Can HIV Be Funny?

"Those conversations can include humor, jabs and smiles," says out comic Michael Henry about discussing HIV.

Michael Henry is known for his comedy videos, so when he decided to make a discussion of HIV the focus of his newest clip, he was nervous. The comedian said he was met with stares of discomfort and confusion when he first told friends about the idea, but that only convinced him that he had to move forward.

It also gave him the the concept for the video itself: How discomforted people are talking about the virus—even queer people.

YouTube/ Michael Henry
That doesn’t mean the video is somber—it’s very much in line with Henry’s brand of acerbic, self-deprecating comedy.

“Are you going to be the idiot in the video who doesn’t know anything about HIV even though you’re in your late 30s?” asks drag queen Roz Drezfolez.

YouTube/Michael Henry

But there is real talk, too.

Asked what the stupidest thing anyone’s said to him about his being HIV-positive, Finding Prince Charming’s Eric Leonardos replies, “You look good. You look healthy. You’re gonna live a long time.”

“My intention with this video was to show people you can have a conversation with your friends about HIV, even if you don’t know all the facts. And those conversations can also include some humor, jabs and smiles,” Henry wrote on Mic. “I think this lack of dialogue with our peers makes us not quite as informed on the facts of HIV and AIDS as we should be.”


Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.