Notes & Blessings

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Bob Bowers is a passionate activist and educator. As someone who has lived with AIDS for over 30 years, Bob is not just a survivor. He works passionately to fight complacency and improve the lives of those around him. His commitment to teaching young people about the importance of healthy choices in their lives, and his advocacy of quality health care for those living with AIDS, are just two examples of his numerous good works."
--- United States Senator Tammy Baldwin-Washington D.C.

Notes to Bob Bowers:


I was one of the 300 kids sitting at the Hyatt in Irvine last Sunday listening to you.  If you had even half the effect on all the others as you had on me, then your message was very well received.  I just want to thank you for giving your life to teach others...and to help us make the decisions that will allow us to be safe, strong, and healthy. You took the negative and turned it to be a complete positive.  That takes strength and courage Both of which I don't think I'd ever have.
Well, I'm sure you get a lot of these I guess I'll stop now. 

Thank you for sharing you life with me.

Michele M.


Hi Bob!
This is Tracy Hegg from the Milwaukee Academy.  I just wanted to thank you for speaking to our girls! They talked a lot about you when you left...maybe your ears were ringing.  I explained to them the hopes that you have of helping to "save" all of them, not just one of them.  They all loved you and made a commitment to honor your requests.  I can only
pray that this is truth.  I hope that life will be kind enough to bring you back to our part of the world again.

Thank you.
Tracy and the girls


You have to be one of the most amazing men. This just shows people that you can't tell from the outside someone is living with AIDS. Protect your self and others.. I love how open and honest you are about your life. And how AIDS hasn't made you lay down and die.. 


I was up late last nite and I watched your special (The Fire Within) with you and your wife, she was doing the road bike through California. I think you two are amazing people, I wanted to thank you for helping me. To look at my life completely differently. then the poor me I got sick. I don't have HIV but I have enough other shit I just cried watching you throw up and throw up from medicine and your attitude amazed me. I take more pills then any normal person could stand. and I decided to live more like you I can win this fight for life. Bob you should do more specials and if there are more out there please direct them to me. write a book too, you might already have one I think you impact people more then you realize. thank you, God be with you. you are in my prays forever.


I just wanted to tell you that your site brought both tears to my eyes, chills to my skin, and peace to my heart. I have not been directly affected by AIDS on a personal level, however, being a nurse my final goal is to be involved in the fight for research and a cure. I never look at peoples website, but something told me to check yours out. I have been directly affected by cancer several times which is another type of research I'd like to do, but I feel like the Lord is pushing me to work with HIV/AIDS patients and I'm not really sure why. And I love your saying Compassion is our cure.... b/c it is the truth in this world through and through. I just really wanted to say I think it's awesome what you are doing, and I wish more people would be on the proactive side of this fight. 


Good Afternoon Bob,

  I just spoke with Jake Glaser and he told me that you wanted me to email you. I only have a few minutes right now, but I will definitely email you again. I have checked out your website.  IT is awesome!!!!  I hope to create a website one of these days. Thank You for those kind words you said about me the other night to the reporter from The Capital Times. I am just started to do more and more. If I can help you out with anything, please let me know and I will do everything I can do to help you. I will let you know of things that come my way. I hope this finds you in good health.  Take Care of yourself!! Continue to do that great work you do!

Best Wishes,
Ben Banks

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Dear Bob,

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.


Bailey S.

When we were told Bob was coming to speak to us I was expecting the usual talk, dry, boring and with scary pictures, yippee. To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong. Bob was nothing even close to boring; he was one of the best speakers I have ever heard in my entire life. He was such and inspirational person to both my classmates and me. It was truly amazing to hear his story and listen to him talk about his life. Bob wasn't sad or depressed, or at least he didn't show it., he believed that he almost got HIV for a purpose to spread the news to young people like me and help stop HIV/AIDS. For 22 years, Bob has been living with HIV, and if he can do that, I think his message will enable people to make smarter decisions.

Cali S.


The Sycamores Community School students and staff would like to extend our warmest thanks to you for coming and sharing your story with us. As a staff here for the past five years I have seen only a small handful of speakers who the students have listened to so intently (i could count them on one hand). And all of us staff who were present were so very moved as well. I even had the teacher from our youngest classroom give me a hard time for not including his students. He heard such great things about you that he was sorry his students didn't have the opportunity to sit in as well. Thanks sooooooooooooooo much for sharing of yourself-your time, your experiences, your life, your lessons learned, so that we may have a chance of making a better or more informed choice. I truly believe what you are doing is having an impact. I know because I saw it happen here. Our thoughts and well wishes are with you and your foundation's mission.

