only thing spreading faster than AIDS were the
misconceptions about the virus.
HIV and AIDS were called "gay diseases" and people
believed they could be spread from sharing water
fountains or kissing. Bob was afraid to share a soda
with anyone. Some of the doctors refused to enter the
room because they were afraid. Other doctors wore
protective gloves and masks just to talk to Bob.
"People have no clue as to the passion, the anger I have
that today we know exactly how AIDS is spread," he said.
Bob is on an endless pursuit to spread awareness about
He started fighting AIDS in his body. Now he is fighting
it from spreading to other people. He is fighting at
home, at elementary schools, rehab centers, prisons and
even in the nation's capitol. He flew to Washington D.C.
to lobby for cheaper drug prices because people with
AIDS are dying on waiting lists in the United States.
Bob is fighting to live and he is fighting for everyone.
"People really get it when you tell it real," he said.
"I try to put into context what it is like to live with
HIV and AIDS." To Bob, spreading the truth about HIV and
AIDS is as important as finding a cure. "If you think
about the homophobia, the job discrimination, the
ignorance involved. Throw in compassion and everything
changes," he said.
Bob is living proof that the human spirit can survive
against all odds. "I don't have to tell you that we all
have our own shit to deal with, mine just happens to be
AIDS," he said.
People ask Bob how he got here and he tells them it is a
combination of everything. Its more than just the drugs,
they are far from a cure; more than his friends, many of
them have died; more than just his tough childhood, he
is a grown man now. "None of those things slowed me down
and I'm not about to let HIV/AIDS slow me down," he
There are no words to describe the impact that Bob Bowers has had on my students and me. He is a very courageous man with an extremely powerful life or death message. I have invited him to come and talk to our freshman class for the past two years and will continue to have him back in the future. I could easily go on and on about the importance of having a person of his caliber come and talk to your school or group, however I feel hearing it from the students makes it more relevant. After his presentation, the students are asked to write a reflection on what they thought of Bob’s message.
Here is what some of them said:
“Bob was an amazing speaker. He is doing one of the greatest things possible. He is sharing a story to help fight a pandemic. He made me not only realize to be a fighter for my own battles, but to use my own struggles and experiences to help others.”
“His story not only informed me on what the effects of HIV/AIDS can do to a person physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. His speech was enlightening and it showed me the importance of keeping the quality of life as high as possible in addition to informing me about HIV/AIDS and other STIs.”
“I was very inspired by Bob Bowers and what he has gone through. I thought he was a great speaker and really connected on every human level. He was not just giving facts but really how it changes every aspect of your life when you get HIV. “
“He wasn’t just informative, he was real. He was very straightforward with the information and his problem. He didn’t sugarcoat anything. It was refreshing that he didn’t try to hide his emotions in front of the group. This was probably one of the best presentations I have seen.”
As you can tell from the statements above, Bob has left lasting impressions on my students. He has multiplied the value of our unit on HIV/AIDS by sharing his personal experiences in a way that reaches each and EVERY student. As Bob states, he is a man with a gift to share, and it is my hope that all people will continue to allow Bob to share his gift. It is with great respect and honor that I recommend Bob Bowers as one of the top educators for HIV/AIDS.
Mekel Wiederholt Meier
Edgewood High School
hope to what
appears as a
day they met
and the day
doing a LOT
and a friend
your part to
Thanks so much
for doing what
you do. VERY
people feel they
anyone who has
DO know someone
it... they just
don't know that
are so scared
still that it's
openly. It needs
to be talked
about. I have a
been living with
AIDS for over a
anyone who asks,
he doesn't lie
about it, but he
either. Too much
stigma, too much
at risk for him
to lose. Things
Thank you so
much for your
site and for
doing what you
do. It's so
Best wishes to
Some people think that a
hero is someone like a
firefighter, soldier or
a sports star. Someone
who is brave,
honest and invincible.
After listening to you
speak the other day, I
would say the true hero
is you. You are
brave because you can
say what you feel and
express your emotions in
front of 100's of
people. Living with AIDS
for 23 years makes you
invincible and for that,
I give you my utmost
respect and thanks. I
never thought that
someone could change my
outlook of life in just
one hour. Out of all the
lectures and speeches
I've listened to in my
life, yours was by far
the best. You give
people a glimpse into
the real world of a
person living with AIDS
and you definitely got
through to us. You break
the stereotypical image
of a person with AIDS.
