James PowellChuck Panozzo has a special message to share on this, his 68th birthday. The founding Styx bassist has issued a statement in which he talks about being both gay, and an HIV survivor.

Panozzo, who revealed his diagnosis back in 2001, says, “It’s difficult enough to be different and even more challenging to live with big secrets. I have finally learned to enjoy my differences. Through the years, I struggled with my feelings about my diagnosis and found that the stigma of being HIV positive was actually worse than having the disease itself.”

He also talks about a recent visit to the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center in Wilton Manors, Florida, which he says was a life-changing experience.

Panozzo says, “I confronted my fear and found a tremendous freedom in doing so. Along with this came a learning experience and I became more aware of who I am and what I can do to change my feelings. I was so moved by the Museum’s mission that I have been able to experience a much greater personal power.”

Panozzo has posted a video about his visit to the Museum and is asking friends and fans to “like” WAM’s Facebook page, visit their website and make a donation.

He concludes, “Thank you for allowing me to share my personal story and taking the time to learn about the importance of The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center. I promise that your donation will make a difference in many lives.”

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