Carlyn Lambert-Oropez

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Bob Bowers of Madison, Wisconsin, weeps as names of AIDS victims are read aloud at the AIDS Memorial Quilt on the National Mall in Washington July 24, 2012. Bowers, who has been HIV positive for 30 years, has lost dozens of friends to AIDS. The international AIDS 2012 conference is currently being held in Washington.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque


Mr Bowers. I have recently viewed your documentary film, "The Fire Within". I was moved beyond words. I met you about 5 years ago at San Diego State University and was challenged and humbled by your life. I live my life in the moment and often your powerful existence reminds me not to sweat the small stuff. Thank you for all of your work and guidance. You are truly my inspiration.

Keep up the positive spirit, Bob!

Kindness, compassion and love for each other is the greatest gift we can give each other. A great teacher, and friend has taught me that...! 


You are a very great speaker. Mr. Bowers, you are a very wonderful, helpful and educated person and you made it even better because you know exactly what you were talking about because you have experienced it. You have made an impact on so many people's lives and on mine too. You are a hero to many people and you are a hero to me. I hope you keep speaking around the world and helping people with HIV/AIDS because they need you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to our class.


Good luck!
Sincerely, Mckenzie S.
7th Grade-Marshall Middle School

Hey Bob,

First off, I wanted to thank you for coming into our class on Tuesday. you did a damn fine job. through watching The Fire Within and talking to you, I want you to know that your efforts are certainly not in vain. I embraced much knowledge from your video and appearance. and when speaking to my classmates, I know they did as well. I now have a far more stable foundation on the topic of AIDS/HIV. it is very brave of you to be as active and outgoing about a such a social taboo, but thankfully you are doing a fantastic job of breaking barriers and clearing the fog about AIDS. I credit you for your sincere compassion for those you meet, and I wish you the same in return.

See you around,

~ Kyle


Mr. Bowers,

I went to your website and I was very moved at your speaking of HIV and AIDS awareness, I commend you for your strength and courage and speaking out. Although I have never personally known anyone that has HIV or AIDS i have compassion for you and the millions that have this disease. I am a nursing assistant for a home health care facility where I live and have cared for HIV AIDS patients in hospice and home care. You have my support and compassion and I wish you well in your endeavors.




I think the message that Bob Bowers is working to spread needs to be heard by more people. He is a great example of someone who has maintained a very high level of fitness has a devoted wife and a normal sex life, and most importantly enjoys a high quality of life. It is really encouraging to see someone not only survive but prosper in society for over two decades after being infected with HIV. Further, it was great that he was willing to talk about his experiences, and was completely open and responsive to questions from the audience.



Your websites were very inspirational, you truly have a gift not only in your compassion but also in your insight into the disease that you and so many others in this world live with every day. You are blessed to have such good  friends by your side. So many people don't understand that AIDS is not something you can catch by hugging a friend that has it. Many times people will shun the person and think that if they remain friends they may get it.  They don't realize or care that this just is not true. Keep up the good work!



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 Hi, my name is Marta,

I was in the class you spoke to at Concordia University last week.  I was amazed at how ignorant I was.  I ought to have known better.  For the past few years, I have been part of an STD prevention
organization and have done many abstinence presentations in high schools.
What I've seen has been amazing and heartbreaking, but I never knew anything
about AIDS. Thank you so much for being able to talk to us.  I hope you realize how many lives you have saved.  Your bravery and compassion are truly inspiring.  You are a wonderful person, and not a victim.

Thank you again.
Marta H


To know a real-live hero is an awesome responsibility...a bit like knowing an angel. This is what you are for so many people...the lives you touch are forever changed. You plant the most important seed in the minds of young and and old...this too can happen to you! We love you and cherish you. Not one 
moment of our friendship will be wasted! Take care and you will always be 
'Our Pirate"



Dearest Bob,

I just reviewed your wonderful website.  It has been a while since I have looked at it.  Once again (just like in the beginning) - I got the chills, a feeling of serenity and an overwhelming gratitude of love and
friendship. You are one of most wonderful human beings I have ever met
and I thank God each day for our relationship.