You didn't want to tell
us what to do, which
made us instantly like
you. Someone who has the
ability to make a group
of people laugh, cry,
and think, has an
amazing talent. I wish I
knew the words to say
how much I appreciate
you coming to to speak.
I wish you the best of
luck on the rest of your
journey through life. If
I could achieve just a
fraction of what you
have done in my life, I
could die happy. But for
now, we both know who
the hero is.
Love, Bailey S.
LOVE! If you
for a better
view of the
Bay Area! I
spent a good
part of my
on the many
with yet no
and I pray
for a cure
is the 25th
Day and the
32nd year of
CURE HIV &
keep up the great work
wish u the best. you are
a huge force almost
unreal and inspire all
those people that need
help. u need to be
worldwide if possible.
with more people like
you the world would be
I was just on your
website and I must say I
loved it. You are a real
inspiration to people
with or with out
HIV/AIDS. I commend you
for all you do.
Youth HIV/AIDS educator,
Bob Bowers, speaking at
the Orpheum Theatre in
you. You have done an
amazing job of of
turning lemons into
lemonade. U have taken
ur mistakes and
misfortune and accepted
it and used your
experiences to educate
our generation to ensure
that we r not faced with
the same difficulties
that u did. So I just
wanted to say thank you.
U gave an engaging and
lesson that I will never
the 2014 How
Faire in San
I can say is WOW!! You
impressed me. I know the
world needs more
like yourself. There is
a quote from a spiritual
leader Moses Brings
Plenty of the Lakota
Nation. "This world is
filled humans, but there
are only a handful of
human beings." You are
truly a human being.
For screening/educational sales inquiries
or to purchase
the documentary film on long-term AIDS survivor Bob Bowers:
Educational Use - Libraries, schools,
and work places
$200.00 plus shipping and handling
Educational Use - Non Profits
$85.00 plus shipping and handling
a six time AIDS Rider and Crew,
nothing struck this personal
beyond the ride experience…Bob
captured that, shared his pain
and anguish and all I could
do is go in a corner and cry
and reminisce. He brought me
to a place that I didn’t want
to go again, challenged my sense
of worth and made me want to
do this all over again. He made
me reach out to other Brothers
and Sisters, daring them to
ride again...The DVD takes you
through some tense moments but
you have to endure those valley
experiences to appreciate the
mountaintop. While he pumped
his body and pushed his limits,
we were there with him, cheering,
crying and aching along those
routes. A true inspiration…To
Bob—I salute you. Your soon
to be “Black Soul” Brother in
the cause of this mission."
~ Mike McKinney
News Anchor-NBC 15
SLATES EXCLUSIVE NETWORK
PREMIERE OF POWERFUL AND
“THE FIRE WITHIN,” AN
EYE-OPENING LOOK ABOUT
Premiered June 6,
2010 & ran for 2years-
THANKS again to the
Documentary Channel for
airing The Fire Within!
is a powerful, eye-opening look at real people stepping up to the
challenge that life has dealt them. AIDS has not disappeared from society and Bob tells it like it is. Bob is amazing, tough and a
powerhouse. Shawn is an true supporter of this struggle and a strong
companion. Interesting that this is rated unsuitable for children
under 14 because I think you will find that our children are a lot
more experimental than we might believe. Our children, as well as
adults, need to view this. It is a wake up call and a celebration of
a journey. Inspiring and humbling.
husband and I watched 'The Fire Within' last night. It was so
powerful and heartfelt. You are an amazing spirit
Bob. You are a brave 'WARRIOR' and you put up a good
fight against HIV/AIDS. I hope you are doing well today! It's a day at a time. I thank you for the
work you are doing and the hope you instill.
