... for the next ten years, Shawn kept his HIV status to himself, barely talking to his parents or doctors and never mentioning his pet virus by name, though he did jump at the chance to meet his favorite band, Depeche Mode, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation in high school. In 1996, at age 20, a change of heart led to the creation of “My Pet Virus”, a web site devoted to Shawn's favorite pastimes as well as a sounding board for his feeling about living with HIV. He invented a word, "positoid", to properly represent people living with the virus, and his humorous and informative take on life with HIV caught the eye of Poz Magazine, who invited the blogger to be a regular columnist for the magazine. The next year, he was invited to the White House on World AIDS Day.
At age 23, he met a fellow HIV educator, Gwenn Barringer- who is HIV negative. After they fell in love, friends encouraged them to speak together as a couple. Since 2000, Shawn and Gwenn have spoken to over 75,000 students on colleges campuses, traveling nationally to share how they keep Gwenn HIV negative in their program, “A Boy, A Girl, A Virus & The Relationship That Happened Anyway.” In 2004, Shawn and Gwenn were married.
Shawn Decker's story has been heard and read by millions of people. He has been featured on MTV, the BBC, CNN.com and has appeared in an HBO documentary as well as in Cosmopolitan Magazine. Shawn's memoir, MY PET VIRUS: The True Story of a Rebel Without A Cure, is published by Tarcher/Penguin. A screenplay for the book is currently being written.
Shawn is completing his second book, a work of fiction. Yes, blood is involved.
He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.