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Thanks so much for doing what you do. VERY important. I think many people feel they don't know anyone who has HIV/AIDS. I'm guessing many people actually DO know someone affected by it... they just don't know that they know someone. People are so scared still that it's not typically talked about openly. It needs to be talked about. I have a friend who's been living with AIDS for over a decade now. He'll tell anyone who asks, he doesn't lie about it, but he doesn't necessarily advertise it either. Too much stigma, too much at risk for him to lose. Things must change. Thank you so much for your site and for doing what you do. It's so important to educate the public.

Best wishes to you,

My 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,



I can think of few who should be honored in such a way. You inspire SO many. Whether it's Camp Heartland, the ACT Rides, a rally in Texas, or an informational session in LA, 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,
David H


His remarkable demeanor immediately captivates the students; then there is his passion and openness in telling his story; finally, he is brilliant and engaging in his ability to express himself. If there were such a thing as a force of destiny in our lives, I would say that Bob was born for this role; no one has carried this difficult mantle with more dignity, conviction, purpose, and compassion. 

--- Madeleine Schwab, 11th Grade Crossroads High School Teacher-Santa Monica, California

Mr. Bob Bowers is an excellent speaker on HIV/AIDS prevention to both teenagers and adults. Bob shares his personal testimony of living with HIV/AIDS with a genuine concern to help protect youth from the risk-taking behaviors associated with HIV transmission. For more than 3 years, Bob was the most requested speaker for the Peer Education Program of Los Angeles (PEP/LA). PEP/LA is a program of multi-cultural teens that have been trained as peer educators to talk openly, honestly and accurately to diverse populations of youth in probation centers, group homes, drug rehabilitation facilities, high schools, religious organizations and shelters for homeless and runaway teens. Regardless of the socio-economic or cultural background of the targeted youth, Bob appropriately responds to their specific needs and concerns. His altruistic sensitivity to our friends living with HIV/AIDS has clearly elevated the teens’ compassion, respect and hope for people living with HIV/AIDS. Whenever PEP/LA was invited to a youth organization or college, it was always Bob Bowers that they wanted as the “friend with HIV/AIDS”. There is no doubt that he has helped to protect literally thousands of teens from an HIV infection.  In addition to his message about resisting peer pressure to engage in drugs, alcohol and sexual activity, Bob instills high values and morality when he speaks. The youth understand that heightened self-esteem and respect for others are two key components for healthy psychological and emotional welfare. He provides realistic alternatives to risk-taking behaviors as he encourages specific age-appropriate strategies for negotiation and sound decision-making skills. Teens learn about positive sexuality and the advantages of making the right choices to promote individual and interpersonal relationships. PEP/LA has missed Bob Bowers’ contribution to our educational outreach and bi-monthly meetings with peer educators and volunteers. We were so very sorry that he moved from Los Angeles but our loss will be the gain of other organizations promoting the healthy welfare of youth.

--- Wendy Arnold, M.P.H. President Peer Education Program of Los Angeles

I have taught eighth grade for three years and unfortunately, there has been a steady increase of sexual promiscuity and drug experimentation. During this time, I have done research of different licensed programs and most importantly, Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction, to develop a 
program that would best fit the needs of my school, students, and students' families. I had to meet those needs, as well as, find a way to make an impact. By far, the best resource I found was Mr. Bowers. Before Mr. Bowers came to speak, we discussed thoroughly the health education boundaries my school district has, my students' needs and background knowledge and my expectations of him. He met all these criteria and more. Mr. Bowers spoke for an hour and a half about the cause of HIV/AIDS, the consequences of having it, and how he has survived. During that time, 147 eighth graders were attentive and completely entranced. He answered their questions with honesty and respect. Following the program, the students were dismissed, but came back to talk with him after school. The nextday they asked me if he could come back. The impact Mr. Bowers made on my students is incredible. The administrators and teachers who sat in on the program also agree that he gave a thought provoking and memorable presentation. I am planning on having Mr. Bowers come back to my school to continue his legacy of making a difference. It is with great respect and confidence that I recommend Mr. Bob Bowers to educate our future.

--- Jennifer Calvino

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Notes to Bob Bowers:


Your strength and courage is a inspiration to all! I just admire and love you for being so outspoken and involved. God Bless my good friend, God Bless!