Peace, Good Health and Many, Many Blessings friend, ~ Nancy ~
Really insightful as to what it's like living with HIV. Teaches the
truths about the disease; worth watching and will give you something
to think about. Everyone can learn something from this.
an appropriate title!! It is your passion and drive that keep you
going!!! With all the terrible news happening daily, it is so
uplifting to see a video like this!! And I am still crying!! You are
an inspiration!! You will survive, you are soooo needed!!
due to a
day -- a
Bob Bowers' presentation on HIV/AIDS at
KEZI 9 News
Bob Bowers and friends, carrying
the ACT UP banner and
demonstrating in front of the White House
By Jeromy Dunn
Over the past several years, the word ‘activist’
has been used in a disparaging light. Being labeled
an activist as of late, brings with it some negative
under tones that makes one think that being an activist
is ‘bad thing’.
If it weren’t for activists, women may not have
the right to vote, segregation would still be law
of the land, or the United States could still be
under British rule.
I am an activist. I am proud to call myself an activist.
I am a gay rights activist, cause I believe so strongly
that everyone in the United States has the unalienable
right to be treated equally and with out prejudice
under the law. I am an
activist, because living with this disease carries
with it a stigma that can sometimes be so damaging
that I waited years to be
tested; I was simply too afraid of how people would
have treated me if I tested positive.
Well I did test positive, and thankfully, for the
most part I have been treated well by most people.
This isn’t to say there are
not people out there who think that my having HIV
is my punishment for being gay.
I speak out, simply because there are those who
living with HIV/AIDS who can’t speak out for
themselves. I speak out
because I believe that just because I am living
with this virus doesn’t mean that I can’t make a
difference, it’s because I know I can make a difference.
If I am able to get just one person to see me as
a person first and HIV second, then I have done
Activism comes in all shapes, styles and people.
I am proud to be an activist, and I gladly accept
I want to thank a couple of people, who have inspired
aka One Tough Pirate founder of
for not only fighting this
AIDS but for encouraging me to do my part to
stigma of HIV/AIDS to educate people on the
facts of AIDS, and mostly I am proud to call him
Peter Staley, founder of AIDSmeds.com, for creating
a space that allowed me to fuel my fire to fight AIDS,
who was there at the beginning when I found out
I was positive. He showed me that I have many more
years left to fight on, and make some change in
this world. I am also very proud to call him my
friend with the deepest admiration.
I will gladly stand with you both, arm in arm, and
You are always in my thoughts & prayers. You are a true
inspiration...a beautiful heart of gold...and a soul full of spirit
=] Thank you for being you & for being a friend to so many...Much
love to you...
~ Jen xoxo
educator Bob Bowers after
speaking at Pitchess Detention Center in Los Angeles,
ink is AMAZING! You are truly an inspiration, and I
applaud all your energy and effort you have dedicated to
such a worthy cause!
world needs more people like you Bob. Your
an inspiration to many and that includes me!
you Bob, but I think I am the blessed one to
see such a wonderful person committed like
you are and so positive and loving:) God's
many blessing to you
world needs more people like you Bob. You're
an inspiration to many.
tripped over your website and found it
inspiring and your
tattoos cool as hell. Keep doing what
you're doing man, you're making the world a
tattoos are amazing, and keep up the good work. i know too many
people my age (20's) who are finding out that they have
HIV because they didn't use a condom... Thank you for doing what
are an inspiration to so
many... Keep on keeping
NEVER EVER SURRENDER!
Dab the AIDS
I told Mrs.
Puls to have
our time got
back to our
Da Pirate, my friend,,
Camp Heartlandnd, the ACT Rides, a rally in Texas, or an informational session in Los Angeles, you are amazing. More than that, you are a beacon of hope that 20+ years is possible. Keep up the good work.
Yours in fight,, ~
Couldn't be a happier grand-PIRATE alive! Welcome to the mighty voyage, Kelson!
long-term survivor Bob
Bowers, One Tough
Pirate, also known
simply as " Da
years. Bob started
HIV positive speaker
with peer education
programs in Los
after his diagnosis.
To broaden his
personal message of
of the disease, Bob
organization, HIVictorious, Inc.
One Tough Pirate
advocacy in the San
Francisco Bay Area
and throughout the
through Bob's public
speaking and its
if it Were You?"
is a leading and
well respected AIDS
advocate and leader
the fight against
As a long-term
someone who has lost
dozen of friends to
AIDS, Bob is
youth and young
adults about the
HIV/AIDS, as well as
living with AIDS
is a champion for
hope and survival
despite some of the
ALL face in