Mae and little dan





There is no one I know so brave, courageous, inspiring, loving and giving as you, Bob. Thank you for your words, friendship and website. You mean very much to me.

Thank you,


I just love how you came, and by the looks of it, conquered the school in more ways than one. :-) Your shocking, yet down-to-earth way of presenting really hit home. You have made a lasting impression, and have encouraged several to join you in your fight in HIV awareness and education. Thank you for opening yourself to our students and staff. 

~ Amy


There could be no finer example of a warrior than yourself....your life has such amazing value and I am humbled by your example....the honor is all mine....

Peace love light,

It's a pleasure to meet u. U are a Pirate u treasure life and life is your treasure and you're protecting it.

your new bro

Madison 150 Sesquicentennial Time Capsule

In June of 2006 my friend and Channel 3000 news anchor, Katy Sai, asked if I would do an interview for the 25th Anniversary of AIDS. I gathered up a couple of my friends to be interviewed as well, and the news footage was shot. Included in the news coverage was discussion around my hopes for HIV medications in the future, if in fact there were still a need. I gave Katy Sai an old bottle of Kaletra capsules which had been discontinued. Madison Nurse Joe Barus had suggested that we place the medications into the Time Capsule. The rest is forever history. Since then, Channel 3000 had been gathering submissions for the Madison 150 Time Capsule to be opened in 2056. Then during the month of October Channel 3000 held online voting on the hundreds of items that were submitted over these last few months. The selection process involved not only Madison community members, but also a jury selected by the office of the mayor. Included in the final 109 items that were chosen to make history, were my HIV medications, as well as the very news footage that we recorded in June. On November 15th, I was quite humbled to be the first to place an item into the actual capsule. On November 16th I went back to watch the official ceremony for the sealing of the time capsule. The Time Capsule rests inside a limestone bench at the Overture Center in downtown Madison where the ceremonies were held. Carved onto the top of the lid are words to intrigue future generations: "Madison Sesquicentennial Time Capsule, Our Stories, Our Memories, Our Legacy." And carved into the side are the instructions: "Open in 2056." I also had the opportunity to enjoy drumming with others as the lid was being put into place and sealed. Both of the Time Capsule ceremonies were quite surreal. Technically speaking I was not even supposed to be alive today. So, the thought of my being 93 years old in 2056 was/is beyond all comprehension. However, I have witnessed bigger miracles in my life and I look forward to hobbling into the Overture Center in 2056 for the opening! I was also honored to have placed my dear friend Shelly Whittet's UW-Madison graduation cap/mortar board next to my HIV medicines. She is in Louisiana and was unable to do it herself. We made a pact that we'd have a few beers and celebrate together! That would be the ultimate in miracles and definitely worthy of a few cold ones! Regardless of my being there, I genuinely hope that Madison remembers that its citizens went to great lengths to care for those living with HIV/AIDS. The outpouring of support and compassion from the AIDS Network, the media, our lawmakers and members of our community is truly worthy of history! One can only hope that HIV/AIDS will truly be 'history' in 2056. My heartfelt and most sincere gratitude goes out to you all!

Madison WI 150 Time Capsule Bob Bowers HIV AIDS medications Wisconsin
HIV/AIDS long-term survivor, activist, educator, and advocate Bob Bowers
placing his HIV/AIDS medications into Madison's 150 Time Capsule

Nurse Joe Barus wrote:

“I think you should include a bottle of antiviral meds used to treat HIV. Hopefully by the time the capsule is opened, HIV/AIDS will have a cure and the meds will truly be history.” Long Term Survivor/AIDS Activist Bob Bowers, who donated his medicine states, “Science has gone from AZT, dozens of pills, to one-a-day treatment. I would like people in 2056 to know how compassionate the community of Madison has been towards those of us infected. AIDS is a disease of humanity. Until there is a scientific cure, compassion continues to be our cure.”

“The older adult living with HIV has demonstrated a resiliency that has allowed them to look beyond the uncertainty that an HIV/AIDS diagnosis imparts. They will need that resiliency even more. And maybe they can share with all of us how we too can overcome the uncertainty of tomorrow.”

— Stephen Karpiak Ph.D., Senior Director for Research at the ACRIA Center on HIV & Aging at GMHC.

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Gritty, raw and very real, The Fire Within is a compelling feature-length documentary chronicling a year in the life of long-term AIDS survivor Bob Bowers.